Thursday, March 13, 2014

Hopscotching the Kabuki of Political Burlesque

Hopscotching the Kabuki of Political Burlesque
Then of the Thee in Me that works behind 
The Veil, I lifted up my hands to find 
A Lamp amid the Darkness; and I heard, 
As from Without--"The Me Within Thee Blind!

~~Omar Khayyam, The Rubaiyat
 To simultaneously paraphrase and parody Shakespeare, this is the winter of our discontent made summer by the Solar Flare of Presidential incompetence on the State of the Union.

Beyond its ceremonial obeisant significance, the State of the Union Address had been diminished since we anointed a community organizer into the Oval Office.  Maybe you were just too dyslexic to even notice it.  That its yearly occurrence has been ensured by a Constitutional mandate  (Article II, Section 3) had not made the sufferance thereof any more endurable.

This year’s version consisted of more than sixty-five minutes of bloviation, unadulterated by any pretense at attempted adherence to civil decorum.  It was a global media extravaganza the closest approximation to attaining the consummate Nirvana of solipsism.  It was a far cry from the one-paragraph note that Pres. George Washington transmitted to Congress for the first State of the Union Report.

Admittedly, the shortening by five full minutes over the one I painstakingly endured through four years ago was a definite improvement.  While I had delved into that earlier version at length, {see, ch. 26 op.cit. at pp. 293 ff.} some of the comments therein bear repeating for clarity, since they are apropos of this year’s version to the proverbial “T”:

The self-proclaimed transformational President proceeded to transform a traditional ritual of governance in the hallowed halls of Congress into a locker-room pep talk on his expectations of how the nation ought to behave and think, and how his party and the opposition should conduct themselves in order to live up to his standards of decorum and accomplishments.
I did not have the nerve to suffer through the State of the Union festivities of 28-Jan-2014.  To circumvent the risk of shattering the TV set with my laptop (or vice versa) in a vain attempt to skip the farce, I resorted to watching the second tape of The Great Escape (no pun intended), the star-studded WWII classic.  I just could not ungrudgingly countenance soaking up Presidential shenanigans at primetime.
To atone for my deficit in patience and intestinal fortitude, I needed to go back to the official White House transcript of the address.  Buttressed with commentaries from the usual suspects in The Fox News Channel, I commend myself for having gallantly escaped the rites of martyrdom without missing much of the substance of the occasion.  Thank goodness for some residual freedom of choice.

I avidly love Opera but find the subtle intricacies of Okuni Kabuki of the Genruko period of feudal Japan too esoteric and bizarre, even for my not overly delicate sensibilities.  Even when I sojourned in the Land of the Rising Sun I did not have much stomach for the Grand Kabuki which has become the mainstay of the Obama Regime’s paradigm for governance. 

Pres. Obama’s State of the Union Addresses had been political vaudeville at its most grotesque embodiment.  This year’s version was no exception.  If anything, it had gotten worse in both form and substance.  It is a showcase of the political class’ calculatedly acquired expertise in squandering and abusing other people’s money.

America’s decline diminishes me because by a conscious and deliberate choice, I am a part of America.  Whenever and wherever Pres. Obama is blatantly mocked and disrespected, though I know deservedly so, it’s far beyond me to rejoice.  The sentiment is more akin to John Donne’s somber invocation for all of humanity, famously popularized by Ernest Hemmingway, in a novel on the Spanish Civil War:
Each man's death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.
When it comes to what has befallen America, Schadenfreude has never been appropriate.  Even the exact opposite emotion, namely, Verstohlenmitleid does not apply for the simple reason that I am very much a part of the tragic misfortune rather than merely a hapless bystander.  I cringed with both outrage and embarrassment as Pres.  Obama bungled his way through one flashpoint after another from Cairo to Crimea spiced with a hodgepodge of scandalous domestic controversies.
Time was, it used to be a source of bewilderment why nobody else is scandalized by the Obama paradigm of governance.  It certainly cannot be the case that my standard of integrity is far above the one embraced by the hoi polloi.  With barely a smirk and a wink, Pres. Obama maintained with a straight face that there is not even a smidgen of corruption at the IRS.  The rest of the nation ought to have been outraged.  Instead a majority joined the choir of “Amen and Hallelujah.”
A sense of déjà vu is not necessarily akin to vindication.  My observation earlier made remains accurate {p. 262 op.cit}:
. . . it has always been my contention, since I started becoming aware of politics, that without any exception, any nation always deserve the leadership that happens unto them, regardless of the process (or errors) they come by it.
‘There is no doubt that the subrogation of national sovereignty to a global authority is an act that properly falls in the rubric of high crimes and misdemeanors. It is a category of conduct constitutionally impeachable, by law.  But with [the Senate] controlled by the Democrats, in the infamous parlance of Al Gore, there simply is no “controlling legal authority” to make impeachment even a remote possibility.  . . .

Instead of feeling absolved by history, it feels more like having been kicked in the groin by the unfolding of events.  And there is nobody to kick back at to get relief from the umbrage which is verging on the insufferable.  Hence I revert to joining Samuel Johnson in his lament:

Others with softer Smiles, and subtler Art, [75]
Can sap the Principles, or taint the Heart;
With more Address a Lover's Note convey,
Or bribe a Virgin's Innocence away.
Well may they rise, while I, whose Rustic Tongue
Ne'er knew to puzzle Right, or varnish Wrong, [80]
Spurn'd as a Beggar, dreaded as a Spy,
Live unregarded, unlamented die.

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