Op-Eds Speaking Truth to the Powers-That-Be
After President Obama’s performance, topping lion-tamer Gunther-Gebel-Williams at the GOP retreat last week, maybe it is time to trump keynote speaker Sarah Palin with a visit to the mad Tea Party.
Mr. Obama is the master of the unexpected. If you walk the walk down the middle of the political road, what better way to address your harshest critics than to address your harshest critics.
If the President can go toe-to-toe with John Boehner, the tea baggers are like multiplying him about 15,000 times.
Safety might be a big concern for the Secret Service. After all, the only thing that Republican Congressmen want to stick in Mr. Obama’s back are dug-in heels.
The move has historically always been good politics. Whether you call them tea baggers, plebians, the proletariat, peasants, or just the hoi polloi, at some point leaders of civilized societies stand before their detractors and hear them out.
We know that Mr. Obama can think on his feet without a teleprompter. We know that he is unflappable even when he got his share of barbs tossed his way on the campaign trail.
What the reactionary right needs is a foil, a bogeyman, someone to coalesce their various agendas around. The President has the opportunity, if he offers, to either diffuse much of what non-racial agenda flows amongst the sign-toting commons. He will not be able to change his skin color, the lament of many of the Fox-frightened white folk out there, but on other subjects, and to the whole “movement” in general, he could deliver a very effective message.
If they do not allow him to come, it destroys the movement’s political credibility. It could be easily argued that their unwillingness to hear out someone of opposing viewpoint is historically un-American, and emblematic of the President’s observation last week to the GOP that turning their back on agenda that they have endorsed in the past on all fronts, just for the purpose of stonewalling in a vain attempt to regain power, disenfranchises the very people who put them into office because it removes their voice in public policy and discourse.
Should they let the President of the United States speak to their assembly, though, it will have a profound impact. Granted, most of the people attending, from the birthers to the insurance-lobby-stampeded, have a shell of blissful ignorance that is unlikely to move off of center much. Some might see a little reason, but, more importantly, such a visit, or even the offer to visit, conveys the very anti-Bush thought that our national leaders should have no fear of a discourse with their most vocal critics.
Mr. Obama is unique in modern political history, and possibly one of a handful of leaders in world history, in that his pattern of engagement with the opposition is not hostile, or dismissive, as a Reagan, Nixon, or Clinton might have been with their critics. The President has demonstrated the open-hand of a man who wants to bring change to a world that is perpetually driven by fear, uncertainty, doubt, and grubbing self-interest.
The irony is that he has demonstrated the most Christian behavior to alleged Christians who are not interested in the common good, or wanting all of our citizens cared for, but in the maintenance of a white-dominant patrician culture to which they seem to think, from the porches of their single-wides and row-house stoops, they seem to have the God-given right to belong, at the expense of anyone of color, of different birth, or different political or social agenda.
The message that goes out by way of the media show to the majority of Americans, the calmer, more reasonable center, is that the President is confident enough in his agenda that he is willing to hear out his worst detractors, and have a dialogue with them, even if they spend half of the time trying to get him to pull his laminated birth certificate out of his wallet.
To be Alice for a day at the Mad Tea Party would be a great use of the President’s time.
My shiny two.