Archive for January 2008
The theme of this four-part blog series is: I want Obama to win the presidency, but I’m not so sure I like the guy. In the previous posting, I wrote:
In short, me, Peter, doesn’t need a messiah. But I firmly believe that this nation does. And I firmly believe that Obama is that messiah.
As I explained in the second posting of this series, I believe America needs a messiah because most Americans are children who take little or no personal responsibility for their own existence. As such, Americans need the guidance of an all-powerful adult. When the “children” look like adults themselves, “all-powerful adult” is upgraded to “messiah”.
But what would this messiah do for us Americans that we need so badly? In short, he would unite us. Unity is a necessary precondition for saving this country.
For the past four years, I have been predicting a coming “doomsday” in America. Although such a day would certainly be painful, it would have the side benefit of uniting us. That is, one of the upsides of really shitty things happening to us is that we find common cause with other people who have experienced the same shit. It’s an eternal human dynamic.
So for fours years, the only uniting force that I could imagine that would bring this nation of 300+ million individuals together as one was the force of mutual calamity. But that thought made me very nervous because calamities by their nature come as a surprise. If calamities weren’t surprising, we could prepare and either avert them, or at least come to terms with them.
But surprised people, especially frightened children, are highly irrational beings. And when those surprised “children” are adults, they can be quite dangerous.
So for four years, I’ve been thinking about how to survive the aftermath of when the majority of this country finally wakes up to the realization that this great nation is f#$&ed. History shows when these sorts of awakenings happen, chaos is loosened for a period, until fatigue sets in, acceptance emerges, and some sense of normalcy is returned. Think New Orleans.
The trick of living during such times is to survive the chaos. The A+ trick is to not merely survive, but to prosper. A failing grade is awarded for non-survival.
Well, when one’s head is thinking that way, one spends some energy toward enhancing self-sufficiency, and strengthening one’s community relations.
But then along came Obama. In Obama, I could see a better way toward unity. A quicker way. A shortcut.
Sure, calamities will unite us. But at what cost? A messiah figure can do the same for us — much quicker and much cheaper. A messiah could bring us together, so that when the unavoidable calamities do come, they arrive as not such a great surprise, and the ensuing chaos is ameliorated.
Now, it’s a whole other blog series to explain this next statement: If Obama wins the presidency, I expect there to be an assassination attempt against him. Not because he is a black man. But rather because he will be the man, like FDR before him, and Lincoln before FDR, who inherited a f#$%ed country off the rails, and did what was necessary to restore order. For his efforts, Lincoln was assassinated, whereas FDR survived the 1933 coup attempt against him.
Should President Obama be assassinated after he had brought this country together, then whatever dark days will surely follow that tragedy, we will be more prepared for them.
So as I said in the first posting of this series: Booyah for Obama for president! I don’t have to like him as a man to passionately hope he wins. I just have to love America.
In the previous two postings of this series, I explained why I passionately favor Mr. Obama for U.S president. There isn’t even a second choice. Not just this year — for at least the past 20 years.
But in this posting, I’m going to explain why I don’t much care for Mr. Obama as a man. My personal reservation boils down to my beilef that he is a self-styled messiah.
In short, me, Peter, doesn’t need a messiah. But I firmly believe that this nation does. And I firmly believe that Obama is that messiah.
So in this posting I’m going to explain why I think Obama sees himself as the messiah. But this posting is going to sound like criticism of Obama. And of course, children can’t understand the subtle distinction between criticizing a man qua man, and at the same time, promoting the same man for president.
For you children, perhaps it will help if I say a few words about Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Edwards. First, with Mr. Edwards, I believe that he is a personal fraud who is speaking a poignant national truth. As between a self-styled messiah (Obama) speaking the truth, and a fraud (Edwards) doing the same, my beliefs choose the former for America.
As for Mrs. Clinton, all I can say is that when I woke up this morning and checked the news, my first reaction was: What is wrong is the people of New Hampshire? Are they blind? Moronic beyond hope? Are they incapable of understanding the scourge of Clintonism?
My second thought was: I’m glad the dark avatar otherwise known as Hillary won. This victory will keep it/her in the national spotlight long enough for the nation’s other children to learn from the mistakes of the New Hampshire children. Because if Obama had won New Hampshire yesterday, it/she would have crawled back into the computer which generated it/her, and Clintonism would have died a loathsome death, before even the sleepy children of America could wake up to face the new dawn. And that just wouldn’t do.
OK. The rest of this posting is for the 3 or 4 other people in this country with an academic interest in, and true understanding of, a personality theory known as the Enneagram. To you 3 or 4, it goes without saying that insanity and enlightenment are relatively rare, whereas the vast bulk of our consciousness is spent in the middle of these two extremes. And in that vast middle, people are people, Christ is a myth, we all shit, and our shit stinks.
What is Mr. Obama’s shit? He’s a Seven. As I’ve explained elsewhere, the Enneagram is a theory based on what we find unattractive in others; NOT in what we find attractive.
With Mr. Obama, it’s pretty difficult to find things about him that are personally unattractive. But if he is a Seven, one would expect to find pleasure addictions, taking more credit than he is due, receiving flattery as manna from heaven — basically, the messiah toolkit.
Fast forward a year, and we have that famous Iowa victory speech of last week. This was a profound speech because it attracted favorable commentary from not only the liberal media, but from the sort conservative commentators who eviscerate Mrs. Clinton. This speech showed clearly what Mr. Obama is for America: The Great Uniter.
So when I first watched that video, I got goose bumps. (11:58-13:05) It felt good being a Canadian in America heading for my citizenship interview next week. I still get that feeling when I watch the video again.
But me being me, I also look a little closer than most. For example, I noticed a couple Seven things about Obama during the 15 minute speech. On “receiving flattery as manna from heaven” I draw your attention to the moments during the speech when the crowd interrupted Mr. Obama with chanting or cheering. Specifically, notice two different such moments: in one, the crowd interrupted with chants of “U-S-A” (3:50-3:58); in the second, with chants of “O-ba-ma” (4:56-5:10).
Notice anything about Mr. Obama’s reaction to these two interruptions? During the U-S-A chanting, Mr. Obama waited patiently for the audience to quiet down, with little expression on his face. But during the O-ba-ma chanting, Mr. Obama beamed that 10,000 watt smile of his, and seemed to milk it all in. I see that and I see I a guy who suckles flattery like a babe on a tit. Bingo! Seven.
Now, on the issue of “taking more credit than he is due”, I draw your attention to the point in the speech when Mr. Obama said something to the effect: “Years from now, when we have made progress fighting global warming, getting past the oil-based-economy, ending the war, etc., you will say that you were here on this day in this place where it all began.” (8:48-9:30) Wild cheering ensued. Hell I got goose bumps.
But think about it. Who won the Nobel peace prize in 2007? Al Gore. For what? Raising world consciousness about global warming. Now, of course, Al Gore’s work stood on the shoulders of a great many others who have been working on these issues for decades.
So if, 5 or 6 years from now, America and the world have made improvements on this score, it would seem safe to say that these improvements began long before the Iowa caucuses, having nothing to do with the political aspirations of the junior Senator from Illinois. But there he was last week, pre-emptively taking more credit than will be due him, even in the best case in which he ends up playing a central role in moving the issue ahead. Bingo! Seven.
Finally, having “trashed” Mr. Obama, let me conclude by trashing myself. This is a four-part blog posting in which I all but declare myself as the “Obama-boy”. I explain why I am passionate about this fellow’s political candidacy. I really, really want this guy to win.
Also, I’m smart enough to know that, if the above analysis resonates, his enemies could use it to harm the very candidacy that I promote.
What gives with me? Returning to the Enneagram, I am an Eight raised by a Five father. As an Eight, my attention is tuned toward spotting weaknesses in phenomena outside of myself. So watching the Iowa speech, I not only got swept up in it all, I also (subconsciously) watched for signs of weakness, error, and excessive aversion/attraction.
Being raised by a Five dad served to channel my weakness spotting energy into an academic sensibility. About any phenomenon that interests me (and a great many do), I ask questions like: Why did that happen? How does it work? What are the patterns? How does it relate to other phenomena?
As you can probably guess, I am terribly boring to most people in my own life, including my wife. So instead of boring all of these people, I instead bore you. But since few if any of you actually read my blog, my speaking may as well be a tree falling in a forest with no one around to hear.
Which brings me back to my Eightness. Yeah, I’d like it better if “you” existed and we could have a dialog over these matters. But even if you don’t exist, I get pleasure merely from speaking, whether or not anyone is actually listening.
In other words, speaking my mind — no matter what sort of shit is floating around in that bowl — trumps promoting my own interests. I would not have done well in the Russia of Solzenitzen, nor in the China of today — where my only blog readers would have been the thought police.
I realize this is an odd existence. Perhaps even a bit damaged. Whatever the case, it’s a blissful existence in this blessed free country of ours.
Toward the end of Part 1 of this series, I wrote:
[My belief that Mr. Obama sees himself as the messiah] “turns me off” him as man, yet makes me passionately favor him for U.S. president.
Reading closely into that last sentence, you might notice that I am drawing a distinction between myself on the one side, and the bulk of the American population on the other.
When I’ve said over and again that “I love America”, what it is that I love is the ideal of America, the meaning of that ideal, and the historical, eternal singularity that underlies this meaning. As for the American people, I love us no more and no less than I love any other people in the world.
The ideal of freedom is why I love America better than I love any other nation-state today, and better than I love any historical nation-state about which I have read. Indeed, the only better nation-state than America that I can imagine is no nation-state at all.
But my imagination is an illusion. Anarchy can never succeed on this Earth. Functional anarchy requires one impossible precondition. Namely: a self-reliant, self-responsible citizenry.
Hunter-gatherer clans by definition satisfied this precondition, or they perished. But in this post-modern world of ours, the hunter-gatherer life is a vanished, impossible dream (or, for many, a nightmare).
In our post-modern oil-enabled life, profound personal irresponsibility is the fat middle of the bell curve of our existence. In Europe and Asia and pretty much everywhere but America, this personal irresponsibility takes the form of blindly following the norms and taboos of your own culture.
In America, there is no such culture. And into the vacuum created by this cultural absence have rushed the corporations that, as John Edwards explains, are deadening our minds and wasting our bodies. Where the rest of the world’s population blindly follows cultural norms and taboos, we Americans blindly follow the corporate-defined norms and taboos.
Because of this, we Americans are the fattest nation in the history of mankind. We exhibit unprecedented rates of degenerative disease — in the children!, for the love of god. We experience a depth and breadth of social pathology (e.g. serial murder, kids who kill, going postal, abortion as birth control, eating distorders, ADHD, etc.) unrecorded in history.
Follow the cultural strictures of your non-American country, and you may find yourself wearing black and overdressing on a balmy November day. Follow the corporate-defined “good life” in America, and you may well find yourself fat, diseased, and dancing with insanity.
We post-modern humans are children. We can’t seem to think for ourselves.
Other nations have cultures to keep the children in line and out of harm’s way.
We, the lonely, the lost, the abandoned children of America enjoy no such luxury. We children need a messiah to lead us out of this dessicated wasteland of ours.
And look! Here he comes. His name is Barack Hussein Obama.
With a title like that for this posting, you might be wondering: Is he pro-Obama or anti-Obama? If so, I would answer your question with another question: Do you mean concerning Obama personally as a man, or Obama for U.S. president?
Let’s start with the second question: Do I favor Obama for U.S. president? I’ll answer this way:
I moved to this country from Canada almost 20 years ago, in the summer of 1988. In 20 years, I have never seen a national U.S. political candidate for whom I would have cared to vote. (I would have cared to vote for Bill Bradley back in 2000 had he won the nomination, and for Matt Gonzalez for San Francisco mayor in 2003 — had I been a citizen and a San Francisco resident).
Next week is my citizenship interview. After 20 years here, with an American wife and child, it would seem about time I took this step. But as I’ve written and spoken on this site, my love for America goes way beyond my family circumstances. To my mind, in all the millennia of written history, this nation is a singular one — and the only one with which my personal identity is intertwined (i.e. “America” means “freedom”, and I am free).
As I have blogged, predicted, and podcasted for the past four years, I hold the firm belief that this blessed country of ours is “off the rails” and headed for an epochal crash. I am apprehensive about the degree of horror that will be visited upon this nation. At times, I wonder if America will survive it.
Mr. Obama is the single phenomenon I have seen over the past four years that I believe could have the effect of softening the blow of this coming crash, lessening the horrors that await us, and bringing us through the dark days ahead.
Should I be granted citizenship next week, one of my first acts will be to figure out what I could do to help propel Obama’s candidacy. And if he wins the nomination, you can be sure I will vote for him come November.
So on the question — do I favor Obama for U.S. president — my answer is pithy and clear: Hell, f#&%ing, yes.
In my next breath, I’ll say: I don’t much care for the man himself. As I discussed last year, and as I will be explaining in more detail in the next posting, Mr. Obama seems to fancy himself as the messiah.
That belief of mine “turns me off” him as man, yet makes me passionately favor him for U.S. president.
Strange, huh? Read on.