Thursday, September 10, 2009
Pundit Free Zone
President Obama has an impossible job. The presidency of the U.S. has always been debilitating, no matter what's happening at the moment or who sits in the Oval Office. Even George W. Bush, who went to bed at 9:00 p.m. every night, aged dramatically during his eight years.
When I think about how many presidents have "failed," or the way in which, after leaving office, they shine (think Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, for instance), I imagine that the job itself must be like one of those awful nightmares where you're trying to run but can hardly move, as if slogging through jello, or trying to talk, but the words get caught in your throat. You know that kind of dream? I think the U.S. presidency is just that bad.
I noticed last night that President Obama is going gray at an accelerated pace and that his face is drawn and tired looking. Even a tough guy like him is going to be sucked dry by the job. But his speech was great - clear, strong, and logical. Damn he's good.
After his speech I switched off the TV. My experiment was to listen to the speech but skip the analysis afterwards. As curious as I was to hear what my favorite news people had to say, I've been thinking lately that they just get me all worked up and angry, create in me a stronger feeling of "us" vs. "them" which is not an energy field that needs any more juice. I also skipped the Republican response. I wanted to hear the speech, take it in, sleep on it.
I think it worked! I was able to listen - just listen. Nice.
The enclosed courtyard at the American Musuem of Art. Such a bizarre space.