Saturday, September 14, 2013
Post No. 188: Why Everyone Seems to be So Disappointed in Our President
© 2013, the Institute for Applied Common Sense
“It does not matter who my Father was; it matters who I remember he was.”
- Anne Sexton
The above Sexton quote appeared while navigating a Borders Book Store, along with an overwhelming desire to chat about “zeitgeist,” which Wikipedia defines as the “spirit of the age,” or the “spirit of the time.”
Last week was a difficult week for the former United States of America. We were confronted with a daunting, complex issue revolving around how we should respond to Syria’s purported use of chemical weapons. We had difficulty figuring out who are, and to some extent remembering who we were.
To compound the problem, many suggested that the Obama administration appeared confused, and lacked the ability to articulate a coordinated plan or vision, or even some real, concrete, identifiable interests to be served by our potential military foray.
But, in our humble view, as with many things in life, this is bigger than the man who occupies the office of the President. This is more about who we are as a people at this stage in our national evolution, how we view our past, and how we view our future.
It’s about zeitgeist.
What we really fear, truth be told, is that we might not be the nation that we thought we were. Long gone are the days of the concrete and tangible, and John Wayne kicking some real ass. Even a 12 year old knows that Iron Man rules through the magic of Hollywood computer graphics and animation technology.
We realize more and more that many things are not what they seem and that to some extent we have always lived in the land of illusion.
However, with rapidly advancing technological changes, the lens through which we view the world is more fluid and capable of capturing a far bigger picture, totally apart from the real-time information stream. Our open and obvious (yet behind the scenes) transfer of our economic might to a larger communist force, our collective response to 9/11, and The Great Recession have us feeling like we are spinning out of control.
We here at the Institute didn’t want this man to be President. In our view, he was the wrong man for the wrong times. However our position was not based on anything which had to do with the man himself, but rather everything about who we are.
Some months back we generated a post, Why We’re So Anxious in America, Debate the Role of Government, and Ministers Suggest that God’s Pissed. The reality is that this is a culmination of 35+ years of excess and not taking responsibility for our actions, as we outlined in Pigs Get Fat; Hogs Get Slaughtered.
During difficult and uncertain times, people have a tendency to long for an earlier day when things were seemingly clearer and far more simplistic. And along with that comes a tendency to blame someone for our current state of affairs, and who better to blame than the current President.
Most of us can't balance our checkbooks, maintain good relations with our spouse, or manage our children, and yet we're so cock-sure about how to run this nation.
If we are going to solve problems going forward, we need to snap out of this coma, and face some realities, including one that looms large, to wit: the use of old methods to address today’s issues in a constantly changing environment won’t work. (Been There; Done That) We need innovation, forward thinking; not a reversion to the past.
Many are looking for a savior, to provide some illusion of stability. But no one man (or woman) can fill those shoes or adequately address that emotional and spiritual need.
The simplest, most effective way to address insecurities and uncertainties? Create jobs here at home.
So many of us, despite showing up some place every day, aren’t sure whether we have a real job anymore. Totally apart from what jobs can do for one’s sense of security and ability to provide for one’s family, it does wonders for self-esteem, both personally and collectively. Additionally, according to the Physicians' Desk Reference, it is the most effective drug to administer intravenously to combat paranoia.
On one level, we all need to take personal, collective responsibility for how we got here, including electing people who have their personal, selfish interests ahead of our collective interests.
The following appears in the signature of one of our friends of the Institute: "It is neither the strongest, nor the most intelligent, of the species that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change."
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