A lot of folks remained disenchanted with Obama after the State of the Union address, but I thought he got as direct with the obstructionists in Congress and the Supreme Court as any president ever could in a public forum. He cannot rip every turd in the chamber a brand new progressive asshole since one of his stated objectives is to raise the tone of political discourse in this country.
When you're teaching little kids how to behave, you have to model the behaviors you expect from them. For example, you don't convince a kid who just smacked somebody that hitting is bad behavior by spanking the kid. You show the child how to use words instead of his/her body to make a point. Granted, there are lots of kids who need stronger methods of convincing - which brings us to the Question and Answer session between Republicans and the POTUS at the Republican Retreat in Baltimore yesterday afternoon. It was widely televised, but Fox News cut away in the middle of the session since Obama was making monkeys out of the Republicans. Naturally, I got my news from Rachel Maddow and AlterNet.
My favorite part was when Obama pointed out that half the representatives in the room had been to ribbon cutting ceremonies to claim credit for projects that brought jobs to their constituents through the very stimulus package they voted against. He also told them that they have boxed themselves into a corner by acting like Health Care reform was a Bolshevik plot when, in fact, Bob Dole presented many ideas in the package. If you insist on telling your constituents that Obama is trying to ruin America, it makes it hard to work with him without demonizing your own self.
When Obama first got elected and then at the inauguration, I was most impressed by his ability to overcome obstacles and get where he wanted be. Maybe he's the kind of person he wants to be, too. If, as Martin Luther King, Jr dreamed, we are judged on the content of our character, we need to pay attention to what our character says to others.
Obama's character, and what he has accomplished, inspires me to take on tough challenges that disturb the peace in my own happy little world. I first noticed the change in me back at Firestarter Academy, my old school where my assistant, the fennel breathing dragon, was so careless and clueless that she allowed a quart of melted wax ignite on a hot plate. Trouble ensued and I was eventually fired - but I was satisfied because, really, if you're going to be snarky about your boss and co-worker on a blog, you might as well be so snarky you get fired for it.
I maintain, however, that if you don't like the way you find yourself portrayed in an obscure little blog in the far reaches of the Internet, then you need to consider those aspects of your character which prompted the portrayal in the first place. In other words: If you don't want to look like an asshole, then don't act like an asshole.
I have also maintained that everyone acts like an asshole occasionally. Someone who acts like a jerk, then accepts responsibility for his/her behavior and responds accordingly is a normal human. If somebody won't even acknowledge his behavior or blames others, that's an Ass-Whole.
Woody came up with the term Ass-Whole to describe characters who act like Complete Assholes. There are plenty of ass-wholes causing problems in every neighborhood in the land, and we find them on the national scale all the time. We are surrounded by Ass-Wholes great and small.
Goldman Sachs is so aware of the outrage in America over executive compensation that they hired bomb sniffing dogs to patrol the corporate perimeter in preparation for announcing fourth quarter earnings and compensation (Huffpo, January 22, 2010). They recognize that an entire society condemns their behavior, but they still took the cash because they are Ass-Wholes. It never occurs to Ass-Wholes that complaints about them are legitimate or that their behavior should be changed.
It's impossilbe to fight institutionalized Ass-Wholery alone. Maybe there will really be a national day of progressive demonstrations on July 4, 2010 like the one proposed by Rabbi Arthur Waskow to Howard Zinn the day before he died. For the moment, I'm wondering how we can expect to have an impact on the ass-wholes who are screwing up society if we walk away from the ass-wholes in our own lives.
Given that these ass-wholes all resist accountability on every level, we often throw up our hands and surrender. Many times, it probably is better for our own peace of mind to swallow the indignity and resentment, chalk an episode up to experience and move on. There will be instances, however, when we have to stand and fight to preserve our own integrity.
The Ass-Whole in my own life is that blogstalking ex-boyfriend who won't talk to me. The one who worked for that blowhard Jim Cramer. The one who managed to rack up several pages of Google references to his Adult Dating screen name, Bluestar727 (Light, Shadow and Internet Porn, Stonerdate 07.25.09). Note the sadly identifiable soul patch in a promotional photo (above) and his Passion.com profile pic (below) both of which were easily retrieved from the Internet. He may have shaved it, though, on account of his new book unless he's planning to write Facial Hair For Dummies. Working with the Banksters, sporting a soul patch and lying about his age on Adult Friend Finder does not make him an ass-whole. He has steadfastly refused to accept responsibility for his behavior. I always figured the Bluestar727 business was simply mid-life crisis foolishness, but the blogstalking bothered me. I sent a number of respectful emails and left voicemails seeking an explanation without success. I half believed his lurking was cute, as if we were playing internet hide and seek, but I was sincerely attached to the man. It's hard to tell the difference between a normal human who is acting like an asshole and an Ass-Whole when you've got a soft spot for somebody.
Getting through to an Ass-Whole is tricky until you accept that the person you're dealing with is not a normal human. It's sort of like dealing with a kid. You start out with acceptance and understanding, but when that fails, you have to demonstrate that there are consequences to their actions. There is always hope that a kid will learn how to treat people. With an adult, you have to accept that s/he is proud to be an Ass-Whole and protect yourself.
I suspect that on some level he wanted to be reprimanded for the The Bluestar Trail. He may have been writing about Mutual Funds, ETFs and Dividend Stocks for websites, but even Dummies know that over the long run anything you put on the Internet is waiting to bite you in the ass. He spent so much time pouring over the blog from a carrel in the library and so much effort into ignoring my emails that I concluded the only way to hold him accountable was to "out" him. Maybe I am simply falling back into my role as a Narcissistic Supply Source by giving him more attention, but I require a resolution to this conflict to restore balance and move on.
We need a resolution to the class war in this country, too. All the shouting from both sides is harshing my mellow. If there is a national progressive demonstration it's not the president's job to lead it. It's his role to welcome us when we come to Washington - or at least when we send money for some young people to flood Washington. I'd find a pitch fork and march down to Wall Street, though. Maybe a bunch of Menopausal Stoners in French Revolution costumes can pull around a little replica of a guillotine in a populist parade through the financial district. I swear I won't get high and throw tomatoes at banksters.
Topics: Library Carrel, Dividend Stocks, Dummies, Narcissists for the Long Run
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