A Good Show from the Bully Pulpit: Charleston II
The news slows, people forget
The shares crash, hopes are dashed
People forget, forget they're hiding
Come fly with me, let's float down to Peru
In llama-land there's a one-man band
And he'll toot his flute for you
--Come Fly with Me,
The mind of this country,
taught to aim at low objects, eats upon itself
--Ralph Waldo Emerson
Certainly, it was good for animating the black vote if not a little disingenuous, summoning as it did his beloved-but-thrown-under-the-bus Reverend Wright's call-and-response cadence.
Why did the President show up at a church service for the nine victims of the shooting at Emanuel AME church? Surely there have been other more spectacular spree killings during his term, yet he was not a presence at those locations. As with the Democratic contingent present at Michael Brown's funeral, this event is being used to advance a racial agenda.
Such preferential attention shows favoritism not befitting a United State's President. While all murders are lamentable, they should not be exploited to further an agenda. One expects Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and the crew of regulars to take the photo op while mouthing their incendiary rhetoric, but the President should front a rational and non-partisan position.
If the President will not sing Amazing Grace at a soldier's funeral, then why at a civilian's? Four thousand + soldiers have been killed in our Phony War on Terror (PWOT ©), so if the loss of good people for no forseeable reason so destabilizes him that he must sing a public spiritual, surely he could have made one token appearance for his fallen soldiers as Commmander-in Chief.
So when did Presidency-as-performance art begin?
One could say a (perhaps) intentional pandering to the masses began with President Lyndon Johnson's showing of his gall bladder surgery scars and infamous bathroom phone dispatches, or his lifting of his beagle, Him, by its ears. Though somewhat vulgar, Johnson was a cunning man, and what is the Latin root of "vulgar" but the common man.
For that section of America which he was brought on the Kennedy presidential ticket to woo, the non-Nantucket contingent, Johnson was the common man and scored points on the "realness" scale with these actions.
Next. President Nixon always groomed his underdog image ("You won't have Nixon to kick around anymore"), though this was probably more a statement of fact than of cultivation.
President Reagan was in fact an actor. Fantasy collided with reality in his very facticity, and there is little more to say. But his election was a watershed moment in manifesting Guy Debord's Society of the Spectacle.
It was then but a small jump to candidate Clinton's saxophone playing on the Arsenio Hall Show, and Obama's MySpace, Facebook and Twitter accounts and attempts to be Old School (EWF, Bob Dylan), New School (Jay-Z; Ludacris) by telling the nation what he has on his iPod, to be both black, white and everything in between.
As President Lincoln once said, you can't please all of the people all of the time. Though a politician is always mindful of pulling in as many special interests as possible, Mr. Obama's crooning pandering at the Emanuel AME church was a spectacular new low.
Labels: Charleston church shooting, Emanuel AME church shooting, exploitation of news, Guy Debord, President Obama sings Amazing Grace, presidential agenda, presidential favoritism, the Society of the Spectacle