[ 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 for yesterday.
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 Commission.
[ 4 ] From a 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, 2008.
A 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.