Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Doing the Obama…

October 8, 2008 by  
Filed under News, Weekly Columns

( At the height of rush hour, I’d patiently waited my turn. I was in the process of backing my car up to the gas pump, when a menacing black SUV the size of a tug boat quickly rolled in off the street and proceeded to defy fairness.

I kept backing up; the monster truck kept coming forward. When it was clear the driver wouldn’t relent, I turned off my engine and got out of my car.

From behind tinted glass came a WWF-sized man in green camouflage pants and shades, with tree trunks for arms. His physical stance begged for a rumble.

And so I went Obama on his ass.

“That’s one hell of a truck,” I said pensively, ignoring him and walking toward the gargantuan vehicle the way a prospective buyer admires a car at a dealership. “Man, look,” I said, “it’s going to take you a minute to fill up this truck. Back up just a bit so I can do my thing real quick, and you’ll already be in position to be next. And Please tell me you got a TV in here….”

The man, still silent, glared at me for a second. “I got TWO TVs,” he said, climbing back behind the wheel of the beast. He started the engine and backed up.

He didn’t know what hit him. Prepared for confrontation, diplomacy threw him for a loop.

I pumped my gas while he bent my ear about his truck. Privately, I gloated. I’d administered “The Obama“–not to be confused with the Heimlich Maneuver or the Boogaloo–and defused the conflict.

“Going Obama” on a person or situation is the act of dealing with a dilemma in a sensible and negotiable manner. A hallmark of The Obama is clear thinking and calm. The quiet might of The Obama is that it is always exactly what your opponent doesn’t expect from you.

Barack Obama didn’t invent The Obama. It is simply the act of common sense, patience and clear communication. However, during his campaign, Obama has made high art of the proverbial High Road, performing a masterful exhibition of mettle and dignity in the last place you’d expect to find it–the cesspool called American politics.

The Obama“–as seen on TV–is what happens when thoughtful contemplation meets skilled wartime-like strategy. Barack Obama’s opponents never seem to have anything to combat it.

In the beginning of Obama’s campaign, the public often mistook The Obama–not to be confused with Muhammad Ali’s Rope-a-dope–for passivity. He’s “soft,” his detractors claimed. The Obama, however, is not about taking anybody’s shit, but about getting THROUGH shit while being judged by a strain of double standard that makes a kangaroo court look like a sanctuary of fairness.

The Obama is the mental version of the nonviolent methods used by Gandhi and later by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., when you stand fearless as your destruction appears imminent. It’s emotional martial arts, where you use against your opponent his own strength–in the case of the McCain campaign, lies and venomous innuendo–consequently allowing them to choke on their own vomit.

A remarkable aspect of The Obama is that on the occasions when anger might be considered perfectly acceptable, you not only keep your cool, but come from an entirely different place that puts you ahead of the game.

Some of the Obama’s finest performances: When Obama had to defend his association with Reverend Wright. Who would have blamed Obama for disavowing the preacher? Instead, not only did he publicly embrace Wright, he put the onus for action back on the American people, urging us toward dialogue on the subject of race.

During his first debate with Senator McCain, Obama fans and pundits alike insisted that Obama’s agreeing with McCain on several points during the face-off made him appear weak. However, immediate post-debate polls of Obama’s victory indicated that viewers appreciated his ability to be big enough to agree with his opponent.

The Obama works in politics in the same way it works in the heat of dispute over a gas pump: it is reason in the midst of reckless emotion. That Republicans mock this quality of Obama’s says a lot about them; that they openly mock it before the American public–roll their eyes and make faces while talking about it–speaks volumes about what they think of us. They are hoping their nasty displays of oneupsmanship will appeal to the worst in us, that egocentric treachery will be seen as strength, instead of the weakness it reveals.

By the way, “The Obama” has nothing to do with race. That man at the gas pump was black. The Obama deflects ignorance and hasty judgment, period.

Granted, the next few days will be the most challenging yet for The Obama, not to be confused with being flattened by steamroller or slow, agonizing public death by stark embarrassment. But don’t fret: The Obama performs best when pitted against sheer, unmitigated bullshit–of which in the coming days there will be no shortage.

Written By Steven Ivory

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