Oh-oh, say, can you see, by the opinion poll's early light....
By a country mile he is the greatest English-speaking speechifier of the modern age, no-one in recent memory approaches his use of verbal and body language, calm and authoritative, grim, wise, resolute yet comedic, rhetorical, fluent, at times mesmerising, he's even grammatical. Obama makes Tony Blair look like the cheap shit he always was, with his verbless, clunking gibberish, his arch, phoney boyishness and his Godawful fucking sincerity; polished, imaginative, timed to the split second, Obama's speeches are what we must now call the state of the art, populist, yet in a way learned, inspiring, even though you know he's lying his arse off, he can move you to tears and his speech to fifteen thousand sentimental Tusconians - and billions worldwide - as the star of the Arizona Memorial Show would, in another branch of showbusiness, win him an Oscar. He'll settle, of course, for a second term.
It really was dreadful, a variation of the Oh! it's the little people who make it all possible schtick of the drugged-up, egomanaiacal Oscar winner. He listed the foibles and All American qualities of each of the dead and wounded, just as though all of them used to set on the White House stoop with him of an evening, sipping low-calorie whisky and shootin' the breeze, talkin' about the ball game, eating potatochips. And praying together.
Not even the slightest sparrow falls,
but your heavenly president sees and knows it.
The crowd, supposedly in serious mourning, went wild, cheering, stomping, clapping, whistling; ovations came, honestly, about every thirty seconds. Jeez, it was like he really did know all them folks, personal, like.
And, his words cloaked in nobility, self-effacement and tolerance, he kicked the high-protein shit out of Skanky Sarah Palin and her redneck lynchmob. He wouldn't be blaming anyone for inspiring this bloodbath, fuck, no; he only ever used moderate language, believed that Americans could all get along, wasn't any need for bitter disagreement, he was too wise, too paternal, Mosaic, almost, for all that partisan shit. Now that these good folks were all dead it was time for people to moderate their language, try and love each other a bit more'n they do, and get the fuck off his ass, him so sensitive an' all.
He kept his best 'til last. We all had to live up to the American Dream, he sermonised, the one dreamed by nine-year-old Christina Taylor Green, shot dead in the Tuscon Massacree
To the obvious delight of her parents Mr President emoted thus: "If there are rain puddles in heaven, Christina is jumping in them today. And here on Earth, we place our hands over our hearts, and commit ourselves as Americans to forging a country that is forever worthy of her gentle, happy spirit." Even if, he didn't say, every fucking day of the Goddamned week we shoot or bomb or napalm little Pakistani children, little Afghani children, little Iraqi children in fact, any little children, anywhere.
Merkins, if the Westerns are to be believed, used to sing hymns at hangings, their infantile failure to understand solemnity, to value silence and ritual over soundbite and applause, is, therefore, in their own tradition and last night's memorial service gave the rank and the rotten - the great and the good, the dignitaries, as they see themselves - an opportunity to grandstand and allowed the yeomanry to enjoy a good, old-fashioned grief hoedown, even some tongue-tied, bogus Native American shaman was permited to open the show with a preposterous plea to the Creator and a stuttering, feather-waving blessing in the direction of Life's compass points, easy to see, without looking too far, that in the home of the Free, not much is really sacred.
Obama did himself a power of good and, if nothing else, the parents of the poor, shot child were evidently bouyed-up a little from their grief by all the Presidential attention,
a brief hug, even, from the First Lady; they'll always remember it, and no harm in that.
But the standing-room-only show, with its rank nationalism, its hymns and Bible readings and its carpetbagging politicians made clear the disease at the heart of the American experiment. If they are such wonderful, kind hearted, God-fearing folks why does their Godliness stop so abruptly at their own borders and why is it that forty thousand of them a year are shot dead by their fellow patients, I mean patriots, of course I do.
ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellent
.....they create a devastation and call it peace.
UPDATE. WHAT THE 'PAPERS SAY
UPDATE. WHAT THE 'PAPERS SAY
- The Guardian,
- Article history
Barack Obama has just made the finest speech of his presidency. It is not just that, in performing the role of pastor to the victims of the shootings in Arizona, he shed his professorial reserve and became the empathetic head of state that everyone who crammed the National Mall on his inauguration expected him to be. Nor did his speech contain memorable phrases. It was that, after two bruising years in power, Mr Obama has at last found his voice. He did so by rediscovering the themes that made him an outstanding presidential candidate. If he can set a tone not just for Tucson and the aftermath of Saturday's dreadful events, but nationally and for the rest of his presidency, this will be the change we can believe in.