[ 1 ] From our terrace, we see
the top of the historic victory column at the center of Berlin's Grosse
Stern -- or "great star" which is a roundabout meeting of several main
avenues -- peering over the trees. This column commemorates the Prussian
victory in the Danish-Prussian war, and was given further military
significance after the defeat of Austria in the Austro-Prussian war of 1866
and over France in the Franco-Prussian war from 1870-71.
The Obama speech at this Siegesäule in the center of the Tiergarten in
Berlin on 24 July, 2008, was hailed by many pundits as something of an
epiphany. I saw it as just another political speech, akin to so many others,
pushing all the expected buttons and extending hyperbole to a height not
usually heard in recent German politics.
When one parses only this particular line which finds its way into my song
text, who would argue that any of us has not made mistakes? Who would argue
that our actions have not always lived up to our intentions? This notion is
found in most confessionals from the liturgies of several faiths and many
denominations, and yet such a statement was greeted by enthusiastic pundits
as if something original. In politics, I have come to believe the only thing
original is that a new generation has not heard the "same old, same old."
For them if not exposed to the searing lessons of history, such is always
"new." No matter how centuries old the "new" truly is.
Earlier in this speech, which predates the interview which sparked this
satiric setting, Obama stated as have others before him, "This is the moment
to give our children back their future." For my skeptical perspective, the
mounting public debt to uphold Ponzi scheme-like financing of today's
government programs by borrowing from tomorrow declares such hyperbole
false. Our children's future is demonstrably and unarguably more-debt ridden
than previous generations thanks to such rhetoric as claims bettering their
future world is not hugely impacted by borrowing today from tomorrow to pay
Moreover such a statement, made less than a year ago, collides headlong with
the statement made on CNN, as below.
"Well, we are out of money now" is not positive statement for tomorrow's
children; rather, it is the antithesis. If "we are out of money now," what
will it be for the next generations? Their future is an unpaid, lingering
and massive government debt, which paid for today and yesterday. "Give back
to our children?" Based on simple arithmetic, this is the incarnate inanity
of political speech which so easily averts its eyes from reality for the
sake of the pursuit of money and power.
This is as true, I argue, for Germany as it is for the United States, Great
Britain (mentioned because of the recent spate of public financing scandals
in the news) as for any other nation. A nation is not exempt from the simple
financial good sense which should rule one's individual life. Growing debt
is never an answer, but always a problem which has few but well-known and
fully documented solutions. That politics around the world which pretends to
be pragmatic forsakes such simple sense is becoming a consistent truth, in
which political ideology overrules commonsense -- but only temporarily. As
with any other addiction, this increasing addiction to relying on unpaid
debt becomes a crisis and then a catastrophe.
With this in mind, over morning coffee last year I penned
The Fruit of the Money Tree,
which is a parallel discourse in rhyme.
[ 2 ] From the rather
traditional Memorial Day weekend interview, this year with CNN's Steve
Scully, May 23 2009. On sites which allow comment on such news and opinion,
I have read one party's vain attempt to place all the blame on another
party's growing public debt, but truth be told all political parties in
elected positions have contributed to nations' debts, the most recent merely
being the largest addition to the stack of IOUs. Blame for the sake of
partisan political advantage proves out George Washington's advice to
Americans made in 1796, in which he prophetically observed, political
parties' interests will tend to trump national interests.
For this sage advice, I find especially cynical the promises of political
parties to create new jobs. If this strategy were indeed sound, the Union of
Soviet Socialist Republics would not have collapsed internally, and the
"republic" of Cuba, which has been freely and legally able to trade with 190
nations around the world without hindrance from the United States' embargo,
would not be economically undeveloped and suffering its own fraying
infrastructure. Economic growth creates jobs, and after a certain point as
many theories suggest, economic growth is hindered by governance. If this
were not true, then the biggest and most powerful socialist governments,
from the National Socialists of Germany to the Communists of the defunct
USSR, would still be "creating jobs."
As with the presidents' gaffes which first sparked the song cycle,
Seven Presidential Pardons to which this is an addendum, the
magnificent rhetorical gaffes of the current president of 2009 are simply
astounding, though minimized by those loyal to him and unwilling to see such
gaffes as indicative of someone who sometimes speaks without thinking.
Among my favorite gaffes not included in this text is the amazing remark
made while speaking about a Supreme Court nominee, "And they are charged
with the vital task of applying principles put to paper more than 20
centuries ago to some of the most difficult questions of our time." (May
2009) Twenty centuries is two thousand years, and that makes this president
in particular either a fumbler with words, unaware, or innumerate -- that
wonderful new adjective which identifies those for whom the difference
between ten thousand and one million is that "ten" is bigger than "one."
This, in of itself, explains to me why both major political parties in the
United States of America have so easily appropriated money they didn't have.
They were behaving according to the fine economic principles as the old
joke, "Why am I overdrawn at the bank? I still have checks in my checkbook."
[ 3 ] From Bloomberg News, in
a report by Edwin Chen and Hans Nichols, 5 April 2009, after a speech in
Strasbourg, France, April 6, 2009, before members of the European
[ 4 ]
YouTube video of a campaign speech before Obama's election, made
in Bristol, Virginia, June 5, 2008. The halts in his speech
indicated to me that he was perhaps hearing prompts from some
assistant in an earphone which interrupted his train of thought.
[ 5 ] From an interview about
a failed cabinet nomination, on MSNBC with Brian Williams, 3 February, 2009.
[ 6 ] From on of several
telephonic interviews with Matt Lauer, on the NBC's Today, May 5,
remarkably indiscrete quote entered the public discourse courtesy of this
President: "There's something about August going into September --
(laughter) -- where everybody in Washington gets all wee-weed up." Barack
Hussein Obama II, in Remarks by the President in the Organizing for America
National Health Care Forum, DNC Headquarters, Washington, D.C., August 20,
2009. For this I penned a little verse to commemorate such undignified speech
from a national leader.
Wee-wee'd, being wet or pissed,
Silly words should not be missed,
Splattered on some newsroom floor,
And not so easily dismissed.
Wee-wee'd: peed or pissed,
Such words do not assist
The grandeur that did once exist
When of presidents we've reminisced.
Wee-wee'd, one cannot resist,
Makes a joke that will persist;
Oval'd office words resist
Fading, as they do insist:
"Wee-wee'd" now means "someone's pissed,"
For this nation's infamous Wee-wee-ist.