Thursday, November 13, 2008

Neo Log Cabins

Jump down, turn around
pick a bale of cotton

Jump down, turn around

pick a bale a day

--Pick a Bale of Cotton
, traditional

You load sixteen tons, what do you get

Another day older and deeper in debt

Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go

I owe my soul to the company store

--Sixteen Tons
, Tennessee Ernie Ford

This graphic is typical: Obama strikes a penitential pose before Abraham Lincoln, who looks beneficently down upon his Mini-Me version. The construction is, Obama is forged from his hand and ready to do his bidding. Of course, Obama's family was never enslaved in America (though Muslim slavers were working tribal warfare in Kenya in the 18th century.) But this is press mythologizing, 2008-style.

We do not know what the next President can or intends to accomplish. At this point, all is rhetoric and supposition. Certainly human trafficking, bondage and sex slavery are problems worldwide, if the implication of an affinity between Obama and Lincoln is that Obama will somehow free oppressed groups. But that is certainly not his primary duty, and the dismal issue of general human bondage is secondary to the actual human bondage of our own making we shall have to confront as a fallout to the Phony War on Terror (PWOT ©).

We are looking at the dialectic between the president-elect and the media, as it is between the two that the country will receive its action reports.

At this point, the hagiography of Obama prevails. Thomas Friedman speaks of Obama's "childhood of poverty" (Show Me the Money) and several pieces attempt to conflate Obama with Abraham Lincoln. A look at the facts versus the construction is helpful.
It is unclear why the Lincoln correlate is being fronted.

Yes, Obama's father left after his first year and did not send child support. Obama's mother used Food Stamps for several years during Obama's infancy, when she dropped out of college in order to raise him (later returning to school when he was four.) During this time, she had the assistance of her parents, as well.

His mother later married an Indonesian man and brought Obama to Indonesia, where he attended a private school (madrassa). The story goes that he chose to return to Hawaii, where his grandparents proceeded to raise him, and during which time he attended a private Catholic school.

Fast forward to today, where Obama's children currently attend a private school in the chic Chicago suburb of Hyde Park. As writer Clarence Page says, it is unlikely Obama will begin the public school experience anytime soon (Obama's Private School Shopping Goes Public.)

His wife, Michelle, recently looked at new schools for her children -- two private D.C. academies. The last president to place his child in a D.C. public school was Jimmy Carter, and it seems unlikely that the Obama's will follow in his footsteps. As an aside, it is interesting that Obama does not favor tuition vouchers, which would allow poorer students to attend private schools.

The overlay of the "Log Cabin" mystique seems misplaced. Mr. Obama Sr. may have been a goat herder, but he was funded through an initiative signed by President Kennedy to be educated in some fine institutions of higher learning in this country. The portrayal of Obama as rising from a scene of abject poverty does not seem correct.

Ranger grew up in poverty, the son of a coal miner in rural Western Pennsylvania.
That experience was dismal: one lived in company houses and shopped in company stores. If his mother had access to food stamps, the nutrition would have been better.

It was a typical immigrant experience. His grandparents emigrated from Czechoslovakia to become coal miners in Southwestern Pennsylvania. His father followed his father into the mines. No one paid to airlift his grandfather to America, nor paid his way through school. That was gained through the largess of Uncle Sam's ROTC program.

We will not get hard truths through honeymoon glasses. We are ready for some facts, untainted by the swoon of enamored writers.

Of course, it is brilliant propaganda, hailing as Senator Obama does from the Land of Lincoln.

--Jim and Lisa

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Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

yeah. shit ranger, obama didn't come from the upper class suburbs of chicago like clinton did. he damn sure wasn't a flag officer's baby boy and grandson.

still, hawaii ain't the rez i grew up on. i doubt he ever got yelled at for wearing shoes on a cold morning because we were supposed to save them the wear and tear of walking until we got to school. then, we'd put our shoes on.

i know food stamps though. one of our best days of the month was when the indian commodities were delivered. boxes of food!

sometimes my son gigs me for the old rez habits i show on a hunt. unless i think about it, i only take three shells. when i have three birds (or whatever) i come back. dress them, get me three more shells. the kid's never had to worry about the beating that would ensue if he took three shells and brought back two birds. that's a good thing. the worst he's had to endure was a disdainful look from a dog that was ready to retrieve.

thing is though, while mcCain was busy trying to remember how many houses he owns, and how many cars he has, obama and michelle were busy retiring student loans, which they still owe on, and socking away money for their children's education.

that's cool. my biggest expense over the last eight years has been my daughter's college and medical school bills. i didn't want her coming out of college and saddled with debt so i willing, no, fucking gladly paid the ever increasing tuition bills, and other expenses.

yeah, he didn't have it horrible bad. but it was no lace curtain existence. he knows well from his time at columbia and harvard what the trust fund babies existence is like. he also knows it wasn't his.

i would love to be able to let my daughter drive him around the rez today. there are still many of the same scenes. breathtaking natural beauty, right up against crushing poverty and hopelessness. jesse jackson came once during the sixties. it was judged to be too dangerous for dr. king to come, hundreds of miles of angry rednecks to get through and shit. jesse came. so did bobby kennedy. he thought he had seen some shit in west virginia, none of that prepared him for the rez.

jesse and bobby both cried when they were talking about what they had seen "out there."

Thursday, November 13, 2008 at 4:26:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger BadTux said...

Actually, MB, Obama retired the last of his student loans in 2005 when he got the advance for his book The Audacity of Hope (published the next year). But the fact remains that he was no legacy kid with his way paid through college. Yes, he did not come from crushing poverty. But the fact of the matter is that nobody who comes from crushing poverty would have the social skills to be President of the United States. We tend to be a bit more... hmm. Direct? Undiplomatic? Action-oriented for a definition of "action" that is not acceptable in polite society? Heh.

Thursday, November 13, 2008 at 6:01:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

yeah tux. i managed to learn which fork to use and shit, thing is, i tend to use them to make arrogant assholes at the table with me very uncomfortable. . .often bleeding.

as my kids are fond of saying

dude (yes, they call me dude) went fucking tribal on his ass.

Thursday, November 13, 2008 at 7:15:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Ghost Dansing said...

he can't possibly do any worse than Dubya....... this Republican administration has set a new standard for abject failure in every area foreign and domestic.......
plus, Obama is a Democrat, which is a good thing. so at least we have someone from a Party that thinks government should perform a function other than acting as a conduit for public monies into corporate profit margins from which is "trickles down"...... or not.

Thursday, November 13, 2008 at 8:36:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

ghost dansing,

There is little question that he would be worse than Dubya; that is not possible. Our comments are not aimed at the candidate. Rather, the way in which the press is depicting him. Presuming there are no sweetheart deals here, our comments do not pertain to Obama at all.

The curiosity is the Obama mythologizing. W tried to create his own fantasy by dressing up and landing on the carrier. Obama's hagiography appears to be imposed from the outside.

Of course, by writing his biographies, he has contributed intentionally or not to the idea of canonization.

Thursday, November 13, 2008 at 9:19:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger The Mad Celt said...

What the fuck do social skills have to do with it? Pardon my lack of social skills. I tend to lead with my muzzle.

Friday, November 14, 2008 at 1:29:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

aside to mad celt:

dude, learn to lead with your left. lead with your muzzle, you end up needing rhinoplasty later on in life.

trust me, i found out the hard way.

Friday, November 14, 2008 at 1:57:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Let me cmt to you first.All of us in this little tribe need personnel on our flanks to keep us from being blindsided.As singlr riflemen we are doomed to failure.Let's keep our dispersion-distance and interval.Also 360 security.
Dale-listen to the Dude.!

Friday, November 14, 2008 at 10:57:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

As a young man I saw a lot of labor /management violence. During the Korean War the govt opposed organised labor. My parents only accepted commodities during the worst strikes.,they never wanted anything from the federal govt. My Dad , a WW2 vet NEVER went to the VA. NEVER.Further he never applied for Black Lung compensation from the fed govt.
We had a outhouse and one cold faucet in the house.No insulation.Tennis shoes in winter. No bath.Health care-not.Then in 56 the Repubs brought us prosperity, the mines closed and my father became labor in UAW shops in Cleveland.The difference was an indoor toilet. His education was 3rd grade.So it frosts my ass and balls to hear Obama was poor-BULLSHIT.He was so poor he didn't have to earn a GI Bill education- spare me the fucking tears about his education loans being paid off in 05.Too fucking bad-compare this to 10,000 seriously wounded who will not be able to do an education b/c of debilitating wounds.Let's keep some perspective here.
I didn't grow up in a log cabin-that would,ve been a step up. jim

Friday, November 14, 2008 at 11:10:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Pls remember that it takes a whole lot of social skills to be a serial killer.My belief is that both sk's and politicians are sociopaths and are brothers under the veneer. jim

Friday, November 14, 2008 at 11:12:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Ghost Dansing said...

now i got it Lisa.... i should use the dictionary more often. a nuanced point you two make:

hagiography (hāg'ē-ŏg'rə-fē, hā'jē-) Pronunciation Key
n. pl. hagiographies

Biography of saints.
A worshipful or idealizing biography.

Friday, November 14, 2008 at 4:21:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Right-on, ghost dansing. That's the point: No beatification 'til you've got two -- TWO -- bona fide miracle interventions (healings).

The man hasn't had his first day in office yet. C'mon. . . I mean, I'm not a yokel (sheesh). I'll sign on soon as I see the savior's image in toast, or something. . . I'm not an UNbeliever; just skeptical, meaning, watching with a critical eye.

Friday, November 14, 2008 at 5:41:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Old Dominion Blue said...

Lisa, yeah, skepticism but hopefully not cynicism. More, "I hope he does X", and less "oh god, he's just going to keep fucking us." We must have great expectations, but also hold Obama's feet to the fire to achieve those expectations.

They're very different things. I see one as inherently negative, and the other as willing to be persuaded to be positive.

Saturday, November 15, 2008 at 9:06:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Old Dom.,

Yes -- I said, "skeptic," not "cynic."

Saturday, November 15, 2008 at 1:26:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice composite. Well, they DO say Lincoln was part-Black.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008 at 7:29:00 AM GMT-5  

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