IF United States President Barack Obama thought that his last address to Congress would mollify Republicans, he failed dismally. Republicans remained glum; never rising to their feet even when he made an attempt to humour them.
Republicans control both houses and have vowed to “stop him in his tracks”. Obama in turn, has vowed to ignore Congress for the remainder of his term and do whatever he can through “directives” to the public service. Therein lies the problem. The mood was grim.
Obama’s gift of speech married to a healthy self-assurance of a narcissist tripled with an Afro-swagger in him step, is the kind of Negro that is destined to fall out of favour with patriarchal whites. His wife, sister Michelle, a health buff, and for some strange reason, never reconciled to wearing sleeved dresses in public ceremonies, considered “appropriate for a lady,” though looking stunningly beautiful, did not endear herself to Republican traditionalists either.
This was not one of Obama’s moments, as he adopted a “preachy” voice towards Republicans, who, as Democrats applauded at each provocation, stiffened in sufferance of this haughty brother. Republicans have never shown any grace, having plotted to oust him on the very first day of his inauguration. Some say the two deserve each other.
He recounted his successes with pride and a tinge of sarcasm aimed at his mortal opponents. His world view is not theirs. The US should lead in the fight of ebola and malaria, Republicans feel that the US should bully every little state, and tell everybody what to do. He expanded feed the children programme to include almost any school child who wanted a meal. Thus 31 million students enrolled. He tripled the amount of college loans, and is now proposing free college tuition.
Expanding welfare to 57 million people, he threw darts at Republicans. “Welfare families did not cause the collapse on Wall Street (2007),” he said amidst loud cheers from Democrats. Republicans ask themselves: “Do we want a nation of takers or a nation of workers?”
This was rubbing salt into deep wounds. Obama’s failure to understand this vision has led to the rise of retrogressive billionaire Donald Trump.
A welfare state, which offers US$32 000 per year gratuities per family of four, cannot at the same time allow unregulated immigration from poverty stricken Third World countries.
Speaker of the House, Honourable Paul Ryan, could not hide his disdain, screwed up his mouth a dozen times, but had to suffer quietly throughout an hour-long tirade.
As an agnostic, Obama has completely missed the religious motivation that drives both acts of grace and acts of destruction. His denial of the Islamic motivation behind violent acts by the Islamic state, and his denigration of American fears about humiliation by these peripheral actors have left a deep cleavage in the American psyche. His harping on gay rights, as the new frontier for civil rights, has caused genuine spiritual mortification among the saints. His failure to appreciate that Catholic Sisters of the Poor cannot abide by health rules that force them to provide contraceptives (which he calls female health issues) is a poke in the eye of the faithful.
He confessed that his success may have laid the fertile seeds for billionaire Donald Trump’s popular appeal. He completely failed to understand that. He has failed to understand that people do not live by bread alone, but also by that powerful spirit which unites peoples called patriotism.
Republicans who opposed his policies were powerfully tarnished by the brush of racism, driving them underground. So, these remnants, maligned in their own country, by an economy that exports jobs to China, a base economy that prefers “wetbacks” (a denigration of Mexican workers paid under the table), an internet economy that imports Indians into the technocrat springboards of companies, and a Negro ruler who appears autocratic and disdainful of Congress, are seething with unspeakable anger. There is quiet desperation among white males and those people who feel that they must make a last stand. It is an explosive anger that is propelling Trump to the top of the Republican line.
The anger will become even more explosive when they realise that the system is now stacked against them, for the very reason they are angry in the first place. Recent minority immigrants make up 30 percent of the voting strength in the largest states, (electoral votes in parenthesis) California (55), Florida (27) and New York (29). Democrats have 101 votes before the race begins. The winner must reach the 217 mile marker. This realisation that the US they knew is longer there, the centre cannot hold, things fall apart, their white children will no longer walk tall in their own land, and speak English and Spanish, is a frightening nightmare.
Democrats loved every moment of his last hurrah. He has been blamed for instability in the Middle East, but he attacked the subject directly. Vietnam and Iraq has taught the US, he argued, that it cannot occupy those countries successfully. His greatest success, an accommodation with Iran, is the Republican’s greatest defeat. It also marks the beginning of the decline of the most powerful lobby in the US, the Jewish lobby. Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu sought to humiliate Obama by appealing to Congress and dictating what US policy should be towards Iran.
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