The Case for Pitying Obama


You’ve thought it, you’ll think it again, and in the coming year you are likely to hear it peeped through the conservative media regarding our president.

“I almost feel bad for the guy….”

Surely after this occurs to you, you’ll recognize the mistake:

“Wait, no. Screw him, I feel bad for us.”

So here’s the question: Is it cruel to hire or promote someone to a job they could never conceivably be qualified for? I haven’t taken a poll, but I will make a guess that a businessman who has to make hires and promotions would answer: Of course.

Say Doug applied for a job at Chevron to be a maintenance foreman on a Gulf rig (before the Green Jobs Era saved such people from having to have jobs). Doug has no work experience outside of, say, academe and political activism. Now Jerry, a big wheel at Chevron, hires Doug to the position, mostly because Doug is black and Jerry has never had an opportunity to hire a black man to a job of this stature.

Doug takes over the rig team, and in the space of a few short months puts in place a slew of inept, ill-considered and contradictory new plans (confounding and even terrifying the men who now work under him).

Soon, rig output has ground to crawl. Doug, who has no way of knowing what to do about this, continues operating along the same principles he has been.

More months pass, and the rig explodes. 25 people die.

Who is at fault?

Doug applied for the job, with an (obvious) misunderstanding of what it would require and (at best) a mis-inventory of the skills he possessed to meet those requirements. Importantly, however, it was not his responsibility to perceive this.

It was Jerry’s.

The lives destroyed are on Doug’s hands, of course, at least on grounds of pure hubris. Doug contributed to the deaths of 25 people by refusing to acknowledge his own incompetence.

Later, in court, conjecture will fly as to whether Doug’s political background and dyed-in-the-wool contempt for domestic energy production didn’t lead him to sabotage the operation in some way and so, indirectly, murder his associates.

For his part, Jerry is quick to unyoke Doug from a lot of this blame. Jerry hired Doug. Jerry not only feels wretched on account of the deaths, he also feels pangs of sympathy for Doug, who is now making his way through the court system and toward abjectitude: having every belief about his own intelligence, competence and unique calling ground to dust beneath the undeniable.

There’s no question whether Jerry is at fault, least of all to Jerry. Jerry will be fired and then extensively sued, if not prosecuted.

Hop back into the real world–

Jerry is us, or if you like, our culture. In a representative democracy, who we choose to elect represents who we are, on average or in sum–and what we are willing to acknowledge.

Obama made no real secret about what he was, because that wouldn’t have been possible. Supposedly many voters believed shrug-offs like, “That’s not the foul-mouthed, Jew-bating America-basher I knew–a long-time mentor who married Michelle and me and baptized our daughters(!!)”.

Enough Americans, anyway, were willing to believe this. And voted on that execrable basis.

Like everybody, I feel bad for our country for what Barrack is doing to it. And I feel a certain shame as the citizen of a great nation which did the unspeakable to itself.

I don’t feel bad for Barack, though I can’t deny what he represents.

For all the things you can blame on the President, you can’t blame him for reflecting our own corruption.

“Jerry,” in the above, experiences a true moral collapse when he makes a racist vote (in his case, naturally, there’s only one voter) in support of a demonstrably unsuitable candidate. “Doug” accepts a job with a high level of responsibility he’ll never be able to bear. Now he’s failing, and he’s hurting us.

What’s done is done. And Jerry, we, the backstop, failed.