Saturday, July 11, 2009

Just Like You

Pandering politicians are nothing new. Raising the practice to an art form is...
To paraphrase an old saying, wherever Barack Obama goes, there he is, and while politicians have long sought to fit in with the communities in which they are currently stumping for votes, it is a rare practice for one who is victorious in an election. I cannot recall a U.S. president prior to the current one that so closely resembled a chameleon. Past presidents - when travelling abroad - proudly embodied the American spirit. Not so with Obama.

In his recent tours of the world, he has endeavored to remind the peoples to whom he was speaking that he is "just like them" and, therefore, understands them. In Cairo, he reminded the crowd of his "Muslim heritage", even though he vehemently denied that heritage during the campaign. And this past week in Ghana, he administered the same confession to Africans, pointing out that he has "the blood of Africa within me".

That could be an innocuous, vague reference to his being half African American. He went on, though, to say something that could once again raise the low-simmering controversy over his qualifications to be POTUS in regards to the never-seen birth certificate (Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs, be damned). He said, "Countries like Kenya, which had a per capita economy larger than South Korea's when I was born, have been badly outpaced." (Emphasis mine).

If he had substituted "in the early sixties" or "forty-eight years ago" for "when I was born", the significance would have escaped notice. However, describing the economic or societal condition of a country at the time he was born lends an air of personal experience, at least in my mind. For example, I wouldn't think to describe what it might have been like in China when I was born. I would be more inclined to refer to the, uh...middle of the twentieth century.

There is a technical word that describes a "Freudian Slip": it is Parapraxis and it defines a phrase that inadvertently reveals a truth that the speaker would have preferred to have kept hidden. We know so little of the mysterious ascension of Barack Obama, the orphaned lad who attended the best schools and attained privileged status so quickly. We know nothing of the origins of the funding necessary to have accomplished the things he has. It's almost like he is the fictional character Kyle XY , the difference being that in the show, Kyle didn't know his origins, either. More significantly, Kyle wasn't the leader of the free world. That leader, Obama, knows his origins well and does his best to conceal them, along with whomever was responsible for his meteoric rise to prominence.

And just as an aside...I hope you all noticed that Obama was adorned with a black cowboy hat in the accompanying photo. Some may cry "symbolism over substance", but in the case of Obama, it may be best for them to rely heavily on the symbolism, since the substance is in short supply.

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