I’ve spent the last day fighting off a cold. My right ear began hearing differently. Sounds sounded lower and distorted. Perhaps as a blind person this has a more profound disorientation than it might to a sighted individual. Everything seemed slightly distorted in a somewhat nightmarish way.
I made a bath. I left the bathroom to prepare. I heard a strange thumping noise. I could not locate the direction of the sound due to the cold. It reminded me of the time a squirrel snuck into my bedroom when living with my family. We called pest control. They said to just let it get out itself. It eventually bent a screen and scurried outside, where my brother shot it with a BB gun and its brains – well needless to say I did not want an incident like that to repeat itself. Of course, as you have probably already guessed, the sound actually came from the water going through the pipes and thump-thumping into the bathtub as it filled. After realizing this, I took my bath and relaxed. I figured such profound alterations would make a perfect backdrop to watch the state of the union.
Every time I watch one of these things, it seems more and more like theater. Normally, republicans sit on one side of the aisle, and democrats on the other. For this occasion, the republicans and democrats paired. The media even referred to them as having dates for the prom. Aww how sweet, I’ll bet they look like such cute couples. Don’t they look sweet together? It turns my stomach. Ron Paul did not have a date for the prom.
John Boener came on, sounding like a wrestling announcer. Then the clapping started. On and on they clapped. My cold made the clapping sound like going through a tunnel. I imagined myself traveling through a tunnel filled with the sound of reverberating clapping, with this meeting a dim light at the end. Obama greeted people, how ya doing, that’s right, I’m here to help you know that. Good to see you. Keep up the good work. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. You shaved your beard huh? Good to see you. Do they always clap this much? Then, the CNN commentator said: “He’s not wearing a red tie, he’s not wearing a blue tie, it looks like he’s wearing a purple tie.” And that pretty much set the tone of the evening for me.
Of course, he started with the tragic shooting in Arizona. Bringing up the shooting reminds me of 9/11, asking for unity, but unity through tragedy. He delivered the whole speech with spikes of forced excitement. A lot of people may buy it, but does he?
On to the economy. “The stock market is up.” he said excitedly. True, the dow has come close to the 12000 mark, but quite can’t hold it. As I write this it has started falling again. Besides, you can’t used an index propped up by government money as an indicator. He excitedly speaks of jobs available to everyone…. Where? “A lot of people can remember a job at a factory where you could work your whole life with benefits…” They do? Not in my generation! The Gen-X mentality says that you have to make it yourself, because you can’t depend on anyone but yourself and your close friends and family. We have never had those opportunities.
He asked for a freeze on domestic spending for five years. Not much applause there. A friend also clarified that he meant freezing spending at current levels, not freeze as in totally eliminate. He keeps leaving stuff out! Fair to note I would have probably figured that out if my cold wouldn’t have made Obama sound like an android. He then described the economy as like flying in an airplane without an engine, flying high for a minute but then you notice the impact. What a curious metaphor.
He began laying out plans to invest money in America’s technology and infrastructure. The last reorganization of government happened with the invention of black and white television. And now thanks to the switch to digital television, I can’t listen to that television channel on my radio. He made a joke about the bureaucracy surrounding salmon. “I hear it gets even more complicated when they’re smoked.” He woefully referred to the vacant store fronts. As in, the vacant storefronts caused by things like NAFTA, aided by William Daley, the new secretary of treasury? He also seemed totally out of touch with schools. I think a lot of boomers have a romanticized image of college that no longer applies. They picture students quietly sitting under an elm tree quaintly reading Chauser, instead of students loudly getting fucked up then brazenly posting about it on Facebook. “This is a nation of Edison and the Right brothers, of Google and Facebook.” he proudly proclaimed. I felt nauseous, and not from my cold. Seeing the airplane compared to Facebook pretty much explains everything. He wants to invest in biomedical, information, and especially clean energy, noting biofuels. Biofuels, like hemp? I wonder what would happen if a scientist really did accept this free energy challenge. Would they get the Thomas Edison treatment or the Wilhelm Reich treatment? He concluded this section of the speech by triumphantly stating: “Know this. If a bill crosses my desk with earmarks in it, I will veto it.” Remember this when he doesn’t.
He said some other stuff, but I got distracted and had to find food. When I came back he had moved on to the war. Look to Iraq, where nearly 100,000 men and women have left with their heads held high. You mean the Iraq you promised you’d end when campaigning? Again we heard it: “The Iraq war is coming to an end.” He further promised: “And this July, we will begin to bring our troops home.” from Afghanistan.” We’ll see how that goes. You will have to forgive my skepticism. “The state of our nation is strong.” Not much surprise.
After the speech, which didn’t really surprise me, I figured that the fun had come to an end. Not true. They said that not only would they air the official republican response, but that now they will also air an unofficial tea party response too. This peaked my interest. As I feel compelled to point out whenever it comes up, the original tea party happened simply as an online fund raiser for Ron Paul. The establishment has since taken that and attempted to turn it into a controlled opposition. I didn’t know what to expect, so kept watching. I agreed with the Republican’s response that we could face the same crisis as European countries, though no doubt we would disagree on other issues.
We had the official republican response, now for the unofficial tea party response. How surreal! Republicans feel upset by this response. Good. I didn’t know the congresswoman, but said that she had come here by request and not to compete. Nevertheless, the establishment GOP views it as such. She described the tea party movement as a dynamic force for good in this national conversation. She gave her speech in a natural way. She showed a chart of unemployment rates over the last ten years. Now at 9.4%. I particularly enjoyed it when she said: “We didn’t buy a leaner government, we bought a bureaucracy that tells us what kind of lightbulbs we can buy.” This issue has always gotten my attention, because it shows a ridiculous example of the government intruding into public life, and the stupidity of forcing the switch to something more dangerous in the name of saving the Earth. Dumb all around! Good speech. I don’t know anything about her, but I enjoyed her speech taken on its own. One guy said she blames Obama solely, but I see it more as speaking in the short term, addressing the problems we have to deal with in the immediate time. The establishment would love it if people would just keep bickering about which party to blame, instead of shifting their focus and blaming the global elitists who really run things.
In summary, Obama gave a state of the union much as I’d expect. I found the most interesting things happened before and after the speech. When I watch these things, I try a thought experiment. I try to suspend my own opinions and really believe what he says. I really try to see things from the perspective of the American who actually believes this. It never works. Just remember: when Obama speaks of unity, he doesn’t mean unity through love, he means unity through hatred. He means that we, the little people, suffer austerity measures while they, the elitists, enjoy their palatial mansions and private jets. He does not mean unity with the Creator, he means unity with the state. And the state of the union is strong – as strong as our currency and that which backs it. Oh wait… Nothing backs it. Have some more fake Facebook credits!