Tuesday, January 12, 2016

SOTU 2016: What They Say And What They Do

I just finished watching the State of the Union speech. This is President Obama’s last one, and he did a fine job of delivering it, too. Very natural, and a little bit playful.

The most important thing when observing politicians is to not only listen to what they say, but also to watch what they do. Man, you’ve got to watch these guys every minute.

Paul Ryan, our current Speaker of the House of Representatives, was very interesting on this point. His role was to introduce the president and then sit right behind him, alongside the Vice President, Joe Biden. The introduction was dignified. “It is my honor and my distinct privilege to introduce the President of the United States, President Barack Obama.” Listening to that, it was all very respectful.

Then we were treated to a display of what he actually did. Watching him sit there, every muscle and joint in his body appeared so tight that I was amazed that his blood could still reach his head. His brow was knit with tension. He sat there smirking stiffly, never standing up or applauding. After that fine introduction, he showed not a drop of respect or approval of anything that the president said. He only showed some emotion when President Obama ran down the list of his considerable accomplishments. Unemployment, cut in half; Wall Street, the DOW is way up; the auto industry, saved and prospering; deficits, way down; health care, “Obamacare” helping 18 million new enrollees. The emotion that Paul Ryan showed was disgust.

The low point for Ryan was when the president mentioned that “some of us disagree about health care.” At that point Ryan’s smirk became a smile and he nodded his head slightly. Zero respect.

“Listen to what they say, but watch what they do.” It’s good advice for anyone observing politics anywhere in the world. I like President Obama, I think that he’s done a good job. Listening to him always puts him on my good side. He bears some watching too, though. He has accomplished good things, no doubt, but he is, after all, a Neo-Liberal like most of them at this point, in both parties. He’s a globalist, and that program has only contributed to the massive insecurities felt by most working people these days. So there’s that.

Ryan and his ilk hate President Obama for many reasons, but mostly because he does more than they would do to mitigate the effects of the global, Neo-Liberal agenda on working people. He appears, at least in some small degree, to care about people’s insecurities, job insecurity, income insecurity, retirement insecurity, health insecurity. And President Obama does much less than the Republicans would wish to do to make all of that much worse. They would do much more to enhance the prosperity of big business, and the banks, and the very, very rich.

Presidential elections make me dyspeptic in the extreme, and this year’s election is no different. We should all listen very closely to what they all say, but we must also study very carefully what they have done, and read between the lines of what they are saying to get elected, and bear in mind to whom they are speaking when they say it. Turn up your bullshit detectors, people! And then vote your conscience. Don’t vote for someone that you were tricked into liking. Don’t take positions just because you think that they will get you “likes” on your favorite website.

This stuff is important. 

No comments: