Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Obama Guilty of Using First Person Singular

You'd think at the age of 40, nothing would surprise me anymore. You'd think that I'd be jaded to pretty much everything--even the techniques of Political Paranistas. You'd think I would have learned my lesson by now. I haven't.

On tonight's drive home, I thought I'd check in on the epicenter of paranoia and ignorance in today's America: talk radio. Why? Because Obama had given his school speech, and by now we all knew that it was just a good old-fashioned bully-pulpit performance on the benefits of staying in school and working hard. With nothing tangible to criticize, I wondered what the wingnuts would do. Would they acknowledge the egg on their face, would they move on to the next issue, or would they revert back to the "he's a socialist" playbook?

Nothing could have prepared me for what I heard.

When I turned to AM 1280, The "Patriot" (quotes added for irony), the talk radio host was saying that Obama had a definite theme in his speech. "In fact," he said. "Obama mentioned this theme 58 times in 18 minutes. So here it is, the edited Obama speech."

They then proceeded to play an edited version of the speech that consisted of starts and stops beginning with the word "I" or its possessive. "I'm glad to be here today..."; "I did things I'm not proud of..."; "My father left the family when I was two years old..."

Their point: The president is self-centered. Why else would he use the first person singular so often? That's right. Apparently when you've reached the office of President of the United States and are giving a speech to school children who are supposed to look at you as a role model, you are not allowed to share your personal experiences. That's right, a station that calls itself The Patriot thinks that the country's democratically elected President should not speak in the first person. That's right, they're either bat-shit crazy or they've abandoned the last atom of their shame.

The irony of all this is that Obama, more than any other presidential candidate in recent memory, won by constantly invoking the first person plural. His slogan was "Yes We Can," remember? He once said, "We are the people we've been waiting for." At one point in the campaign, he was criticized for not being human enough, for not relating enough of his own experiences. By contrast, George W. Bush began the first news conference after his reelection (by a margin far narrower than Obama's victory four years later) with the words: "I've earned some political capital here, and I intend to spend it."

Shameless. Desperate. Paranoid. Cynical. Take your pick, depending on what you think of the sincerity of such anti-thought. There are no parties in America right now. There are only rational people and irrational people. So 9/11ers and Birthers, I invite you to join with the newly formed FirstPersoners. Go ahead and put up your own candidate. Just do us all a favor and get off the radio.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yeah!!! Call it for what it is.

Vegas Gopher said...

I love the fact that the new spin from the right -- now that the speech has been proven as innocuous (and fortifying!) as a hot bowl of oatmeal -- is that it was their diligence and patriotic dissent that caused the White House to change the radical message the speech originally contained. Shameless.

Marc Conklin said...

The echo chamber is alive and well. A letter to the editor in today's Strib said the exact same thing. Next up: Obama guilty of breathing oxygen.