You are here
Home > Info Virus > Semantics >

Poetry of Barack Obama invokes MLK but pays true homage to Rod McKuen

Jesus what a bore! Remember when SNL lampooned Sarah Palin’s first prime time TV interview by reenacting it verbatim? They could do that with Obama’ humorless addresses, I think it would make great theater, but the joke’s already abysmally old. Maybe we need a drinking game where everyone paying close attention could drink the moment President Obama mouthed a phrase that wasn’t a cliche or platitude. Alright, not a drinking game.

At least George Bush punctuated his utterances with inanities, funny ones. We appreciate Sarah Palin for the same preposterous gaffs. Obama’s meaningless drone is similarly inane really, divorced from meaning but colorless.

I had to revisit Obama’s Mubarak-steps-down speech to see if there was anything there. His usual podium bedside manner now hits me like chloroform. I’m not sure if Obama’s tennis ball red-state blue-state head swings aren’t calculated to hypnotize, or if the vacuity of his bombast is the prescribed anesthetic.

At first I was going to reprint the speech with the cliches highlighted. I opted to simply reformat it like a poem, putting the carriage return after each cliched platitude. I’ve parenthesized phrases which in Star Trek or ER scripts are called tech-speak, expository details whose particularities are actually irrelevant.

I’ve neither added, nor subtracted from this official transcript. I can hardly believe it myself.

There are very few moments in our lives where we have the privilege to witness history taking place.

The people of Egypt have spoken.

Their voices have been heard.

And Egypt will never be the same.

(By stepping down, President Mubarak)

responded to the Egyptian people’s hunger for change.

but this is not the end of Egypt’s transition. It’s a beginning.

I’m sure there will be difficult days ahead and

many questions remain unanswered.

But I am confident that the people of Egypt can find the answers,

and do so peacefully, constructively, and in the spirit of unity

(that has defined these last few weeks, for Egyptians have made it clear that)

nothing less than genuine democracy will carry the day.

Well, that’s just the opening paragraph. Obama follows it with more expository blah blah blah. He begins by crediting the nonviolence to Egypt’s military, instead of the incredible restraint of the student protesters.

The military has served patriotically and responsibly as a caretaker to the state and will now have to ensure a transition that is credible in the eyes of the Egyptian people.

You’ll note Obama is advising the military on appearances — very likely his definition of “meaningful.” He continues by listing the demands of the Tahrir Square demonstrators, without crediting them, as if this list was his own.

That means protecting the rights of Egypt’s citizens, lifting the emergency law, revising the constitution and other laws to make this change irreversible, and laying out a clear path to elections that are fair and free.

And then it’s a return to platitudes, encapsulating the admonition that Egyptian forums must give access to secular, “pro-democracy,” pro-Zionist pro-globalist concerns.

Above all this transition must bring all of Egypt’s voices to the table for the spirit of peaceful protest and perseverance that the Egyptian people have shown can serve as a powerful wind at the back of this change.

While he has you almost gagging Obama counterattacks with something to blow your drink through your nose. Obama promises to be the kind of friend to the newly free Egyptians that only the day before was supporting their oppressor Mubarak, and promising there’s more help where that came from.

The United States will continue to be a friend and partner to Egypt. We stand ready to provide whatever assistance is necessary and asked for to pursue a credible transition to a democracy.

And back to cliches:

I’m also confident that the same ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit that the young people of Egypt have shown in recent days can be harnessed to create new opportunity, jobs and businesses that allow the extraordinary potential of this generation to take flight.

Isn’t this the same war-on-the Future speech he’s peddling to his domestic audience?

I know that a democratic Egypt can advance its role of responsible leadership not only in the region but around the world.

Oh you can read the rest for yourself. I’m bored.

Egypt has played a pivotal role in human history for over 6,000 years. But over the last few weeks the wheel of history turned at a blinding pace as the Egyptian people demanded their universal rights.

Alright, one more interruption. Below Obama describes watching events of the Egyptian Revolution, AS IF it was a shared American experience. The irony of course is that he watched it on Al Jazeera, while the rest of America could and did not. They would be at pains to draw the same sympathetic conclusions as he. Obama comes off quite the perceptive, humanitarian bastard.

We saw mothers and fathers carrying their children on their shoulders to show them what true freedom might look like. We saw young Egyptians say, for the first time in my life I really count. My voice is heard. Even though I’m only one person, this is the way real democracy works. We saw protestors chant… ‘We are peaceful, again and again.’

We saw a military that would not fire bullets at the people they were sworn to protect. And we saw doctors and nurses rushing into the streets to care for the wound. Volunteers checking protestors to ensure that they were unarmed. We saw people of faith praying together and chanting Muslims, Christians, we are one. And though we know the strains of faith divide too many in this world and no single event will close that chasm immediately, these scenes show us that we need not be defined by our differences. We can be defined by the common humanity that we share.?And, above all, we saw a new generation emerge, a generation that uses their own creativity and talent and technology to call for a government that represented their hopes and not their fears. A government that is responsive to their boundless aspirations. One Egyptian put it simply — most people have discovered in the last few days that they are worth something, and this cannot be taken away from them anymore. Ever.

This is the power of human dignity, and it can never be denied. Egyptians have inspired us, and they’ve done so by putting the eye to the idea that justice is best gained through violence. For in Egypt it was the moral force of nonviolence, not terrorism, not mindless killing, but nonviolence, moral force that bent the arc of history toward justice once more. And while the sights and sounds that we heard were entirely Egyptian, we can’t help but hear the echoes of history, echoes from Germans tearing down a wall, Indonesian students taking to the streets, Gandhi leading his people down the path justice. As Martin Luther King said in celebrating the birth of a new nation in Ghana while trying to perfect his own, there’s something in the soul that cries out for freedom.

Those were the cries that came from Tahrir square and the entire world has taken note. Today belongs to the people of Egypt, and the American people are moved by these scenes in Cairo and across Egypt because of who we are as a people and the kind of world that we want our children to grow up in. The word ‘Tahrir’ means liberation. It’s a word that speaks to that something in our souls that cries out for freedom. And forever more it will remind us of the Egyptian people, of what they did, of the things that they stood for, and how they changed their country and in doing so changed the world. Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Top