January 12, 2016

Obama's Last State of the Union

Disappointed, not surprised, and here's why.

One sense I never get from Obama is a genuine desire to compromise. It makes his clarion call that we are all in this together ring hollow. He has acted to divide and alienate using identity politics as a touchstone. He decries power and money in politics and society, yet takes full advantage of it when it benefits his desires. It makes the rhetoric Orwellian.

In the speech, he saw fit to lecture. As if many in the audience are ignorant about what is actually important, or care less than he does. It is condescending and arrogant, and not the way to bring people together. Yet he consistently uses mockery and puts his opponents down, not to mention the occasional abuse of power, the "Chicago" way.

Reading comments from the people he alienates is very sad, too. Hate is everywhere these days. It pours out even at the slightest attempt to distinguish. Why bother trying to engage in discussion, only to be impugned. It does not matter if it's an Obama hater or sycophant, the methods are the same. If words or ideas can be misconstrued, they will be misconstrued.

Unlike talking heads or bloggers, Obama's duty as president, is to serve "We the People," as he mentioned. However, too many Americans believe he does not recognize or respect their voices, but only those that agree. And when he allows his prejudice to show it allows his proponents to show theirs. It would be nice if Obama would walk the walk, despite what others may do or say, because of his unique role in representing all Americans. 

His view of the world also seemed skewed. The existential threat he denied is already exposed. ISIS spreads to more states. Europe's culture is increasingly stressed by multicultural relativism. He thinks these will not be of more immediate and dangerous impact than climate change. He seems convinced that all people share values, that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is universal. He is sorely mistaken. His normative projection of what should be conflicts mightily with what is.

Recognizing this reality does not vitiate a desire for harmony. To insinuate it does is a form of demonization that is too often heard. What is worse is that these theories of human nature, of what should be, applied, often fail miserably, while the elite proponents do not feel the effects of what they impose to better the rest of humanity.

Of course, it all seems to be spinning out of control. The ease at making white noise and manipulating through social media and disinformation does not portend improvement until after things get worse. It should not be that way, should it?

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