Agam's Gecko
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
President Obama
President Obama. At least it was the index finger this time.

he peaceful transition of leadership in the United States -- or as his followers like to think of it, the Dawning of the Age of Obama -- was a remarkable spectacle someone like myself, who watched from afar. The incoming leader has been shown a great amount of goodwill from all quarters, while the outgoing leader was shown... well, not so much class from many of those quarters.

President Bush's send-off got going in earnest with his last visit to one of the world's newer democracies, Iraq. An Iraqi journalist, keen to demonstrate the marked difference between his current government and the living nightmare under Saddam's rule, demonstrated his wish to have the dead old dictator back in charge again by hurling his shoes at the visiting head of state / liberator of his country. Naturally, had his wish been true, he would have certainly been executed on the spot. President Bush just laughed it off, to his credit.

A group of Code Pink activists later ambushed the Iraqi ambassador in Washington, hoping to glorify their hero / loafer-tosser, but instead Samir Sumaida’ie offered them a lesson in civility. The lesson failed to register, and shoe-tossing quickly became the favourite pastime for the American Left, while waiting patiently for the Great Obamic Convergence. Many similar events were scheduled in the run-up to the big day -- with a major shoe-toss organised for Inauguration Morning in the nation's capital.

Chesty McCheesecake
Tiger Beat Prez.
Image: Darleen Click
The Tiger Beat media remained smitten with the charismatic One, dutifully reporting the full ingredients of every meal which he was known to partake, including how many grains were contained in the bread with which his sandwiches were created. They drooled over "Chesty McCheesecake" emerging from the gym, and reams were written about his picturesque pecs. This was certainly fanboy territory we were getting into, but no matter. Media shame is so last century, it seems. Those with longer than two week memories might recall that when Bush worked out, it was creepy, but Obama? A godling! Whereas Dubya was just weird for keeping fit, Bam was Buff. There must be a decoder ring for this stuff, but I just don't know where to find one.

"Uber cool" at the Semper Fit gym on Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kailua, Hawaii December 27, 2008.
Photo: REUTERS / Hugh Gentry
Then came the sight of the new leader of the free world emerging from a bodywork session inna homie-thug stylee, and flashing his coolness with a Hawai'ian "shaka" gesture. Did I say "coolness"? Sorry. Reuters, with its vast legion of fact-checkers, corrects me. It was actually "uber-cool."
The president-elect, looking uber-cool with his White Sox baseball cap on backwards, flipped the shaka to a crowd of about 30 people as he left a gym on a Marine Corps base on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, where he is vacationing.
I must have missed it when they lowered the age of registered professional journalists to 13. Oh well.

The Left is in deep puppy love, and it may take some time for them to adjust to the New Patriotism. Now, suddenly and unexpectedly, it was cool to wave the stars and stripes. The cognitive dissonance is only just beginning. Funny how some folks' patriotism depends on who the president is, but they'll need to work that out for themselves.

There were likely a few more episodes of cognitive dissonance when it was reported that the Tibetan spiritual leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, revealed that he had made a very quick and personal connection with President Bush, noting that it normally takes longer to establish such a relationship. The Tibetan leader even revealed that he loved President Bush and recognised him as a good an honourable man, while disagreeing with some of his policies. The great man of peace also had a lesson to pass on regarding the current worldwide movement of jihad terrorists, stating that in his view, ahimsa (non-violence) will not work with them.
"It is difficult to deal with terrorism through non-violence. They (terrorists) are very brilliant and educated...but a strong ill feeling is bred in them. Their minds are closed."
It would be great if his statement could make it more acceptable for people to accept this evident truth. Surely it will help some who wouldn't accept it from most other sources.

Funnily enough, this story was not carried by American media outlets, only in the Indian newspapers. Had His Holiness said that he loves Obama, I wonder what would have happened then? Front page of the New York Times, no doubt.

Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel shows some class on the morning of the dawning of the etc.
Photo: REUTERS / Jim Young
The day of the dawning of the new age arrived at last. George and Laura were the epitome of class right through to their farewell moment. Followers of The One, not so much. Substantial booing was hurled their way as the Bushes appeared on the podium...

Alright, I understand that the effects of Bush Derangement Syndrome will take some time to dissipate, but Laura? What sane citizen believes it necessary to catcall Laura Bush? I've heard reports that many among the throng tried to "shush" the creeps at such an important national moment, but kids will be kids. I finally understand what the Left means when they say they want to create a classless society.

For the past eight years, "dissent is the highest form of patriotism," or so they said. For the next four (or eight) years, will dissent be the "highest form of racism?" That one remains to be seen.

Presidential protection
Ashley Faulkner is comforted by President Bush during his visit to Lebanon, Ohio, May 4, 2004. Click the picture for the full story.
Photo: Lynn Faulkner
This is how I will remember President Bush, one of the iconic photos of his presidency. Coincidentally, it was not taken by a member of the media, but by the girl's father. Her mother was killed in the September 11 attacks, in the South Tower of WTC.

Here is a good man of integrity, who dodged a shoe but never dodged his responsibilities. One can disagree with his decisions as much as one wants, but it will never be said that he made those decisions to make himself popular. He made them, as far as humanly possible, to do what was right and fulfil his responsibility to protect his country. That he did, and all the deranged catcalls to the contrary are mere fluff.

President Obama's inauguration speech seems to have been generally judged to have been good, but underwhelming. That's the problem with impossibly high expectations. He might have gone with fewer clichés of the "rising tide... still waters... gathering clouds... and raging storms" variety. But the following passage did not underwhelm me in the least.
We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense. And for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken -- you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you. (Applause.)
Some heads may have exploded across the land at the powerful delivery of those strong words, which easily could have been uttered by the outgoing Commander in Chief. So there's that, anyway.

Hollywood celebs played their role in coaxing the TBM (Tanning Bed Media becomes Tiger Beat Media) to "get on board, there's a train a comin'," though much coaxing wasn't really necessary. I saw enough fawning, just on CNN in a couple of weeks, to last any president a lifetime. Barack's Information Ministry is well established for the foreseeable future. But those celebrities... aren't they cute? "I pledge... to be a servant to our President Barack Obama..." Really? And you're planning to be a better mother, a nicer person, kinder to strangers, etc. just for Barack? You couldn't have done any of these things when the other guy was president?

OK, I guess not then. Almost as funny (but not quite, even though intentional) is the parody celebrity pledge video. For such exceedingly aware people, I wonder why they don't see how ridiculous it all is. Iowahawk the Great has a knee-slapping take on the whole pledge thing, on the wonderful new Big Hollywood site.

Ridcule comes in many flavours though, and none more inadvertently trenchant than the latest must-have Obama product (among the thousands) -- Pocket Obama, the Little Blue Book of Quotations. Did they run this by the estate of Chairman Mao for possible intellectual / conceptual property infringement?
It is an unofficial requirement for every citizen to own, to read, and to carry this book at all times.
Chilling, in a funny sort of way. Chairman MaoBama? He must be getting creeped out himself by some of this stuff. I hope.

Just wait until the words are changed for tune heralding a presidential arrival, from the traditional "Hail to the Chief" to "Hail to the Chia." I'm not joking, take a look. Can you grow one of your own? Yes you can!

Best wishes to President Obama. May you govern with wisdom (not reign, as some of your followers must yet learn). You've had a week to be fully exposed to the realities you (and we all) face, and will hopefully come to see your predecessor in a more understanding light. The "I won" retort to critics, and picking fights with radio personalities, is far beneath your station -- and there is nothing on this earth that is "above your pay grade" anymore. Good luck.


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