copyright © 2009 Betsy L. Angert. BeThink.org
He is up. He is down! Thankfully, the opposition says, “Soon he will be out of favor and ultimately out of office!” If voters do not remove the renegade from his prestigious position, term limits certainly will do him in. Liberal loyalists assert; President Obama is not the problem. Congress is the cruel joke. It seems no matter the political persuasion, citizens of this country find someone to fault. Surely, societal ills are thrust upon the public by an outside force. Regardless, of whether the electorate places the onus on an individual, an industry, the nation’s Chief Executive, or other government officials, the oft-heard battle cry in the Age of America’s Unreason is someone else is to blame. The American people do not imagine themselves responsible for inertia.
This stark reality is perhaps most apparent in daily Presidential polls. The Commander-In-Chief has a single four-year term to prove himself competent. In truth, in the United States, the “first hundred days” determines how many minefields a President has managed to avoid. The second turn of the calendar indicator follows closely behind. If the Chief Executive has not proven himself golden in six months, his fate might be sealed. Witness the woeful popularity numbers the Press reports most fervently.
In the Information Era, within a matter of weeks, an amplified and somewhat shallow assessment of American speciousness was available for all to see. Periodicals and pundits alike announced, statistically speaking Mister Obama’s personal magnetism is no longer viable. His favorable numbers have fallen drastically. The American people are not swayed by speeches. Nor do the plans the President submits speak to the general public.
In Michigan, a locality which, for years, has been mired in a “one State recession” skepticism has never waned. While a bit more hopeful after the 2008 election, constituents from this Great Lakes region remained cautious. By mid-July it became apparent, Mister Obama’s every promise would be scrutinized. How could a population so severely depressed do much else.
By early August the raw data showed citizens countrywide were doubtful that Barack Obama was the correct choice. The public rated his job performance poor. National Public Radio reported the results of a nationwide survey. By then, it was obvious; that the honeymoon lasted less than six months. Indeed, it seemed, the registered voters, interviewed by a bipartisan panel, did not support the Administration’s plans. His policies were deemed a failure. A whopping forty-two percent of American’s stated they did not approve of Obama performance in office. Perchance, many anxious Americans in the Age of Unreason were ready for a divorce.
The stimulus package did not serve to satisfy the people in the areas of the country hardest hit by the economic downturn. Information that conflicts with raw rants does nothing to confirm slow yet substantive successes. For the more vocal masses, the Recovery plan offered no relief for the Middle Class. As the summer wanes, so too does support for the President. In the American Era of emotional Evaluations it appears, there is consensus. The Obama White House has not helped improve the economy. Countrywide, citizens clamor. Change has not come.
Chants, cheers and jeers are palpable “Candidate Obama’s commitments were only political ploys.” The latest polls illustrate, Independents and Republicans who once felt they could trust the Illinois Statesman, now believe he is no better than all the other politicians. Driven by emotional elucidations, Americans rationalize Presidents have an omnipotent power. The conventional wisdom is the people need only vote for a person with the Audacity to Hope. That person will inspire a nation to move mountains. He [or perhaps she] will make my life better. “Damn the torpedoes. Full speed ahead” is the rally cry during a political campaign.
However, sadly, during the post election season reality set in . Faith faded swiftly.
This angst is expressed as distress. Anyone in a position of power is thought to be a disappointment to persons whose pocketbooks are empty and by the affluent who now may earn a bit less than they would like to. The President of the United States, this time Barack Obama is thought to be responsible for all that is wrong with America.
Reactions, what we the people do as a result of what occurs, may reveal an irrationality all American’s possess. In this civilized country, personal attacks are the preferred means for engagement. Through film, theatre, and television, residents in urban and rural environs have been trained to seek quick answers. In these mediums, a story can be introduced, involve an audience, and offer a resolution, all within twenty-two  minutes.
Advertisers, more prevelant post World War II, understand that the medium is the message. A product can be sold within four  seconds. Anger can be generated just as quickly
The cost for immediate gratification and irritation is dear. Since the 1950s, credit has help to satiated urgent desires. Americans have been inured to habitually react. The population proclaims, “Do it now or do not do it at all.” “If you cannot turn down the heat, get out of our kitchen.”
As is characteristic in the Age of Unreason, if there is a perceived problem, the President, Congress, City Hall, or whoever might be deemed liable for the public’s pain, will receive the brunt of an American’s wrath.
One might hear the calls wherever he or she may live. Many amongst the electorate anxiously await the day voters will be able to once again “Kick the bums out.” Republicans may rage. Independents become more impatient.
Progressive persons propose that the lack of follow through is not the fault of Barack Obama. Individuals who still wish to believe that they are Organizing For America place the onus on Congress. Their rant, “Representatives in each political Party are the problem.” Independents, Republicans, and those who lean Left have reached in accord; “Invoke term limits,” they shout.
Accepted American adages in these less than reflective times are a constant. Turn on the television and hear, “If you cannot get with the program, then, get the Hades out.” Stand on a street corner and listen; “You are either with us or against us.” Stroll down the avenue and someone will screech, “Move on” or be mowed over. In the States, there is no patience for a slow progression. Ignorance, lack of full knowledge, and unawareness can lead to actions born in haste. People in the United States have no time to waste. Attention spans are very short in the Age of Unreason. In this nation, the blame game is popular, more so than the President, elected Representatives, proposed plans and public policy.
Thus we see the repeated tallies. As the two-hundred day term ends, the number of dissatisfied Americans rise. The President’s standing falls. Fault is easily found; that is everyone is to blame for what ails this country, except the unreasonable citizens who wait for someone else to fix what the people choose to let stand.
Again and again, the American people do not think they are responsible for the nation’s inertia. Only others are onerous. Thus, he is up. He is down, and the people are one more time out of luck.
Please ponder the video presentation; American Failure in Education, Reason – Moyers, Susan Jacoby, or peruse the transcripts, The Age of American Unreason. Please reflect on responsibility. If you would, contemplate the reality; the President, prominent persons in Congress, paid Lobbyists, and persuasive corporations do not have the power that the people possess. If only the public truly chose to be the change they wish to see.
References for Unreason . . .
- Obama’s ‘Renegade’ Campaign For The Presidency. Talk of the Nation. June 10, 2009
- Daily Presidential Tracking Polls. Rasmussen Reports. August 5, 2009
- America closes the book on intelligence, By Laura Miller. Salon. February 15, 2008
- Is Race for Governor More About Obama? Some Voters Who Backed President Disillusioned Over Economic Pledges. By Sandhya Somashekhar. Washington Post. Wednesday, August 5, 2009
- Obama’s New Tack: Blaming Bush, President Points to ‘Inherited’ Economy. By Scott Wilson. Washington Post. Saturday, March 14, 2009; Page A01
- Obama, the healthcare Riddler, Why is the president suddenly so afraid of a single-payer solution to America’s healthcare crisis? By David Sirota. Salon. May 16, 2009
- Obama’s Approval Drops To 50 Percent. Quinnipiac University National Poll Finds; Half Say President Acted ‘Stupidly’ In Race Dispute. Quinnipiac University National Poll. August 6, 2009
- Obama’s poll numbers dive bomb toward Earth, By Jimmy Orr. Christian Science Monitor. August 6, 2009
- Audacity to Hope. By Barack Obama. The New York Times. October 17, 2006
- What Do Poll Numbers Really Mean for Obama?, Dan Balz. The Washington Post. July 30, 2009
- The 44th President’s First Hundred Days. Cable News Network.
- Second 100 days. Cable News Network.
- Obama’s Approval Drops In Ohio, Critical Swing State, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; 2010 Senate Race Tips Slightly To Democrats. Quinnipiac University July 7, 2009
- Poll: Obama inspires, but some question toughness. Cable News network. July 9, 2009
- AP Derails GOP Spin On Stimulus Jobs, By Matt Apuzo. Huffington Post. July 10, 2009
- Have the Stimulus Programs Failed? By Gary Burtless. Brookings Institute. August 4, 2009
- Credit Cards at 50: The Problems of Ubiquity. The New York Times. March 12, 2000
- Advertising History Timeline. A 295-year synopsis of the most important events in American Advertising, 1704 to 1999. advertising Age.
- In a Cluttered Mediaverse, Some Ads Stand Out, By Elizabeth Blair. All Things Considered. May 22, 2007
- The Age of American Unreason, By Susan Jacoby
- The Age of American Unreason. Bill Moyers Interview. Public Broadcasting Services. March 2008
- American Failure in Education, Reason – Moyers, Susan Jacoby