Let me just say, for the record: fuck Rod Blogojevich. And fuck Rick Warren, too.
Not because I dislike either of the two men. Not because I resent what they stand for. Simply because I don’t give a rat’s ass in a wheelbarrow what either one of them is doing, what people think of them, or for god’s sake, what the hell any talking head’s opinion of their situation might be. Any opinion of either man I thought I held last week has given way to a mountain of I Don’t Give a Shit.
In fact, I miss the runaway bride.
It certainly appears as though Rod Blogojevich is one unscrupulous bastard, it’s true. He seems to have taken the idea of politics – which is, let’s face it, the art of getting what you want – a bit too far in at least the case of trying to sell off Barack Obama’s Senate seat. We’ve not heard the tapes, but I think its still safe to take the word of a U.S. Attorney when he repeats what is contained therein. And if we believe he tried to sell the Senate seat so blatantly, there’s no reason not to think this is but the latest in a string of corrupt dealings he must have had.
And clutch the pearls!!! A Senator from Illinois (Obama), recently elected President of the United States and his chief of staff (Emmanuel), a House Representative from Illinois might have had some dealings with the Governor of Illinois! That is the low-hanging fruit upon which all the news stories cycling out there are based. Otherwise, it would just be one corrupt Governor, wheeling and dealing like every other politician. At least Governor Spitzer had the decency to have rough sex with a hooker.
So, until there is some evidence that Blogo’s secretly been running the new Everleigh Club, count me among the unimpressed.
And then there’s Rick Warren. You may have heard of him, he’s the Conservative pastor of the Saddleback Church who doesn’t like gay people. What a shockingly freakish person he must be! You don’t see that every day.
So, Barack Obama spent two years of his life and ours on our television screens, in our Internet Tubes and in our newspapers saying he wanted to bring Right and Left together around common purposes. He decried the “Red and Blue America.” In fact, its that kind of talk which got him elected. But now that the universally-acknowledged supporter of gay rights has been elected and he asks Rick Warren – the pastor who don’t dig queers – to do his benediction, we find that people were only into the “idea” of bringing the sides together, not the practice.
In fact, it strikes me that Obama’s biggest asset in the election may well be his biggest weakness in his term: he has been a Rorschach test for a nation full of people looking to leave the Bush Years behind them. Beyond his core of supporters, most people have simply seen what they wanted to see in him, and are surprised when he doesn’t live up to their expectations.
But then in sum, those expectations were never really attainable in any human, anyway. And I’m not sure that we really wanted them to be, which brings me to my theory of what’s happening right now. We are suffering from a type of Stockholm Syndrome. I’m sure actual psychologists could probably come up with a better term for it.
Stockholm Syndrome is a condition occasionally experienced by hostages wherein the hostage begins to sympathize with their captors. I don’t mean to suggest that we’re all rooting for George Bush. That ship has long since sailed for 75 percent of us. What I am suggesting is that we have perhaps grown so accustomed to recoiling in disgust from the word “president,” that we don’t know how else to react to a chief executive. We’ve come to expect that every single news program should be filled to the brim with stuff the White House is doing behind our backs and against our will that either erodes our Constitutional rights, lines the pockets of its billionaire buddies or threatens to reduce our nation to a smoldering heap of non-biodegradable, overdrawn credit cards.
Or maybe it’s not Stockholm Syndrome. Maybe it’s like that experiment we did as kids where you stand in a doorway and lift your arms till they hit the door and keep pushing against the frame; then after a time, you walk away and try to relax your arms, but they keep lifting. We’re trying to relax, but something inside of us tells us to keep pushing against a door frame that isn’t there.
And so we scour every detail of the Blogo case and even those of us who think it’s nothing get a pit in our stomach, worried there might be something. We get all up in arms over one dude and one speech at one event, and even the atheists are more worried about his views on homosexuality than they are about the separation of church and state, for a time. We discuss the non-issue of nepotism in a Caroline Kennedy appointment to the Senate in breathless tones. Holy crap, people, who gives a shit?
I’m of course not suggesting that there is nothing and will be nothing worth objecting to in the Obama White House. But I am saying its worth taking a moment to just stop and think whether or not the issues we’re discussing right now are the most relevant ones. Maybe it’s just that we’re stuck with an idiot at the wheel while the nation’s financial future crumbles, and bitching about Obama’s cabinet seems more proactive than worrying about a president we know can’t do anything right. Maybe the tension between bank bailouts we don’t understand and the Detroit bailout we don’t trust, between the hundreds of billions already as good as spent and the comparably small number of billions we need to spend again is just too much.
It would be nice if journalism could help focus our attentions. But to be fair, I think they’re no better off than the rest of us. I think we all need to relax a little bit, drink some egg nog, and get into some good old-fashioned arguments with our relatives over twenty year old bullshit. That will make us feel much better.