That Obama Speech, or, Expunging the Stupid Use of Words
Wow, that was sure some socialist speech Obama gave yesterday, huh? I went to pick up Athena from school, and all the kids marched out of building, singing “The Internationale” and clutching copies of the children’s illustrated edition of Das Kapital, distributed by smiling members of Young People’s Socialist League. Truly, it’s a new day in America, comrades!
Alternately, Obama gave a pleasant, platitudinous and largely bland speech exhorting the kids to, you know, stay in school and study hard and respect their teachers, and everyone who got all wound up that the President of the United States would have the gall to address the nation’s school children when he’s a socialist now looks like a complete jackass.
To be sure, they looked like complete jackasses before the speech, but now that the man’s actually done the deed, people feel more comfortable saying so. One wonders why they felt they had to wait; perhaps they were expecting this least spontaneous of all recent presidents to have the head of Eugene Debs erupt from his collarbone, take control of his body, and snatch and bloodily consume members of the audience while howling about the Pullman Strike. It did not happen, unless the live television cameras of the liberal media were somehow able to mask the gory sight of Obama Possessed By Undead Eugene Debs feasting on the tender young bodies of our nation’s youth. WHICH THEY MIGHT HAVE.
Seriously now, how much longer do any of us have to pretend that the sort of people bleating about Our Socialist President aren’t, in fact, ignorant as chicken, or mad as hatters, or as madly ignorant as chicken hatters? I’ve already noted that we’re well past the point where anyone still barfing up the “Obama is a Socialist” meme deserves a “tool” sign over their head; I propose we go further and call them morons. Because, at this point, if you’re still calling the man a “socialist,” that’s what you are. Want to call Obama a Democrat? Well, that’s what he is. Want to call him a liberal? It’s not out of line to do so, although I suspect he’s closer to what we’d call moderate these days. Want to call him a progressive? Actual progressives will argue the point with you, but if you’re on the right, anything left of John McCain counts as progessive, so, fine.
Call Obama a socialist? You’re a fucking moron.
You know who don’t think Obama is a socialist? Socialists, that’s who. “We know, of course, that Obama is not a socialist, and that he is not a radical,” wrote Dave McReynolds, in the pages of The Socialist, which, if you don’t know, is the magazine of the Socialist Party USA, and McReynolds a two-time presidential candidate for that party. Yes, I know, it’s wacky to rely in this matter on the assessment of someone who is both a socialist and a Socialist, rather than, say, someone belonging to a tribe of political thinkers whose understanding of socialism is so screwed up that many of them apparently can’t tell the difference between socialism and fascism. But you know what, I think I’m going to do that anyway. Words actually mean things, and despite persistent attempts by many on the right to make it so, “socialism” does not mean either “any government activity that is not a tax cut or an attempt to kill swarthy people with weapons” or “whatever it is Obama happens to be doing at the moment.”
Now, I may not be able to do anything about anyone else tolerating the “Obama is a socialist” canard elsewhere, but I can do something about it here. So: Henceforth, anyone who comes around here blathering about how Obama is a socialist (or any of its various cognates) is signaling to me that they’re either ignorant or a troll. If it’s the former, I may give them a small bit of leeway to learn their terms; if it’s the latter, however, well then. They run the risk of what I do to trolls, which is that I delete them for trolling, and make fun of them while I do it.
This is not to say that one is no longer allowed to criticize Obama or his policies here — really, please do. Nor is it to say one can’t speak of (or criticize) socialism here. But playing the “Obama = socialist” card is your sign to me that in fact, you’re not serious, nor are you interested in the exchange of ideas — what you’re interested in doing is crapping out an idiotic talking point that has no basis in reality, because someone who is either ignorant or deceiving told you so, and you feel you must further spread the ignorance. And you know what? I don’t have time for that right now.
So, Obama opponents, either find a better and more accurate way here to voice your opposition to the president and his policies than diving for the “socialist” button, or run the risk of being expunged for being a moron, and having me laugh at you while I do it. I’m tired of it, here and everywhere else, but especially here. Please, Obama opponents, be smarter. The nation, its president, its people and its discourse, deserve better.