True Believers, or the Children's Crusade


You used to wonder where they’d gotten to, all though proud hope-and-changers, the ones who bought into the hype, who allowed themselves to believe in the New Messiah, who got tingly legs and called him God, and waited for the seas to stop rising, and for the planet to magically heal itself. It all sounds so silly now, so childish. But then again, we were scared. We wanted to believe, and so we did. Or some of us did.

Many believers were quickly disillusioned. For some it was the gloating, the smugness, the arrogance  “Well, I won, Eric. I’m going to trump you on that.” For others it was the arrogance of mincing around the world apologizing for American arrogance, denying American exceptionalism, or sucking up to the European intellectual establishment. While some felt betrayed because he wasn’t the post-partisan, post-racial, political moderate his media clacque had claimed  he was, others deemed his inability to impose exclusively leftist policies as proof of his treachery; some were disappointed that he had lied, others that he hadn’t.

Stumbling from failure to failure, he now presents himself to us as he truly is, a man without feelings, a man whose only passion is for the sound of his own voice. And that is a sound the rest of the country grows tired of hearing. Last month, in a blatantly political stunt, he delivered a speech before a joint session of Congress. An act usually associated with a national crisis, an act of war, the response to an act of terrorism, in this case, the President used it  as a campaign stunt. It was a stunt which backfired. So jaded by the sight and sound of the President giving a speech, the nation barely stirred. The Republican Party declined the opportunity to provide a rebuttal before, in theory, a nationwide audience. There was no reason, they reasoned. The President had become a cipher.

Unwilling to accept their Manchurian Candidate’s failure to impose their agenda, his few remaining true believers decided to do what leftist ideologues always do. They went outside the system, outside the law, and camped out in lower Manhattan. Occupy Wall Street, they called their stunt, a similar act having worked so well in Madison, Wisconsin. These unemployable MFA degree holders did what they always do. They pounded on their drums, unrolled their sleeping bags, and generated acres upon acres of garbage. They chanted their childish chants, and mouthed their meaningless mantras, unfurling banners and unfolding signs plastered with infantile slogans.

“What does democracy look like?” the bullhorned cheerleader cried. “This is what democracy looks like!” his minions hoarsely replied. Garbage strewn lots, hair that hadn’t seen a brush since the first session of “Hemingway’ Bull: A Womyn’s Reading of Patriarchy,” passive-aggressively blocking legitimate workers’ access to their places of employment, apparently the President is correct when he notes, as he constantly does, that democracy is a messy thing.

The Children’s Crusade is not filled with Obama supporters. He has lost them because, from time to time, even he has had to act in the interest of Americans. Still, disdainful though they maybe of a man unable to rule according to rhyming slogans, they perhaps unwittingly have answered his call. Their protests, their “occupation,” their marches, are all in answer to the President’s increasing strident attacks against “millionaires and billionaires who don’t pay their fair share.”

Never one to let a crisis, or a tantrum, go to waste, Obama has seized upon the Children’s Crusade as perhaps his best chance to foment the tribalism which remains his one hope for reelection. Thus is was no surprise to learn this morning that the ranks of the Occupy Wall Street Day Care Center have been swelled by organized groups of union members who have come to lend a hand. The chants will now be louder, the threats more explicit, and the rise of violence inevitable, and the stink of the President’s polity will lay heavy upon the land.