James Kirchick, author of The End of Europe: Dictators, Demagogues, and the Coming Dark Age warns American freedom is threatened by the loss of liberalism...
Archive for 12/01/2012 - 01/01/2013
Newton School gathering after the massacre.
No actor, however capable, can bring out the agony of the president, who has to suppress his internal turmoil and present a different face to the nation for the sake of the position he is holding. No director can pull off visualisation of a complex surge of emotions of a whole nation behind a tragic event like that happened in Newtown, which the President was subjected to over and above his own turmoil.
There are moments when a president has to deliver inspiring speeches to convey his vision or unify the country against adversity. Then there are occasions no one wishes to face in life, when the President is expected to address the nation, to say something, to console, assure and somehow alleviate the collective burden on the nation's psyche. The Newtown School speech in the aftermath of the massacre of twenty innocent children and six of their teachers was one such testing moment for President Obama.
Though several tragedies have occurred during his presidency where he had to deliver consoling and supporting messages to the nation, the Newtown tragedy, coming right after a very divisive election in which he won against all odds, must have been very different and difficult for the president.
It is hard to understand, why Barrack Obama is seen as the first "black" President by many Americans and even by leading media though he was born to a white Caucasian lady. Though for the rest of the world this is a non issue, it is the perception. However, this must have been the most difficult aspect for President Obama, who had to face and address a town whose population and the bereaved they came to mourn are almost entirely white.
No one can deny that such was the ferocity and divisiveness of the politics which only just ended in his re-election, which many in the nation still do not accept, at least have great difficulty to reconcile. No one can deny that the second amendment, which the President could do little about and something which his audience hold sacred had to do with the tragedy.
That, President Obama, as a very loving parent of two children couldn't hold his tears while announcing the tragedy that occurred at Newtown as a national tragedy, didn't somehow alleviate his dilemma. Where trust was at best fragile, it must have been very difficult to find the right words to express and communicate something meaningful both to the community and to the nation at large.
The Newtown tragedy has occurred in the Christmas season, when everyone has to rejoice and not bereave, has rendered the event poignant beyond imagination. Mundane call of Presidential duties in the face of the Fiscal Cliff which he has very little time to sort out before the nation fall off it and the nomination of his future secretary of state must have been adding immense pressure to his working life. Yet the President was duty bound to come to the bereaved, and address and console as the supreme commander.
President Obama did come to Newtown, and delivered the most difficult speech of his presidency with amazing grace. With measured words delivered in a way only Barack Obama, the great communicator can do he somehow spoke, conveying the consolation and support of the Nation he took to Newtown and asking for the Nation's support and resolve to enable him for meaningful and effective action.
Without referring to the Second Amendment or NRA he brought home the need for controlling the ownership and accessibility of dangerous weapons. Without admonishing, he brought home the need for better parenting and teaching and loving children. In as few words as possible he reminded Americans about family values they all need to return to.
You handled this horrific situation with such honest sympathy & grace. You have done our nation (and yourself) proud during one of our darkest moments. I am proud to call you My President.
For astute students of communication, President Osama's skills in oratory will be always be a benchmark. His speeches will be heard, watched analysed and imitated for decades and centuries to come. But for true meaning and sense of his speeches, future learners will have to delve deep in to the contextual history and events as well.
Six Hallowed Indians Who Could be Lynched by a Billion of India's Poor if They Knew Simple Economics.
"They that have done this deed are honourable: What private griefs they have, alas, I know not, That made them do it: they are wise and honourable, And will, no doubt, with reasons answer you."
Who are they? They are all honourable leaders of modern India who collectively brought down the Indian GDP growth from 9% to 5% in a couple of years, sabotaging any chance a billion of its poor had to come out of poverty and a miserable life. There are even Harvard educated among them, but the plight of the poor and down trodden was not their concern and the need for GDP growth was not their business.
The damage and the back stabbing they have collectively done to India is nothing short of the treachery and guile in the Shakespearian drama, because as highly educated they are, they can't pretend not to know the damage they have caused to the plight of a billion poor Indians who earn barely a dollar a day, in their own quest for glory.
These pretentious leaders, each one of them with a hidden agenda, pretend to uphold morality in life and politics and fight for it, in various forms, as if it is the only thing India needs. Disregarding the damage they will cause to the country's image and growth, they have latched on to every opportunity, every accusation of impropriety to obstruct the functioning of the government inside and outside the parliament, bringing total paralysis.
In a short span of two years they have managed to sabotage every attempt of the minority government of Dr Man Mohan Singh and all reform measures he has tried to bring to maintain the high growth trajectory his reforms and governance has brought for India.
On the top of this list of these self serving Indians who have appropriated morality for themselves is India's CAG, Vinod Rai, himself a Harvard educated government servant, who has dealt the first and heaviest of blows, with accusations of ludicrous amounts of loss to the government. Though the hollowness of his accusations have since been exposed by an auction and revelation by a subordinate, it too late as enormous damage has been done to investor confidence.
Arvind Kejriwal, the "Indian Romney" who claim that the direct disbursement of income benefit to the poorest people of India amounts to bribing, can claim a prominent position. Kejriwal, who shot himself to fame by training his guns on the popular Gandhian Anna Hazare to appropriate some popularity for himself has since been exposed by declaring his own political party, of all things to fight corruption, of course.
Mamta Banerjee, the main coalition partner of Dr Man Mohan Singh who has vetoed every one of his reform measures should be honoured as the Nero of modern India as she spends her time in art and writing poetry as India's GDP had been tumbling down the drain and her own state of West Bengal had been sinking more and more in to the Bay of Bengal with debt burden of over populist governance.
If the Indian parliament had been totally dysfunctional since the last election, the credit almost entirely is that of Sushma Swaraj, the leader of the opposition, in title and action. Sushma Swaraj, who would like to be a future Prime Minister of India, has almost single headedly destroyed the biggest democracy in the world by instigating and leading sheer unruly and disgusting behaviour of elected representatives in parliament.
Dr Subramanian Swamy, an ex professor at Harverd must be credited with finding a life time occupation in filing cases against the Indian Government he can never win. But this doesn't preventSwamy in filing a new case every time he finds an old sheet of news paper with some ludicrous mention of corruption.
Dr Mulrali Manohar Joshi, a leader of the BJP has long since proven his penchant to erase and rewrite history when, as the Human resources Minister, he meddled with school text books, to remove and absolve the cold blooded assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, by Hindu fundamentalists. He has now been exposed as the main instigator of fictitious losses to the government by corrupt practices, which is no surprise at all.
There are of course a bigger list of supporters and collaborators, who the mob may search out on a second wave, for reprimand.
Fortunately, the Indian masses probably have never read Shakespeare, especially Julius Creaser. The chances are they will never ever grasp the importance of GDP or the rating agencies.
Article first published as Six Hallowed Indians Who Could be Lynched by a Billion of India's Poor if They Knew Simple Economics. on Technorati.