The great man recently declared, must to the dismay of the Gaia contingent, "We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and nonbelievers," and not necessarily in that order. Thus it is disturbing that last week is being regarded as a holy week by leading adherents of our nation's great religions and nonreligions. Where they saw saintliness and nirvana, we saw suffering and unaccountability and a coldness of spirit you would not believe.
For instance, the new president's opening words, "My fellow citizens." Was this a cruel joke? Twelve million undocumented immigrants in our midst, and they're being excluded this way? Or has an executive order already naturalized and registered them as voting Democrats? Perhaps the great new One was simply signaling his preference for the French national anthem and its revolutionary summons of the citizenry (citoyens) to arms. Like nobody in recent memory, our leader speaks to one and all in multi-layered mis-direction.
If only he had learned from Katrina -- how many countless thousands of loyal, vetted, and certified supporters were coldly abandoned in the Third Street tunnel and other approaches to the holy grounds of Capitol Hill while a heedless government went about its self-congratulatory business? While Yitzak Perlman fiddled (or pretended to, as the Obama-Biden team looked up at him and pretended to listen), a breakaway nation of Obamists burned. No mean feat in a deep freeze.
Let them eat change, the inaugural committee chairman and master of ceremonies Dianne Feinstein told the huddled masses. Or more precisely, she injected an unprecedented doctrinal note in the proceedings that could keep her from being spied on by CIA director Leon Panetta. Said Ms. Feinstein, "future generations will mark this morning as the turning point for real and necessary change in our nation."
Picking up on Dianne's subtlety, the distinguished Rep. Dennis Kucinich showed that he too is ready to get with the program when he managed to be among the first to greet, congratulate, and whisper something to the new president. Just the other day we received a secret communiqué alerting us to the menacing new book Dennis has authored, "35 Articles of Impeachment and the Case for Prosecuting George W. Bush." At the risk of becoming an indicted co-conspirator, you can check it out here. We assume he's being paid by the count.
The loony-bin contingent's tentacles extend to the Oval Office, if New York Times coverage of the new president's knuckle-headed chief of staff is even remotely accurate. We can't wait for the follow-up report on the chatty new veep. What's an indicator of meaningful change? According to the Times, it's when Rahm Emanuel is said to be "trying to…cut down on his use of profanity." And he worries that he's not being a good father to his three young children. No word if he also feels bad for saying Republicans are "bad people who deserve a two-by-four upside their heads." Which perhaps explains the White House's second thoughts on shutting Gitmo down for good, not that there's aren't Republicans happy to claim they fed Rahm that line.
Republicans will not be cowed, regardless. Two of them actually voted against confirming Hillary Rodham Kissinger as our nation's latest secretary of state, one day after Sen. John Cornyn felt the wrath of Sen. John McCain for delaying the vote. Oddly, in the final tally Cornyn was not among the two who voted no.
Republican resistance will have to build in other ways. Here was a squandered opportunity. Several days before his initial swearing in, the then-President-elect dropped by the offices of the Washington Post, one of many follow-up visits in which Mr. Obama has reminded reporters not to waste their questions. Coming across a reportedly pregnant news aide, he proceeded to violate her privacy and to stereotype her situation by asking her when she was due. Then he interfered with her naming rights, saying, intimidatingly, "I hear Barack's a good name."
Couldn't she have responded, and thus cheered all those in need of post-1964-like uplift, "I prefer Barry"?