President Obama spoke at a town hall meeting on Monday and responded to some disturbingly misguided questions with the steady patience of a school photographer at the Colonel Ritalin Academy for Sticky Toddlers.
One woman, Vera Hart, who identified herself as a CFO, a military veteran, and a mother, told the president: "I'm exhausted of defending you, defending your administration, defending the mantle of change that I voted for, and I'm deeply disappointed with where we are right now."
Now, I know that this woman isn't alone here. Millions of people share her exhaustion when it comes to defending Obama because the conservative movement in this country runs on an inexhaustible supply of spite, anger, and abstinence. If you're exhausted of defending Obama, it has less to do with him than it does the fact that you're probably arguing with a gaggle of tireless, jack-booted assclowns whose minds are so easily manipulated that they'll never even come close to finding the droids they're looking for.
Hart concluded her statement for the president with: "I have been told that I voted for a man who said he was going to change things in a meaningful way for the middle class. I'm one of those people. And I'm waiting, sir. I'm waiting. I still don't feel it yet."
And this right here is the bigger problem, America: Waiting. We are all waiting. Some people are waiting to hit the lottery. I'm waiting for the Nigerian rescue worker to wire me my money from the chain of for-profit orphanages I helped establish in suburban Abuja. And Americans now, more than ever, are waiting for meaningful change to explode all over their faces like a Doritos's pay-per-view revolution in true nacho cheese HD.
Vera, you sound like a strong woman, maybe you should be running for office instead of waiting for a savior. Change takes action, not waiting. Think of it like making brown rice. It takes 1 cup of Obama, but 2 ½ cups of you. And make sure you don't burn the change, then it gets stuck at the bottom, you gotta soak the pot, it's just a big mess...
Another member of the audience, Walter Rowan, had this insightful request of the president: "I need you to help us understand how you can regain the political center, because you're losing the war of sound bites. You're losing the media cycles."
Losing the war of sound bites...? Mmmm... Defeat never sounded so delicious.
Obama is the most intelligent president we are going to have for a long, long time if our addled citizenry's main concern is backing the winner of CNN's lunchtime poll:
Today's question: "Should the president invade Nebraska?" Now, the president has given no indication that he has any interest in doing this, but as journalists, it is our duty to ask the tough questions. You see there at the bottom of your screen, our up-to-the-minute poll results: 'Invade Nebraska?' a whopping 92% of you said 'aluminium' while only 6% of you thought 'puppies.' And the remaining 2% was trying to view porn at work.
A 30-year-old law school graduate, Ted Brassfield, told President Obama that he had hoped to pursue a career in public service -- like the president -- but could barely pay the interest on his student loans, let alone think of getting married or starting a family.
Ted, I'm going to share something that will change your life; apparently, they kept this from you in law school, so pay close attention:
You want to be in public service? You have huge student loan debts? Make sure your computer is on first here. Let's try googling the words "public service student loan" -- oh, lookit that, auto-complete to "public service loan forgiveness." That search will take you to this page: http://www.finaid.org/loans/publicservice.phtml which explains everything you need to know before you breed.
Ted, I'm sorry that someone put a gun to your head and demanded that you borrow money to go to law school. I know it's a scary situation, because feeling that barrel against my own temple had a lot to do with why I ended up choosing Brown over University of Detroit-Albuquerque. You see Ted, I have a crippling amount of student loan debt as well. I want you to know that you are not alone; but you are screwed. Just like the rest of our generation.
Brassfield concluded, "What I really want to know is: Is the American dream dead for me?"
No, the American dream isn't dead, but the American brain may be. Ted, you must be reasonably intelligent to make it through law school and you have a sense of idealism. Please go into public service, that is a guaranteed way of ensuring that the American dream will live on. Dear readers, I'm sorry if I sound hostile or cold, but I'm typing this from inside a frozen wolverine, so that's just how everything comes out.
It's time to drop this entitled expectation that a president can wave a magic wand and fix your life. If you were doing fine under Bush, it was because you had the money to be fine, not because Dubya was looking out for you. If you're alright under Obama, you're fine because you have the cash to support yourself. We're not talking about meaningful change, regaining the political center, or the death of the American dream. We're talking about money.
In 2008, the economy tanked under Bush, and if you're doing worse now than you were then, don't pretend that your kids' college educations would be paid for if Obama was doing a better job. Don't pretend that your small business loan would be paid off now if McCain and Palin were in office. You think you're exhausted now? Imagine how tired you'd be from being so pissed off over the last year if Obama had lost.
So what can we do? How can we create a financially-strong middle class? How can we empower the people? How can we prohibit Nick Drake songs from being used in Verizon commercials? Drum roll and earmuffs for the answer that everyone already knows...
The solution lies within America's last hope for a socially relevant citizenry, which is, of course, to start politicking locally. Get involved with your county government. Run for the local school board. Find out who the City Comptroller is... maybe it's you! The answer lies within all of the clichés that everyone is just too exhausted to even think about. Activate your community, monitor funding, further education, create employment opportunities, and establish powerful oversight on corporate and political influences. That is how you and your neighbors will feel meaningful change on a daily basis, and yes, everyone will get paid.
The most frightening thing in Monday's town hall meeting was seeing people in the audience express the fact that they have come to view themselves as powerless in their daily lives; this is the death of the American dream. However, this has very little to do with the actual figure we call the president and more to do with our unconditional surrender to an incessant bombardment of fear-based media, a disregard for consequences in a frenzied culture of reckless consumer spending, and an egregiously lazy approach to intellectual responsibility.
If we're not going to own up to these truths and embrace reality, we at least have to stop asking the president when he's going to save us all. That's about as helpful in effecting meaningful change as asking Daddy when he's going to make it stop raining.