Why Obama’s Generation X Assumptions About Reality Undid His Presidency-A BabyBoomer’s Lament
My best friend was never fooled by Barrack Obama. She always saw a man who was letting liberals think he was a liberal. He never was a liberal. And she knew it. She was a Gen-Xer and knew how the people of her generation were fooled and schooled by propaganda. She was not fooled by Obama or the relentless propaganda of the Right Wing. But most of her generation were and the liberals from mine as well.
For the Baby Boomers, most of us were blinded by Hope, our own. Our own hope for an RFK, a second FDR, or an LBJ without the Albatross of the Viet Nam war, clouded our judgement. We heard “Hope”, believed it was 1966 all over again and ignored the subtle and not so subtle warning signals.
Obama has proved to have liberal sensitivities only on issues of Civil Rights. While this is good and better than the Romney or McCain alternatives, it is in a word, pathetic. Obama is only liberal on issues that have directly impacted him or his family. This means his ability to empathize is limited. That explains his love affair with drone warfare and Reaganomics. No one who is empathetic can send drones to kill someone and call dead kids “collateral damage”. That’s Cheney-Bush stuff. Long term it is a failed policy, anyone who can reason can see that a whole generation will grow up hating the USA as drones circle their country and kill random people. Defenders say the deaths are not random, but terrorists who are somehow threatening the USA? Do you really expect people living in a foreign country to buy that? It does not take a lot of thought to see that droning people to death will not win hearts and minds. Yet, reports are that Obama reviews the kill list daily and delights in choosing targets himself. This is very weird. And certainly not indicative of a man with a liberal bent. It is indicative a man who has bought the entire Neo-Conservative rap. Obama is like a Black Truman not a second FDR.
The warning signs were there when he spoke off the cuff during the campaign. Mysteriously the supposed intellectual from Harvard stated that Republicans had all the new ideas-meaning Reaganomics, perpetual war, empire building and fervent anti-socialism. No one asked him what he was talking about. But clearly he embraces the supply side economics of that party, their believe that government is needed by the rich and powerful to protect their interests and not by the poor who should just look after themselves, the belief that the United States has an obligation to the international financial community and multi-national corporations to keep the established order safe for commerce, the fatuous belief that “out sourcing” saves money and the Reagan doctrine that the “government is the problem not the solution”. He got these ideas from watching television and reading newspapers. They were part of the zeitgeist of the Generation X. A brainwashing that was so thorough that by the time most of them were 30 they believed Social Security was a problem not a miraculous social contract. As the greedy wealthy licked their wounds from the beating they took from FDR they first undid the continued implementation of the New Deal by derailing the great Henry Wallace’s ascendancy to the presidency. As FDR’s health waned they removed Wallace from the Vice Presidential nomination despite his enormous popularity and inserted neo-con Harry Truman, a small man with small ideas. The New Deal in America never took another step forward and the wealthy rallied their forces determined to spend decades undoing all of FDR’s programs. While the social democracies of Europe flowered in the post WWII environment thanks to leadership from the liberals of America, the US sunk into the malaise of the 50’s with the CIA obtaining enormous power and fervent anti-communism became the new rallying cry. No more calls for economic equality or justice were heard. IKE led America into a blind alley. Then the fruits of FDR’s policies flowered into the sixties. A whole generation which dared to question the established order.
But rich and powerful of this country were driven crazy by the culture of the sixties or rather the counter-culture. And ruthlessly they made sure that the generation that followed the Boomers would be a generation of the Zombies which ironically they so love in the theaters and on TV. They destroyed the schools, out priced college education, founded and funded economic courses which taught that Keynesian economics which had propelled the country to prosperity from the Great Depression to the Seventies was a bad idea, a theory at best, and that new ideas of Trickle Down, Ayn Rand, Milton Friedman and fervent anti-communism and anti-socialism were the beliefs that held the country together. The Lies that Bind. Obama complained about 60’s music being played when he spoke. Taste? Or a disregard of the counter culture and revolutionary spirit that the music represented? Now we know.
Obama even embraced the New Right’s second amendment mantra: “The second amendment guarantees an individual right to any and all guns.” No, Mr. Obama, it does not and you know it. However, this is a wide spread belief among the right wing, a mantra, the 11th commandment. It is a simple easily understood devisive rallying cry and fear tactic that meshes nicely with the Right’s political agenda and needs. Never mind it has no basis in fact. Right wing companies like Walmart make billions off of gun sales and want to make sure nothing stands in the way of a potential sale. No rules, no regulations, the second amendment is a holy doctrine because it stops the regulation of sales from Walmart’s point of view. Tell people it is about freedom and they buy into it. But when have the multi-national companies ever cared about freedom for the common man, freedom for them to make a profit. That is their concern. Just repeat that: “The second amendment guarantees an individual right to any and all guns.” 100,000 times and lots of people will believe it. Obama shamefully stated that he too believed that the constitution was intended to support an individual’s right to arm himself or herself even though he had to have been familiar with reality.
Chief Justice Warren Burger, when asked for his opinion on the Second Amendment, said it was “…one of the greatest pieces of fraud, I repeat the word ‘fraud,’ on the American public by special interest groups that I’ve ever seen in my life time. The real purpose of the Second Amendment was to ensure that state armies–the militias–[preamble] would be maintained for the defense of the state. The very language of the Second Amendment [referring to the preamble] refutes any argument that it was intended to guarantee every citizen an unfettered right to any kind of weapon he or she desires.”
Justice Ginsburg agrees. She continues, “The Second Amendment has a preamble about the need for a militia…Historically, the new government had no money to pay for an army, so they relied on the state militias. And the states required men to have certain weapons and they specified in the law what weapons these people had to keep in their home so that when they were called to do service as militiamen, they would have them. That was the entire purpose of the Second Amendment.”
But, Justice Ginsburg explains, “When we no longer need people to keep muskets in their home, then the Second Amendment has no function, its function is to enable the young nation to have people who will fight for it to have weapons that those soldiers will own. So I view the Second Amendment as rooted in the time totally allied to the need to support a militia. So…the Second Amendment is outdated in the sense that its function has become obsolete.”
Strangely as the New Right tries to turn America into their version of the old west they conveniently forget that in the old west the sheriff routinely checked in the guns of all visitors to the town. They got their guns back when they left. Gun control?
But nowhere has the brainwashing of Gen-X been so complete as on the issue of out sourcing. People have bought hook, line and sinker the idea that “the government can’t do anything right”. Rand Paul, the second generation champion of faux Libertarianism crows: “We know government is inept, but ObamaCare is bringing it to a whole other level of incompetence.” It is now assumed that the government is inept by an entire generation told this over and over. The same government that ended the first Republican Great Depression, brought 30 years of continued prosperity and upward mobility to the Baby Boomers, Korean War generation and Tweeners like Obama. The same government that put a man on the moon. The same government that built the Hoover dam. Inept. Hardly.
But if that is your core belief than out sourcing is the unchallenged solution.
So the way to solve a problem is to hire an outside contractor? Now think about this for a moment. If you own a house, a building or a car and you can repair the thing that is wrong with your car, house or building yourself, will you get it done better or cheaper by hiring a contractor? Maybe quicker, rarely better, never cheaper and at least half the time you will be in for a major hassle and lots of times a trip to small claims or another court if its a big job. Contractors are rip off artists. Everyone who has ever remodeled a bath or kitchen or garage knows this. You can’t trust them. The city you live in assumes they are crooks and makes them apply for a permit for everything they do and checks the work afterword. So do you if you are smart. Now if you can do the repair or remodel yourself without outsourcing to a contractor you save tons of money and aggravation. In fact in real estate, the main way to make money on a small apartment building or office building is to do the work yourself. Outsourcing costs money, it does not save money.
The same is true through all levels of government. Medicare can run health care for 3% overhead but private insurance takes as much as half the dollar for salaries and bonuses. Privatization breeds millionaires and profits. It does not lower costs. Companies learn rapidly they can make huge profits on government contracts and in turn donate huge sums to politicians who give them even bigger contracts. That is the effect of out sourcing. You create a culture of companies that are really good at selling their service to decision makers, bribing them and ripping off the general public. Their skill is to get the contract, that is all.
That is why the discussion about why the ObamaCare web site is bad should really be about why Obama thought out sourcing would save money? Gen-X brainwashing. Reagan sold the idea that the Government was the problem, and a lot of people bought it. So much so that the tragedy of New Orleans in the aftermath of the hurricane was considered no big deal, the government was at fault so privatize FEMA. One solution to every problem.
Sadly Obama stumbles along giving the Right Wing everything they want. If he had hired a team of 20 good programmers for 100,000 a year or whatever the appropriate federal salary is, he would have had an excellent team for the rest of our life time for the 200 million dollars already spent. But they would have been federal employees with good jobs, not rich owners who would be donating major bucks back to the candidates. Those kind of simple things are what have made Obama a right wing democrat who just does not understand how the real world works. Because of this the 1% have gotten fabulously wealthy because of him and the 99% are treading water.