Befuddled by reality
By Joseph Randolph
President Barack Obama has made increasingly clear that his administration is prepared to demand of BP what BP has not yet done, namely, stop the flow of oil into the waters of the Gulf. This heuristic manner of the President reflects his war with reality, coupled with his faith that oil pressure should be as dutifully responsive to political pressure as ought BP. The President believes in miracles, but they are political miracles—not the miracles of ordinary human ingenuity. The harangue from the President is another lesson in sobriety for lower humans needing reminder of their place in the company of better placed stratospheric politicians.
Despite the insinuations of self-inflated politicians, many human difficulties are scarcely addressed by politics or money, though liberal politicians faithfully maintain strong belief in politics as nearly magical, that is, that the weight and influence of the political can overtake almost any recalcitrant or offending hill—most often by pontificating or dispensing money. Thus, as such politicians habitually and presumptuously dictate to the people, from this devious habit they assume they can also exercise the same privilege and power over nature that they have over people. Politics is about the consolidation of power after all, for them. From a conservative perspective, the consequence of this utopian faith is the wasted motion and money of believing that nearly everybody and everything can be remedied by sufficient political words or wallets.
The President and people sharing his fundamental political leanings therefore believe that the right (left) politicians are approaching omnipotence and as such—for the rest of us—these leaders appear terrifyingly close to deity. However, whereas it was said of Jesus that even the winds and seas obeyed Him on the Sea of Galilee, our President has yet to subjugate the oil in the Gulf. Nor has BP.
This is not an unfair comparison of the President or partisan criticism of his presumption of how politics and reality couple to one another. It is simply to say that the President presumes that by political lecturing or hectoring he can effect solution. In other words, real world science and real world engineering are not a significant part of his world. And despite the oceanic mile below where the spill gushes, when the spill is finally stopped, the President is apt to construe the fix as ultimately coming from Washington and not the engineering performed below the waters. Until then, he keeps the boot on BP's neck.
The naive but arrogant nature of the President's response to the problem in the Gulf shows how fundamentally political his grasp of reality really is, because in his world the politicians are in charge of the world, functioning as near pontiffs. No wonder the President thinks so little of entrepreneurs and the ingenuity of common ordinary Americans; in his mind they and their businesses need to be under the superintendence of political masters. From a conservative prospective, such utopian defaults, however, get caught in sand on their doubtful and dangerous journey to tomorrow's dreaded secular decalogue. The President, however, is not retreating from his political imagination and aspirations, but advancing on BP.
Even this politician cannot wave a political wand and make the oil stop—his faith in politics is still not strong enough for that. What he will accomplish by this episode is political gain because the oil is running, and oil is the enemy and BP cannot stop the President's enemy: though the President wishes in all his power that he could do what BP has not yet done. Meanwhile, the admiring citizen surmises there is no problem not benefitting from recourse to political action, because he has seen his President act that faith out. The President's faith has not produced a work, however; his faith in political dominance, failing him here, has sent him into some haranguing about the people trying to fix the problem. The onlooker, however, needs to get a grip on the real world and quit looking to the President and the befuddlement of the President that the oil does not obey him. The President might instead consider using some of his vitriolic words, now being heaped on oil and BP, on real world terrorists, like al-Qaida. The President, however, probably cannot imagine such a reality.
Joseph Randolph is an academic and writer living in Wisconsin. His 2010 book Debilitating Democracy: Power From The People, is available from Wasteland Press and Amazon as well as Barnes and Noble. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.