"The basic test of freedom is perhaps less in what we are free to do than in what we are free not to do." ~ Eric Hoffer
Who's Your Daddy?
Exclusive to STR
November 11, 2008
When you see Daddy comin'
You're lickin' your lips,
Nails bitten down to the quick...
He gives you the keys
To a flaming car.
Daddy's with you wherever you are.
Daddy's a comfort.
Daddy's your best friend.
Daddy'll hold your hand right up to the end.
-- U2, "Daddy's Gonna Pay for Your Crashed Car"
When I was at the gym on Tuesday, November 4th, all I heard was how impressed people were with how many young people turned out at the polls, how important it was to have 'your voice' heard, how important this election was. I agree that for the superficial reasons Americans have always been obsessed with, this election was indeed important in that it forced people of all political persuasions to discuss race and sex in an even more outrageously overextended manner than normal. The war? What's that?
But I'm not going to make this a gripe session, in spite of the fact that I have felt the need to vent ever since. No, the venting was handled vicariously and quite nicely by Mr. Groves last week, while I was still in the throes of hyperelectionemia.
Instead, let me just add that Bono's lyrics at the top capture perfectly the state of this "Union." The song, after all, opens with one of Lenin's favorite marches. Hint, hint.
The progressives have their man in office come January. Daddy is going to set about fixing our health care system, fixing the economy, fixing the war, and fixing our national image abroad. Uh-huh. Sha-la. From Daddy's mouth straight to our hearts:
"[T]o those who would tear the world down: We will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security: We support you." More war, ladies and gents. Probably in Clinton 's style instead of W.'s.
"Our union can be perfected." Oh, God.
"The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even in one term." Is this perhaps an early caveat, a promise that Daddy will be able to fall back on when four years later we're all using outhouses?
Please keep in mind that the Obamas, McCains, Bushes, Palins, Bidens, Clintons, Cheneys, Gingriches, Reagans, and Roosevelts of this world will not have a long road ahead; they all live next door to each other on Easy Street. They will not have a steep climb; their servants do that for them. And they have already gotten there; screw you if you don't "get there in one year or even in one term."
But at least the rhetoric is pleasant-sounding enough. It reminds me of the exquisitely turned phrases of yet another Daddy, the one I actually missed when he left office all those years ago. To me, Reagan was like a grandpa, one who was more present in my life than either of my actual grandfathers. What did he say differently? "Government is not a solution to our problem, government is the problem." A statement that is thoroughly and entirely correct, and one that resonated with millions.
Except that by the time Papa Reagan left office, the national debt was almost twice as high. Medicare, Medicaid, defense spending, and Social Security experienced huge increases. Remind me, Daddy, what was the problem again? (Gosh, he's handsome!)
Turn on Limbaugh, Hannity, and Coulter, and you'll hear that Daddy should get tough on crime, put the Bible back in schools, reintroduce Christianity back into "public" life, and fight wars against communists and terrorists, but nobody else.
Turn on Franken, Colmes, and Huffington, and you'll hear that Daddy should enforce "equality," regulate gay marriage as well as straight marriage, redistribute the wealth, and fight wars against really, really bad terrorists and poverty, but nobody else.
Most libertarian and old-right minarchists just want Daddy to stop drinking and get himself to AA on a more regular basis. What they don't understand is that The Constitution (Daddy's pre-nup) does not provide for a minarchy. Not anymore, at least. Just read the text of the Sixteenth Amendment once more. You don't even have to read between the lines:
"The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration."
Need it translated into modern English? Very well:
"Daddy can take as much money as he wants, from whomever he pleases, without regard for decency or fairness. Uh-huh. Sha-la."
Do I exaggerate? If you think so, then you probably live with an alcoholic parent, for whom you regularly make excuses. But that's what the minarchists' precious Constitution did: it merely gave a driver's license to a drunkard. Daddy does not have to pay for the car he crashes. You do.
But at least the American children, who apparently number in the tens of millions, have elected a good-looking, suave, urbane, well-educated, charming, disarming, and eloquent Daddy. Those of us who have willfully become political orphans will have to endure Four More Years of Daddy love and Daddy hate. Daddy'll get drunk, bang on the door to be let in, piss in the shrubs, curse the neighbors, dent the fender, pass out, make excuses, apologize, bring Mommy some flowers, and make empty, vacuous promises. The media will fall in line on either appropriate, socially acceptable side (democratic socialist or national socialist), dutifully report where Daddy went wrong, and where he'll make it right when McObamaton or W. McObamaton is elected to Daddy Office next.
No matter who Daddy is next time around, will it sound any different from any other inaugural address, I wonder? Can anyone explain the difference between the below quotes from inaugurals past and the below quotes from The Lord of the Rings trilogy?
"When I was first honored with a call into the service of my country, then on the eve of an arduous struggle for its liberties, the light in which I contemplated my duty required that I should renounce every pecuniary compensation." -- George Washington
"I thought I'd lost you, so I took [the ring]. Only for safe keeping." -- Samwise Gamgee
"We have become a great nation, forced by the fact of its greatness into relations with the other nations of the earth, and we must behave as beseems a people with such responsibilities." -- Theodore Roosevelt
"Why not use this ring?" -- Boromir of Gondor
"Although we have centered counsel and action with such unusual concentration and success upon the great problems of domestic legislation... other matters have more and more forced themselves upon our attention -- matters lying outside our own life as a nation and over which we had no control, but which, despite our wish to keep free of them, have drawn us more and more irresistibly into their own current and influence." -- Woodrow Wilson
"The ring is taking me, Sam." -- Frodo Baggins
"It may be our lot to experience, and in large measure to bring about, a major turning point in the long history of the human race." -- Harry S. Truman
"The ring was entrusted to me! It's my task! Mine! My own!" -- Frodo Baggins
"And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you -- ask what you can do for your country." -- John F. Kennedy
"We swears to serve the master of The Precious!" -- Gollum
"This ceremony is held in the depth of winter. But, by the words we speak and the faces we show the world, we force the spring." -- Bill Clinton
"The Ring of Power within my grasp... A chance for Faramir, Captain of Gondor, to show his quality." -- Faramir of Gondor
"Our goal instead is to help others find their own voice, attain their own freedom, and make their own way." -- George W. Bush
"The ring is mine." -- Frodo Baggins (or what's left of him)
Several weeks ago, I saw a picture in my local paper of a new high school that had been built for $69 million. It looked like all the others. It was square. It was ugly. You know exactly what sort of condition it will be in by the end of the second school term. How is it that Daddy is always such a lousy architect and aesthete when it comes to educating his children? And how come, once the kids move in, Daddy can't keep the building in good repair? For $69 million, you can build and maintain quite a beautiful edifice indeed. So why doesn't he?
I'm so glad I don't listen to Daddy anymore. It's always the same apology. Always the same excuses. How many $69 million schools have been built to fix the same problem that only gets worse? Every drink Daddy takes is the last one. He means it this time. Clinton meant it. Bush meant it. Obama means it. President #45 will mean it. President #46 will mean it. President #47 will mean it, only he really will, not like his predecessors. President #48, however, will only say he means it. (He really won't.) Limbaugh will tell you which one really means it, and which one doesn't. Huffington will disagree, and will tell you which one really, really means it.
You've got a head full of traffic.
You're a siren's song.
You cry for Mama.
Daddy's right along.
What's actually happening is that they're all aiding and abetting this drunken slob. Every last one of them. The children need to be lied to, because according to Alice Miller, the false perception of parental love is a psychological survival tactic of little children. People lined up at the polls for three hours last week desperately hoping that Daddy has finally come to his senses. Maybe he'll really mean it this time. And look at the car he bought! Daddy loves us after all!
Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday