RED "CHUCKS"--AND OBSERVATIONS & THOUGHTS WHILST GALLIVANTING
By Andy Weddington
Friday, 10 September 2010
"You go through these little phases and fads, and it never turns out the way you think it's going to turn out."
During the past few weeks I journeyed coast to coast and roamed points in between logging hours and hours of air, airport, and road time; to attend family weddings. The hitchings quite different--one in the south was formal with stained glass the other out west was sort-of-formal with grass stains--but beautiful grand times and memorable both.
The sort-of-formal one was light-heartedly different. The ceremony held on a patch of lush turf between driving range and practice putting green on a desert resort casino golf course. Father of the bride, bridegroom, and groomsmen wore Converse Chuck Taylor All Star hi-top red canvas sneakers; spines embroidered with initials and wedding date. A groomsman--brother of the bride--escorted the bride's pooch, affectionately known as Gus (who did not wear red shoes), down the aisle. I didn't ask but don't believe brother's leash duty was a slight or social comment about past girlfriends. Gus was a good boy--neither barking, relieving, nor licking himself during the ceremony. To the bride's relief, the bridegroom and groomsmen followed Gus's lead. Though I offer no report about bridegroom and groomsmen party behavior.
Both receptions were held at clubhouses near golf courses--they had food, drink, music, and celebration in common. At the desert reception--not my wife but another pretty gal not kin, a score and a half my junior, asked to dance. She dates an Air Force parajumper but seemingly has a thing for Marines. Though flattered, wisdom and no alcohol to sedate broken down knees made for "thank you kindly, 'Ms H,' but I defer to my 15-year old nephew"--whose attempt at playing it cool was compromised by eyes agog and drooling. All smiles as he shuffled toward the dance floor clearly said, "Thanks, Uncle." He owes me.
Weddings--they're a lot of fun!
Anyway, between planes, gates, cars, and parties there was plenty of time to see and listen. And time to think.
Rolling I-40 East in Arizona a woman--who's name escapes me--on talk radio opined she'd had a revelation the night before. She had, since before the election, been trying to figure out Mr. Obama. It finally dawned on her. She said, "Mr. Obama is the new boyfriend." Then she made her case as only a snookered woman could.
In so many words she said Mr. Obama's the unknown but outwardly appealing guy you wanted to date but were otherwise committed. Finally the opportunity came along after the five-year relationship with the old boyfriend ended. So this new guy asks you out and you soon realize something's amiss--he's obsessed with your old boyfriend. He can not understand why you dated such a loser for so long. Everything about him was wrong and everything you do is wrong. He does not like it when you wear the earrings the old boyfriend gave you. Even though it works perfectly and you like it, he hates the TV the old boyfriend gave you. The new boyfriend is going to get you a new bigger and better TV. The new boyfriend suggests you, too, are a loser but thinks maybe he can save you. And the obsession with the old boyfriend and criticism of you goes on and on. The only thing he's more obsessed with than your old boyfriend is himself. And finally you decide it's time to dump the new boyfriend and wonder what were you thinking all along. Maybe the old boyfriend was a pretty good guy after all.
A few days later on a different radio station there was a clip of a nutty black preacher addressing his congregation intentionally inserting the words "Klu Klux Klan" into his sermon then quickly correcting--as if it was a misspeak--to "Tea Party." He then chuckled and snickered while justifying his "flub." This bigot--masquerading as a man of the cloth, with every illogical turn of phrase, was doing his best to convince his flock today's Tea Party was the modern Klan. There were a lot of uh-huhs and Amens in the background. Unbelievable. The analysts and some callers--Black and White--were appalled. Me too.
It takes neither a scholar nor historian to figure out that gent's agenda. Though I've not attended any Tea Party gatherings, I've seen plenty of coverage on TV, the Internet, and assorted print media. Admittedly, many attending these peaceful rallies are White. But there are also plenty of Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and any other ethnicity you can think of from America's melting pot. You can bet your last damn dollar had the media seen the first white hood, burning cross, noose, or anything hinting of racism the images would have been exploited for all to see. Those moments have not happened and they are not going to.
A few months back a politician et. al. walking with Speaker Pelosi through a crowd of Tea Partiers claimed he'd been spit on and slurred with the "N" word. A scene captured by multiple video/audio sources; there was no proof. It was a lie; a damn lie.
The Tea Party is not about race. The Tea Party is not about religion. Only the baiters, whose livelihoods depend upon stoking racial tension, think that way. What the Tea Party is about is returning America to her founding principles and values. Simple as that.
There was no shortage of discussion on talk radio about the mosque project in New York City. The banter strayed to the question about Mr. Obama's religion. Why is it one in four Americans believe him a Muslim? Folks pointed out by heritage--sired by a Muslim--he, by default according to Islam, is Muslim. To denounce his birth faith is supposedly a high crime; if not the highest. There was mention of Mr. Obama's remark during the campaign of visiting all 57 states (that would be the 57 states of the Islamic conference). A Freudian slip? Then there was Mr. Obama's remark during a TV interview that Senator John McCain--his Republican opponent--did not make an issue of his "Muslim faith." Another Freudian slip? The interviewer, NBC's Brian Williams, had to correct him. And it was Mr. Obama, who for some strange reason during the interview and without query, brought up his birth certificate. But he didn't offer to make it public.
Add Mr. Obama's excessive outreach to Islam, bowing while traveling abroad, directing NASA's Chief to reach out to the Muslim world, and support for a mosque project at Ground Zero is it any wonder good ol' red-blooded Americans are scratching their heads--despite his claim of being Christian. As another astute radio program host remarked, "He made the claim, show us some proof he's Christian."
Yet another talk radio host offered the absurb idea of a mosque at or near Ground Zero is not nearly as disturbing and upsetting as the fact nine years later there's still a seven story hole at the site of attack. Why? Politics and nauseating bureaucracy. It's a national embarrassment that projects weakness. It sure is. An eight acre memorial is under construction with ribbon-cutting set for 11 September 2011. But ten years later? We've built, razed, and rebuilt shopping malls in that span of time.
Then there was the topic of Mr. Obama's "Summer of Recovery"--a failure whether measured in inches, yards, miles or centimeters, meters, kilometers. That his policies are wrong-headed and will not get America's economy rolling forward apparent. His remarks in Cleveland on Wednesday afternoon were tiresome; nothing new. He's still obsessed with the old boyfriend (Mr. Bush). And he said, "...our economy is growing and our financial markets stable...". What? Obviously, he and his creative economists and advisors forgot to ask the average citizen for their point of view. Watch your money as the worst is not yet passed. Mr. Obama's proposal, among others, for still more tens of billions of dollars "stimulus" to create jobs rebuilding roadways, railways, and runways is not an enduring solution--that should be business as usual. An environment encouraging small businesses to start and grow is how capitalism--our economic philosophy--works. Ever hear of a guy named Bill Gates? He started a company by the name of Microsoft. In a garage. During a recession. So who knows better? Who would you bet your money on--entrepreneurs and capitalists like Mr. Gates or Mr. Obama and his court jesters?
I did not see one billboard touting Mr. Obama--not one. I saw only two Obama bumper stickers. A faded and torn one on a clunker parked in a lot at a dive off I-40 I'd not normally patronize but for the urgent need to 'shed a tear.' The other on a pricey car in a driveway in a modest Santa Fe, New Mexico, neighborhood. Maybe altitude sickness explains that one.
On the other hand, I noticed a surprising number of cars and trucks with sign bumper stickers and decals had been scraped. Of the Obama flavor? Quite possibly. Remember, the president's approval rating, once in the 80's, is approaching 40%. The honeymoon's over. America--she's a fickle gal who hates losers. Oh, there were plenty of bumper stickers bashing the president.
I overheard more than a handful of conversations concerning our country's mess and conclusion Mr. Obama was a big mistake. The Tea Party movement was on the lips of many. The consensus--they're serious folk who feel betrayed by those elected to "represent" them.
With the Tea Party engaging, those "representatives" are panicking--babbling nonsense while trying to distance themselves from the toxic Mr. Obama and Speaker Pelosi. It's hilarious. Politicians--all of them a shameless lot never to be accused of being altruistic--will do and say anything to save themselves. But talk hasn't worked to date and it's not going to work over the next 52 days or so. "It's Too Late", as Carole King sang in her hit tune...
It used to be so easy living here with you / You were light and breezy / And I knew just what to do / Now you look so unhappy / And I feel like a fool / And it's too late baby, now it's too late / Though we really did try to make it / Something inside has died / and I can't hide it / And I just can't fake it
There'll be good times again for me and you / But we just can't stay together / Don't you feel it too / Still I'm glad for what we had / And how I once loved you / But it's too late baby, now it's too late / Though we really did try to make it / Something inside has died and I can't hide / And I just can't fake it
If there are more fitting lyrics to describe the present Democratic Party dynamics they do not come to mind.
So who are these Tea Party folks?
Some are the silent majority who've always gone quietly about their business trying to make better lives for themselves and their children while trusting government to do what is right and not intrude in their lives. Now that government is proving to be incompetent and aggressively intruding and disrupting the pursuit of their American dream they are engaging--big time. Stand by.
Some, irrespective of political party, are unwaveringly loyal to traditional American principles and values. It's not any more complicated for them.
And then there is the ever-growing cohort--those who once supported Mr. Obama--White, Black, Hispanic, Asian, et. al.--who have finally, through voluntary, self-performed, non-invasive techniques, realized a radical colonoptiaudioctomy. In layman's speak, that's a dissection of the colon from the optic and auditory nerves, and brain stem. Now able to see, listen, and think they've come to realize Mr. Obama is not godly after all. Better late than never. Yep, these are the folks scraping bumper stickers and decals.
So why are we going through these chaotic times and, anyway, how did Mr. Obama ever come to be? Like the woman on talk radio noted earlier I, too, had a revelation--along a desolate stretch of I-40 West in, of all places, Arizona. How appropriate.
Mr. Obama, like Pet Rocks in the 70s, Star Wars in the 80s, and Tickle Me Elmo in the 90s, is the big fad of the first decade of the 21st century.
Fads are fueled by emotion--frenzy and insanity--not rational thought. And once the wave of frenzy begins it just happens. Fads are illogical. They're viral, contagious, and spread at an exponential rate. There's no stopping them. If only thought preceded "purchase" there'd be no frenzy--no fad. If only.
Emotion. Frenzy. Insanity. What else could possibly explain people standing in line, sometimes fighting, to buy a Pet Rock, a Darth Vader mask or plastic light saber, a furry cuddly giggly red muppet, and Barack Obama?
The difference between the fads? Pet Rocks, like Star Wars and Tickle Me Elmo, did no harm and generated gazillions of dollars. They were the epitome of creativity, opportunity, and good old-fashioned capitalism. They were uniquely and genuinely American. Fact of the matter is Pet Rocks--and Star Wars and Tickle Me Elmo--made people wealthy. And other people happy.
As for Mr. Obama--he's the antithesis for a successful (profitable) fad. In fact, our recovery from his lack of creativity, opportunity squandered, and ignorance of capitalism resulting in extensive harm and trillions of dollars of debt will take a long, long time. Fact of the matter is he's making people, and in turn our country, poor. And unhappy.
Mr. Obama--our new boyfriend who's obsessed with our old boyfriend. Mr. Obama--who thinks we're all losers and it's his devine calling to save us from ourselves (when what we need is to be saved from government). Mr. Obama--who spends too much time on TV. Mr. Obama--a self-absorbed guy with a gift for delivering scripted gab. Mr. Obama--intent on driving an extraordinary country into the realm of mediocrity. Mr. Obama--a fizzling fad. In short and pardon my irresistible urge to rhyme a groaner: Mr. Obama--a sad mad rad lad bad fad. I know, bad. Sorry.
But what does it say that even the presidency of our country is not immune to fad? What else is there to say but "Only in America!"
So, may America's next fad be something that makes us all smile and happy and puts money in people's pockets--a fad as ridiculously simple, silly, and harmless as a Pet Rock. Who knows, maybe there will be a run on Converse "Chucks"--of the red hi-top canvas style. Maybe I'll help the economy and buy a pair. Maybe a pair for my wife. Maybe you, too, should buy a pair. Maybe you should suggest your friends buy a pair.
Maybe this Commentary will make the rounds, reach the right folks, and red canvas hi-top Converse "Chucks"--the shoe of choice for a wedding party--will be designated the official footwear, a symbol, of the Tea Party. Why not? The color works. Embroider the spines: 06NOV12. What could possibly be more American to unite a steam-rolling movement that's seeing red and voting with it's feet?! Makes damn good sense to me. Lace 'em up--right over left.
At the next celebration, after a martini, I shall dance. Maybe. Maybe wearing my red "Chucks."
No, I do not own Converse (owned by Nike) stock. But maybe it's time to buy should the Tea Party warm to my idea.
I saw James Taylor and Carole King in concert--Tampa--in June. Fantastic! There was no politics--just an evening of phenomenal music. Carole King--she's a powerhouse. Go see the concert if playing in a venue near you. Guarantee you'll enjoy it. Thanks again, RHB.