Tag Archives: Barack Obama

Dear Mr. President: Leave Me the Hell Alone

10 Feb

It’s amazing to think that not but two-hundred years ago, many Americans didn’t know what their president looked like. Most likely they never got to hear him speak, would never see him in action campaigning for their votes or delivering addresses. Those living in or near the largest urban centers might have had access to a tabloid newspaper, wherein they could see a line drawing of the president. A few thousand lucky people nationwide might see the presidential hopeful’s East Coast campaign speeches and ceremonies. The vast majority of American citizens would never see the man’s actual face, never witness his mannerisms or gauge his idiosyncrasies. It seems strange to us, in this day and age, when a person is elected to office based mainly around how he presents himself, and not his ideas, to the public. It’s especially strange in 2012, when I, personally, receive upwards of five fucking e-mails a day from President Barack Obama and members of his family or the people he works with.

I’ve heard of needy, but this is ridiculous. President Obama is worse than some jilted girlfriends I’ve known. And it’s not just structured e-mails outlining his strategies and plans, but quick messages just to let me know that he’s thinking of me. “I’m about to stand before Congress and act like they’re not a bunch of fuckwits while asking them to pass some legislation without tacking a bunch of anti-abortion bullshit to it, and I’d like to thank you for your continuing support.” I know you’ve probably got some pre-podium jitters, Obama, but give me a break. There’s nothing more pathetic than someone constantly seeking your approval and praise. How about this, Barack: go get ’em, champ! I believe in you. It gets increasingly difficult to believe in you when you’re constantly looking for me to pat you on the back every time you sign your name. How would you like it if I messaged the Oval Office every time I turned down a slice of cake or some fattening food? Which never actually happens, but hypothetically. Just sayin’.

And it’s not just the president, but his wife Michelle, his vice president Joe Biden, and the fucking Vice President’s wife Jill. Who’s next, the Obama family dog? Plus there are the endless e-mails from Obama’s campaign staff and cabinet that reiterate the same shit Obama writes about in the first place. That’s how you know they’re sending these behind his back, probably because they don’t want Barack to think that their faith in him is assailable. “Hey, this is Jim Messina, one of Obama’s political staffers. I’d just like to say that I think you’re great for supporting the old bean. Don’t tell him I wrote you, okay? He’d be so pissed off if he knew.” Meanwhile I’ve got half a dozen e-mails from Obama in my e-mail in-box that are the conversational equivalent of “whatcha thinkin’?” I’ll tell you what, if you want to know if I like Obama or “like” like Obama, then why don’t you pass me a note in study hall and see if I’ll go to the homecoming dance with him? Because if you keep sending me more e-mails than amazon.com, I’m definitely not going to like Obama “in that way.”

I think the final straw came a few months ago when there was some kind of contest where the prize was dinner with the president and his wife. It all started innocuously as a couple of e-mails detailing the requisites for this contest, but then the missives became more and more desperate. E-mails from Michelle Obama asking me what I planned on wearing to the dinner and what kinds of questions I had to ask her husband. E-mails from Barack thanking me for my interest and telling me how much he looked forward to dinner with me and a guest of my choosing. Buddy, I didn’t even respond to your fucking invite in the first place. Take a hint for crying out loud. Harassing me about what I’m going to wear and whether I’m allergic to shellfish isn’t going to make me want to come to dinner. I’ll tell you what, Mr. President: let’s limit the e-mails to twice a year, once on Christmas and once on my birthday. We can catch up, trade stories, shoot the shit, and part as friends. Because at the rate you’re going now, I think I might have to get a restraining order against you and your White House staff.

I’d Just Like to Buy a Bottle of Asprin Without the Child Safety Cap

10 Oct

I don’t normally use this blog as a place to discuss politics, for two reasons: one, politics are boring. I mean, have you ever watched C-Span? It’s worse than waiting on line at the Department of Motor Vehicles. If I wanted to watch long-winded, poorly-attended lectures, I’d enroll in Virginia Tech. The other reason I don’t normally discuss politics is that I haven’t read a newspaper or watched the news since 1986, when the space shuttle Challenger exploded. If you’re going to bum me out with depressing stories, journalistic media, then I’m simply not going to lend my support. So there. Maybe you can cheer things up like Awake! and I’ll read your fish wrap again.

But this time, there’s an issue that I think is so important that it needs writing about. It concerns the President of the United States, Barack Obama, whose approval rating has slipped many digits over the last year. I know it may come as a shock to some people, but I can understand why. People are sick of Obama’s agenda, they don’t want to support his kowtowing to special interest groups anymore. And I’m right in line with them, in fact I didn’t support Obama from day one. But it didn’t have to do with his politics, or his rhetoric, or even his public speaking ability. No, I discounted Obama as a reliable, justified person who would serve my interests almost immediately upon seeing him. It wasn’t because of what he said or did, but because of who he is.

Obama is one of them.

One of those people with families.

Now I was raised to live and let live, let bygones be bygones, and always turn the other cheek. I certainly don’t hold it against someone simply because they have a family. Sure, I might not want them to eat at the same restaurant as me, I might not appreciate them moving next door, but it is anyone’s right to have a family, and if you decide to do so then that’s your business. The problem comes when you see someone with a family in a position of power, like Mr. Barack Obama. Then I have to wonder: will he legislate on what he thinks is best for America, or for his family? If it came down to saving the country’s economy or seeing his daughter’s ballet recital, would he choose the former despite the fact that his kid would probably tell him “I hate you and I wish you were dead” if he missed her performance? The issue here is that I don’t know. I’d like to think he’d do the right thing and serve the greater good, but I don’t know. Stronger men than he have caved at the tears of a cute little girl.

I know what you’re saying. “Don’t judge Obama! It’s not his fault that he’s got a family!” That’s baloney. Having a family is a choice, not a genetic predisposition. No one forces you to birth and raise a child, that’s your decision. “But Reggie,” you say, “we’re inclined to propagate our species through reproduction!” Nonsense. How crowded do things have to get before you decide that adding another snot rocket to the mix wouldn’t be a good idea? Or did you think your genes were special and needed to be passed on to future generations? All you’re doing is clogging our future space colonies and Soylent Green farms. Keep it in your pants, ladies and gentlemen. You, too can prevent premature human extinction.

I know Barack Obama isn’t the first person with a family to hold the office of President, but it seems like today every bit of legislation has to take into account American families and ensuring that our children receive no Bad News or have any Bad Experiences. And I, for one, am sick of it. There are eighty-six million unmarried people in America, and I have to assume that the majority of those over the age of twenty do not have children. So where is our fair shake? I’d like to see laws that allow curse words on network television, I’d like to see a tax break given to single people since we don’t give a flying fuck about your stupid child’s education. You know what was the most important piece of education I ever received? Finding a moldy copy of Screw magazine in the gutter when I was ten years old. That smutty rag taught me more about life and the human condition than the years I spent deriding Peace Corps volunteers. So don’t tell me I contribute nothing to society. At the very least, I’ll never spit up on you or disturb your movie-going experiences.

Justice. Is Done.

2 May

I was just about falling asleep Sunday night when my girlfriend, who keeps later hours than I, came into the bedroom to tell me that Osama bin Laden had been killed. “Osama bin Laden has been killed,” she said, “I thought you might want to know.”

“Great,” I replied, and rolled over to go back to sleep.

I feel like a bad American because I don’t grasp the significance of this event. It’s like I’ve been playing some overwrought sandbox video game where I’ve spent so much time doing side missions for non-player characters that I forgot the original plot which brought me to a town of incapable retards in the first place. Sure, I remember Osama bin Laden, I can recall focusing my rage on his smug, bearded face in the days and weeks after 9/11/01. I naturally assumed that the U.S. armed forces would swarm upon bin Laden like futuristic robotic ants at a picnic hologram. And I supported it, for the most part. Despite my sneaking suspicion that the tragic events of 9/11/01 weren’t wholly unjustified, that there was a bigger reason behind the attacks than some crusty supervillain hating “our freedoms,” I wanted revenge. Who the fuck was this guy to mess up the New York skyline and kill those hapless people? Blow his head off.

So George W. Bush sent our troops over to Afghanistan to flush Osama out of his hidey-hole or whatever. I recalled the early 1990s Operation: Desert Storm where the U.S. military fired hair-seeking missiles from the comfort of their La-Z-Boy recliners, killing only the guilty and simultaneously breeding gratefulness among the Kuwaiti people by sending Jolly Rancher cluster bombs into the most populated districts for women and children to enjoy. Plus, every country was on our side, remember that? For a brief time, everyone wanted in on the revenge, so I figured it would be all be over in six months–a year, tops. I felt pretty assured that this asshole would die, and though it wouldn’t erase the events of 9/11/01, at least it would satisfy some of my bloodlust.

But W. Bush didn’t fight the same war as his dad, no, he sent in a lot of ground troops and old-fashioned fighter jets to drop bombs instead of the science-fiction gadgetry I saw just as grunge music started taking off. Then W. Bush wanted to invade Iraq and burnt up all of our worldwide goodwill by brow-beating everyone in the United Nations. Osama bin Laden was on the run, we were told, proven by periodically released grainy video where he’d talk a lot of shit. Meanwhile, we had to get rid of Saddam Hussein for some reason or another. I started to feel like Osama bin Laden was the Joker, a diabolical mastermind would could not be caught so we’re better off not even trying. We can deal with his messes when they crop up, but for now we’ve got to corral the Riddler and Catwoman so let’s concentrate on them. It’s not like I started feeling sympathy for bin Laden, I just kind of pushed him to the periphery of a new cast of villains which included Saddam, Kim Jong-Il, and pretty much anyone and anything French.

It got more complicated from there. It turned out that the Iraqi War was fought for no reason yet we couldn’t leave because we’d unsettled the region politically (duh). The world’s economy went tits up and tens of thousands of mortgaged homes were foreclosed upon. There was also that thing where Israel bombed the Gaza Strip and a bunch of Turks were pissy about it. Or was it Greeks? The story was more complex than an episode of LOST, and in the shuffle I forgot that we were still looking for Osama bin Laden. I knew he was still an enemy, but it looked like we had bigger fish to fry. I mean, if the U.S. military ran into him at the 7-11, there would probably be a showdown. But provided bin Laden stayed wherever he was hiding out, he’d probably die naturally of vitamin D deficiency. Which is, in its way, a kind of justice.

One of the pivotal points of Barack Obama’s campaign platform was that he would remove troops from Iraq and put them back in Afghanistan. Unlike most political promises, Obama made good on that, and rather quickly as I recall. I was glad to see troops withdrawn from Iraq, a conflict that made little sense, and felt kind of lukewarm about them being sent to Afghanistan. I guess it’s to keep pounding the Taliban, I thought, or maybe to ferret out that bin Laden guy. I was so inured to our meddling in that region, I didn’t even bat an eyelid to hear that the U.S. was supporting Libyan rebels. I guess Ghadafi is the new enemy? I thought. That was comforting because I remember when he was an enemy before, way back when I was in grade school.

Last night, at the end of a press conference where Obama announced that Osama bin Laden had been killed in Pakistan, he said, “Justice is done.” I’m wondering: for whom? For the thousands of people who died on U.S. soil during the attacks on 9/11/01? I find it hard to believe that the ethereal spirits of these people have been assuaged by the knowledge that some guy they’d probably never heard of in their lifetimes is going to join them in purgatory or wherever. Even for the families of these victims, it seems like a paltry vengeance. Was it worth hundreds of trillions of dollars, thousands of American lives and ten years doing fuck all but tracking bin Laden down for an unceremonious late night announcement? Does this assure that we will never suffer a terrorist attack again? Or have we put ourselves at an even larger risk by making a martyr of the very mad scientist who concocted 9/11/01 in his nefarious war room nestled deep within Dimension ZX-13? (Where, incidentally, everyone is evil, but Osama bin Laden was still the most evil. That’s how evil he was!)

I know I shouldn’t be glib. I know that killing Osama bin Laden is a big news story. But I wonder: what’s changed, besides more security precautions and the increased allocations to law enforcement that come with them? Has justice been done for cops? Is this justice for George W. Bush, who so desperately wanted to catch that varmint but was distracted by the nagging problem of Iraq’s exploitation at the hands of non-corporate interests? Perhaps this is justice for the U.S. military who haven’t even been tasked with killing bin Laden since 2003. It occurs to me that the only real justice that could happen after the events of 9/11/01 would be if America’s citizenry had returned to the naive, over consumptive state it enjoyed at the expense of the Third World prior to that fateful September day. To that end, we’ve been living in a state of justice for about half a dozen years now. In fact, we’ve barely curbed our wasteful ways. Justice is done.

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