Obama’s SOTU a Circus Maximus for the Ages

January 22, 2015


In ancient Rome the political class kept the masses in check (and their own heads attached to their shoulders) by giving out free grain and putting on regular Circus Maximus extravaganza’s to keep the people’s attention distracted from the factual misery that was their daily lives.

Americans get the updated version once a year in what is billed as the President’s State of the Union address to the nation.

From the aisle hogs who spend their day planting their Congressional rumps into an aisle seat hours before the event to get their mug in the camera shot as the President enters the chamber, to the stand-up, sit-down clapping seal routine the representatives of the President’s political party perform at every sound bite moment, the State of the Union address as it is practiced today is no longer the Constitutional report intended but rather a circus of maximum proportion.

And Tuesday night’s performance was no exception.  A word search on the whitehouse.gov transcript contains the notation of (Applause) no less than 86 times.  (If you were one of the poor souls who watched it, you saw the seals perform live, if you didn’t watch, consider yourself blessed.)

When Woodrow Wilson chose to forgo Jefferson’s tradition of sending Congress a written report to give himself a better platform from which to push his own political agenda he had no way of knowing that the ritual that he revived then, would become the circus that it is today.

But as a fellow progressive, I have no doubt Wilson would be quite proud of the performance ringmaster Obama gave Tuesday night.

As a firm believer in the philosophy that it was the federal government, not the individual that was most important to the American experience, Wilson would have been right there with the seals Tuesday night as Mr. Obama proudly declared that the only way forward was more government, more taxes and more centralized control.

But it wasn’t just the government goodie bag that gave this State of the Union its circus atmosphere.

The clown car in ring number two was amazing.  The half-truths, mis-statements and omission of facts just kept pouring out one after another, after another.

From the opening “The shadow of crisis has passed and the State of the Union is strong” to “we’re demonstrating the power of American strength and diplomacy.  We’re upholding the principle that bigger nations can’t bully the small…” to “2014 was the planet’s warmest year on record” to his constant alluding that it was only his policies and his proposals that were the “wise” and “smart” way forward, Mr. Obama proved himself a master at chipping off an ounce of truth from a ton of lies.

Obama can say we’re out of the shadows but the American people are battling a very real and very destructive economic storm that his own policies just keep making worse.

The realities that are Crimea, Syria, ISIS, Libya, Iran, and Yemen require a Coliseum sized suspension of disbelief for the President’s “strength and diplomacy” comment not to be laughed out of the room.

And Gavin Schmidt, Director of Nasa’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies admitted last Saturday to the Daily Mail that the 2014 “hottest year” claim only had a 38 percent probability of being correct. (That’s a 62 percent probability of being wrong for you seals that were clapping.)

While the world burns around us, our Nero plays melodies of platitudes and spreads forth free grain in hope he can distract just enough of us to ignore the facts that the rest of us know to be.

It may work, it may not; only time will tell.

The only thing I know for sure is that the circus isn’t nearly as fun as I remember it.

PUBLISHER’s NOTE:  An edited version of this column first appeared in the Thursday, January 22 2015 print edition of the Joplin Globe.

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