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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Obama's First non-State of the Union, State of the Union

Barry spoke and I listened. It was very inspirational, if you are an American or consider yourself an American. At the same time, what is left for the world to do? This world doesn't seem capable of sustain the sheer ego of this country. There was nothing before America and America will be here for all eternity. Hmmm... I believe I've heard this rhetoric before. Oh yes. Every large world power has made this speech. Sadly, I do not see a UN representative of the Roman Empire, the British global empire has been reduced to a few islands and common wealth members (whatever that means) and the mighty Soviet Union collapsed under the weight of its own bureaucracy (with some help from those goat herding Afghans). Apparently Americans are made from different material than anyone else on this planet. They are special. Dare I say it, are they God's chosen people? The last few groups to have this moniker assiciated with them have fared really well, right? The Jewish Empire is stronger and more powerful than ever? Right?

I understand that this is a delicate procedure, that hinges on intangibles. But, there is a confidence and there is overconfidence. Don't get me wrong. I want American to succeed. I don't want it to fail, but I want it to be the stern, yet humble father figure. A country that first holds itself to its own ideals, before searching out easy targets elsewhere. Humility is important for a person and a nation. America does not have any, from what I can see of its leaders. Why would American's need to do anything, considering we're so great and can accomplish anything? What's the incentive? Noone stays the best forever. Maybe a better strategy is to instill the desire to return to greatness and not just to maintain the illusion of it.

Obama's speech reminded me a bit of previous administration, in its scope. Didn't Bush promise we were going to colonize Mars a few years ago? This administration is going to solve the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression, cure cancer, fix health care, balance the budget, reduce the deficit, win a war in Afghanistan (something the entire Soviet military, with no qualms about killing whole villages was unable to do), fight terrorism, fix our infostructure and gain energy independance by developing alternative and renewalable energy sources. And how are we going to do it? "We Americans can do anything." We solve the problems by simply existing or being born into this arbitraty political separation of land called America. Talk about chicken and the egg. This is a "pep" talk. Americans actually require a pep talk to get out of this spiraling catastrophy. The impending cliff below is not enough. It just goes to show how soft we really are as a nation, when our leaders have to give us gentle encouragment and blistering manifestos of our greatness to get us to "feel" better about things, with us hanging off the edge of a cliff.

The Republican response was even less inspirational and quite derived. It was delivered by Louisiana Govenor Bobby Jindal (the Republican new hype for 2012) : "We Americans can do anything." Wait, didn't that Obama guy just give us 52 minutes of that? Apparently Bobby is the Jerry Lewis to Obama's Dean Martin. I believed he used the "we Americans can do anything" or variations of that, at least 6-8 times in his speech.

Tuesday has left me tired and cynical. I was feeling so good after seeing the Ron English piece, but that has vanished. I voted for Barry because I want to believe he can help make those things he promised happen, but afterall he is still a politician and I distrust that profession. I predict the markets will feel the same and fall some more. Socialism is the dirtiest word in the American-English vocabulary, so I predict at least 200 point drop from the DOW. At least it's reassuring to see the bottom from here, though its a long way down. I was expecting a point of no return as a way to channel all the nervous energy into tangible progress. Sadly we have not crossed the Rubicon.


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