Friday, October 12, 2012


President Barack Obama October 2012

Nothing is feeling right right about now. Do you feel it like I do?

And at the same time, doors are opening and closing. Cars are starting and moving. Work is there to do and millions are doing it. The foliage is changing in Vermont but not quite with the brilliance I remember as a boy, but that could just be the boy. We can't get everything we once had. Nobody can, not even the filthy rich, try as they might.

Last night Joe Biden did okay during the Vice Presidential debate and so did Representative Paul Ryan. One is a senior politician with all the tricks of his trade on display — half of it crippled by bluster — the other is the new sharpie with all the so-called "facts" as a salesman selling us a line of goods manufactured for his CEO bosses. In my own personal life the past year I've dealt with sheriff deputies and other lawmen who individually act exactly this same way: polite, efficient and as legal assassins, alongside one or maybe two old-style lawmen, much like Joe Biden, filled with old-school charm, bluster, and fighting in a paper bag going out of style. That style has values. And values, good people, are disappearing right before our eyes.

So is a President Barack Obama. He's now left the campaign trail to "study" for a few days before the second Presidential debate. Gone to "study" what? More facts and figures? How to develop and deliver "zingers"? Gone to study how to talk to the American people? Isn't this the same fellow who already wowed the country and the world with a speech on racism? Who went to Europe and attracted millions even before he spoke, and then he spoke and it reverberated around the world? Who rose from a single mother and a phantom father — one white, one black — and took in along his rise some fools and some angels and some hardcore truths and values and put them to work? Who isn't afraid to make mistakes along the way: mistakes get you places as long as you know them as mistakes and repair them with your own hands. Isn't this the same fellow who killed Osama bin Laden for the revenge seekers? Ended the war in Iraq that should have never been a war, and the same in Afghanistan? Dropped drones on the bad guys instead of threatening nuclear war with everyone, and yes some very good people died along the way. Good people die each and every day now. It's what we've made for ourselves.

I won't even go into how Barack Obama's leadership saved a country financially broke, didn't jail the thieves, attempted to put them back into the service for their country only to watch them piss on him now from great heights, this almost zen master from Harvard robes and Chicago street life we have.

Racism. Color. Prejudice. Non-communication is what is killing us. Always has. We haven't learned our P's and Q's. A black man rising in America beyond civil rights is what Barack Obama is, quite a phenomenon. He came with a thrill, a bounce to his step, he galvanized the children and the children in adults, and even the grown ups believed in him. He won past the old guard of stale heroism built on violence and glory and revealed a better heroism built on every day existence of mutual respect, black and white mixing it up like a terrific R & B song, and naively and truly wanting to get down and dirty and work with the opposition who already since Sunday let it be known they wanted nothing in the world to do with him. Have you ever been up against these guys? and I can tell you it's almost always guys, and it's not that they are entirely wrong, some have a very good head on their shoulders and can likewise work with their hands, but they're mainly closed down to their chief habits. They do make the trains run. But the train rails were made by dreamers, inventors, explorers, madmen, chance-takers, leaders, and this is what has scared Washington DC rulers from the time Barack Obama hit town. He's a rail man. He should have thrown a good bunch of them into jail. Instead he forgave them. Instead he revealed them. Instead he asked them to play-ball, the all-American past time and middle ground, and they told him to go fuck himself.

For four years we have watched a very good family man, husband, young heart and champion, make strides and become ruined. Right before our eyes. The black pride and intelligence that guided him, may be the same ingredient that brings him down. Since he came out of nowhere and rose to a personal and public greatness, we expect him to provide and grow greater still. Mostso because he is black, was virtually unknown, skinny, packed with power and glory. There's no time not to show up to a debate. There's no time to have this pride and glory stuff get in the way. There's no time not to act with almost a vengeance because we are frustrated and mad as hell, why isn't he? The savior we've made with really very little help of our own isn't performing the way we wanted — so left and right, both sides of the aisle, we're going to react against him! Unbelievable. The voters are leaving Barack Obama in droves from the carefully nurtured and crafted center (the playing field), that he made piece by piece, because of a combined hot atom mixture of he not performing for us when we wanted. When it counted. And he knows it. And we know it. It's all part of putting down those rails in the wilderness and not knowing what is around the next bend and he's ready to do it, and we're suddenly not so sure. We just may resort to the carpetbagger, the salesmen, the slick conman (and he makes a great speech but remains a sleaze bag and conman, Bill Clinton), the CEO empty-suited who will get just enough done for the middle class, status quo, while the unknowns, mysterious and poor die.

Barack Obama blew it big-time for the world in one debate. I thought he performed just fine with Q & A, but he didn't come down off his pedestal far enough so the smug, the hurt, the ruinous, and his slip was showing. Lenny Bruce would have shrugged it off with a "That? You mean that? Oh don't worry about that" and got it all revived within seconds on an athlete's pivot foot and steered the train back onto its rails. Barack Obama's hard-earned, uphill battle achievements in many of the swing states was once upon a time (as soon as last September) built on slow momentum and belief, assisted by millions of workers who all still have a little bit of dream in them, going against a 'screw-these-dreams let's get down to basics' opponent. It's all about money not dreams. It's all about slick not substance. It's all about a populace rising out of its junk food and junk cultured diet and crying toward and into a wilderness, where rails have gone.

[BA, Oct 12, '12]

photo: nytimes
*I'd liked him to stay where he is for the rest of my life


Luster said...


The single best piece on Barack Obama I've ever read. I mean that. Gave me some of the same emotion I got when I recently rewatched Jonathon Demme's Jimmy Carter film, The Man from Plains. What a sad sick slide we've been on since 1980.

stay close,

Bob Arnold / Longhouse said...

Ever thanks, Mike,
and I wish none of it were true ie., Carter to Barack Obama,but here we are.

My hope, and not like my life or any of our lives depended on it, but it would be a good day if Barack Obama was re-elected and allowed to carry out his duties — since, unlike most, this man clearly has a mission and a sense of obligation for some goodness.

The alternative spells disaster for land, animal and all walks of man. That's all! We've been there twice in recent memory and have barely survived. If we go a third and fatal time, take a good hard look at the populace, I'm sorry to say.

all's well, Bob

Anonymous said...

I couldn't hear the debate that night but a dear friend who listened to it on radio said that the president answered each question thoroughly; that it was apparent through the ear that his responses were substantive. Sharing your words on our president, with admiration for both of you. Donna

Bob Arnold / Longhouse said...

Ever thanks, Donna, for sharing the message.

Maybe we'll see you for a mug of tea before snow flies?

as ever, Bob

Anonymous said...

Hi Bob,

I agree with Mike - this piece is great - it gives substance to my thoughts. Do your essays ever make their way to mass publication so others can appreciate your writing? I thought "IT" was masterful too.

Cheers, e

Anonymous said...

Must, we must! That would make winter durable and endurable. Any flakes where you are yet? None here.

Bob Arnold / Longhouse said...

Just a few flakes in the air one morning that went and hid, melted before the ground.

The way we prefer October.

all's well, Donna


Bob Arnold / Longhouse said...


Somehow I missed you! And inches from me. (full disclosure: Edie lives with Kathy just south of Susan and Bob — we visit each other with emails, comments on the Birdhouse, hand waves when passing, my chalkies on the roadside chalkboard which they both enjoy, their temple-like gong bell at their home letting us know — since they are very quiet — someone is home, and most recently a cup of tea and a visit there. Plus a visit into their beautiful apron design business, which I'll speak to more later).

Glad the Barack Obama piece reached you, like it reached Mike. No, I don't move these essays any further than the Birdhouse. I share — and by the company I keep — they share.

And "they", like you, are great.

all's well, Bob