In 2008, Barack Obama's campaign won Ad Age’s Marketer of the Year Award. “Hope and Change” beat formidable stalwarts such as Apple, Coors, Budweiser and Zappos (a blast from the past!). The Obama campaign won many such accolades, including an appearance at Cannes. The irony of course, was that Zappos probably had more political courage.
Less than eight months in office, Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009. This was a participation trophy for being the first black man to ascend to the presidency. Why do I say that? His soaring, populist rhetoric transcended a weak, tepid, pro corporate voting record during his brief stint in the U.S. Senate. As president, he had Manuel Zelaya arrested in his pajamas and backing the coup in Honduras, for the crime of raising the minimum wage that same year. Hope and Change unless your d(owners) disapprove. By 2010, he was steaming into all things war, especially in the mid-east, where he brought slavery back to Libya. Good times. There’s way more. So, you tell me how he was qualified for the Nobel? Like I said, Participation Trophy.
If Obama is your spirit animal, then keep reading…
History has shown that anytime society picks a political or moral savior, they become that group’s Rorschach test. Anything they want to believe about them, they will…even if they must make it up.
Hitler was touted as being a tea totaling, monk like vegan who was so “focused on the glory of the Third Reich” he had time for little else. Truth is he loved good German beer, bratwursts and had women in virtually every German city, in party funded apartments, including his main squeeze and short term, doomed wife Eva Braun.
His reputation was carefully crafted by Josef Goebbels who, not unlike Obama’s handlers, understood the value of image over substance. Hitler never made it past private first class during four years in WWI, spoke poor German and was a failed painter with a marginal, uncurious intellect which made him dangerously insecure. Goebbels was the Minister of Propaganda; a blunt but official government title never seen before or since.
Obama? Hitler? Isn’t that a stretch? Nope. Not where spirit animals are concerned. In an age where the right image is everything, control is the only thing. The aborted campaign of Bernie Sanders is another example of a unicorn Rorschach Test designed for the “true believer.”
Many of his supporters really cannot name a piece of meaningful legislation he wrote or co-wrote. They can talk about what he said, more than what he has done. They can cite his being “against the Iraq invasion” but go limp when grilled on his vote on the Authorized Use of Military Force, which he voted for at the same time as to go into Afghanistan in 2001. This, despite there being no evidence that the Afghan government had anything to do with 911. In fact, Iraq notwithstanding, Bernie is neck and neck with John McCain, who never met a war he didn’t love biblically including Vietnam.
Sander’s people love to ignore that he votes with the Democrats (establishment to you and me) 98% of the time, has maintained plumb committees for 30 years and has never been primaried in his home state of Vermont since his House win in 1990. His record in crushing 3rd party participation in Vermont is legendary and if we recall, he’s supposed to be an “Independent.” However, he campaigned for Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996, despite the Omnibus Crime Bill and NAFTA. He said he was against those. He also campaigned for Hillary Clinton despite evidence that he was cheated in 2016.
Seeing a pattern?
Trump is another one to whom bizarre allegiance, bordering on the psycho-sexual, is puzzling. To be fair, he had no real political bona fides to speak of. His racist comments, sexual assault allegations and bankruptcies were legion, which would have torpedoed any other campaign around 700 times. Still, his supporters overlook many of his failings.
They never point out that his continued and expanded sanctions (Obama holdovers) against Russia, led to that country cashing in all of their U.S. T-bills and getting off the dollar. Failed tariffs caused China to cash in 20% of T-Bills, so far, and inventing their own currency, the Petro Yuan. With more hysteria building around COVID-19 and threats of more sanctions to China, that number will increase.
China has been using Petro Yuan to buy cheaper than U.S. soybeans from India. Meanwhile, Trump has had to ensure U.S. farmers will still vote for him with $60 billion in subsidies, or bribes, to cover his errors.
His failed policies in the mid-east are more Obama holdovers, with weapons to the Saudis, support of their bombing in Yemen, wars in Syria and Libya and the new debacle of giving Jerusalem to the State of Israel without one humanitarian condition for Palestinians. During a pandemic, he sees fit to bomb Somalia and escalate tensions, yet again, in Iran. These are nothing short of blunders. That his acolytes and sycophants ignore these so zealously, puts them on par with Obama or Bernie punch drinkers.
Trump fans love to point out that he “gives back his salary.” Well, if I had a ready cash reserve, and a U.S. expense account, while spending $134 million in golf outings, with staff and secret service staying in my resorts, for which the government pays me as well (emoluments, anyone?) then yeah…I’d give back my salary too. What’s $475,000 amongst taxpayers?
So, what gives? In the age of slavery to our devices we’ve stopped reading. We don’t even read articles on the internet. If you got this far, regardless of your affiliation(s), studies show that you’re in the 90th percentile in intelligence. Click bait and sensationalism is all most people care about or respond to.
Politics has become spectacle and there is no room for nuance or debate. Where once we identified as a Jew or Presbyterian, we now brand ourselves and moral relevance by whom we voted for and when. Orwell’s “two minutes of hate” is upon us with a fury so blinding that even two demented, racist, warmonger, corporate tools have a shot at being president. Just tell me you get my hate, and I’ll love you!
We want to believe like a three year old, who gets an Iron Man helmet for Christmas and will “save mommy from the bad guys.” These are the new spirit animals. Pick one, yet?