The Annotated Obama

by joe bageant

I’ve managed to sit still through a few state of the union speeches, through the remarks of Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, one Bush (the pappy, I never could gut out one of The Dub’s ) and a Clinton. Brother Clinton finished me off, made me give up on state of the union speeches altogether.

Still, there was the off chance — OK, vain hope — that Obama might come out swinging in the wake of the Massachusetts massacre and the Supreme’s recent sale of Congress to corporations. As in: The senator from Wal-Mart now has the floor. So I poured myself a stiff one and fell into a deep cush recliner in front of a mongo brain-wrapping TV screen. Not that I would ever own one, mind you. I watch it at my friend and fellow writer Fred Reed’s house. That way he gets the rap for being a torpid brainwashed American pig.

Obama’s opener was predictable enough, the obligatory patriotic reference for the blood and balls crowd:

…when the Union was turned back at Bull Run and the Allies first landed at Omaha Beach…

Then came the hearkening back section, in this case to 1965, a time when blacks had hope and liberals had a few guts:

… and civil rights marchers were beaten on Bloody Sunday…

More than half of Americans were not yet born in 1965, and four fifths surely have never heard of Bloody Sunday at Selma. But what the hell, it’s a speech, right?

And again, we must answer history’s call…

Along with millions of other cranky old lefties, I wanted to scream back, Then pick up the fucking phone, damn ya!. . . .

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