By Jack Engelhard
Count me in on this honeymoon. I’m thrilled that what we have before us is our first African-American president. The politicking is done. I’ve had my say, you’ve had yours, and you won. I am reconciled. Besides, he’s cool, he’s hip. What’s not to like – as of the moment?
Reminds me of JFK. John Kennedy was exceptional for the dream, the glamour, the romance.
Never mind the politics.
In a few months Barack Obama will be in office and as Americans we have no choice but to root for him. We’re all in this together.
Has fate given us a man who is destined to fulfill the promise of JFK? Was it prophesied that Obama is to pick up where Kennedy left off? God asked King Solomon: “What shall I give you?” Solomon could have asked for power and riches but he asked for “an understanding heart” by which to rule the people. Nothing more. (Power and riches followed.)
That’s a good place to start for Obama as well – for the sake of all of us.
Are we back to the 1960s? If so, let’s hope it’s the good part, the early years. (Or rather, the good parts of the early years.)
In perhaps the most neglected novel of all time, THE DAYS OF THE BITTER END, in which I cover the meteoric rise and fall of Kennedy and his generation through the eyes of a comedian who impersonated him, I wrote: “Not since Washington and Jefferson had America felt such a surge of renewal as embodied in this president and his even more glamorous First Lady, Jackie. Together they gave us style, romance, adventure, a vision of glittering greatness without end.”
A paragraph later, in this same novel, there’s this on JFK – that he was perceived as being “so youthful, so handsome and so virile. He was more than mortal.
“He was a star!”
This book, that I wrote throughout the 1970s and had published in 1998 – well now, I could have written it today about Barack Obama. There are even more similarities (like Chicago politics) between then and now, and even more differences, but I prefer to skip all that and use this space to ask for some peace and quiet. This should be a time of gladness, not meanness, from the victors.
Instead, it’s as if nothing has happened. The sniping goes on. Moments ago I tuned in on Bill Maher and there he was, trashing Sarah Palin; this, on a show that went live right after Obama was elected president, when some magnanimity might have been expected, and appreciated, from liberals who won everything that wasn’t nailed down.
Democrat operative Paul Begala heaped more trash on Palin, accusing her of being “mean-spirited” while blithely unaware and undisturbed of his own mean-spiritedness. To the constant cheers of the 14-year-olds who sit in his peanut gallery, Maher ranted against religion, Bush, and more Palin, calling her “dumb” and “stupid.”
You’d expect such political road rage from the losers (who, ironically, are mostly silent or even supportive of Obama), but not from the winners.
Oh, Maher also referred to the Bible as “Jewish fairy tales.” I wonder if he’d have the courage to say something like that about the Koran.
Meanwhile, my liberal friends assure me that Obama will “clean house.” Really! No more corruption? Take it from me, there will be more corruption. There will be scandals. No party, Democrat or Republican, has a monopoly on crookedness, and excuse me for being so skeptical, but as I see it, it’s Crooks Out, Crooks In.
There has been malfeasance in every administration that I can think of – either party. So this is no knock on Obama. It’s a knock on people, people in power.
Crooks gravitate to power in politics, in business, in everything.
A particular Latte friend, gloating, asked me how it feels to be watching “my” scoundrels being booted from all the top jobs. Well, it feels like “my” dirty rotten scoundrels are about to be replaced by “your” dirty rotten scoundrels. Consider it a fair trade, like Barry Bonds for Mark McGwire. By the way, to celebrate is good. To gloat is bad — bad form, uncool.
Surely I speak for many when I say now, at this moment, it’s time to give Obama the benefit of the doubt. We trust for an “understanding heart.” Let’s see what he does. This we know: we’ll have to judge for ourselves, for the news media (throughout this campaign) bungled its duty to tell it like it is. Journalism died.
We’ll have to be vigilante for ourselves and hope that Democrats don’t try to run the table – like silencing dissent as in the proposed comeback of The Fairness Doctrine.
As Americans, let’s pray (from our Bible – Bill Maher’s “book of fairy tales”) that the grievance industry gives it a rest. Let’s quit the bickering and the hatemongering, and yes, I’m talking mostly to liberals who, after all, are all about “goodness” and “change.” What I’m hearing is more of the same, more baiting (on Bush), more sniping. The point’s been made. Enough.
Hey, liberals, you are winners! Act like it!
About the author: Jack Engelhard’s THE DAYS OF THE BITTER END is about the 1960s, Greenwich Village and the generation that gloried with JFK. Engelhard’s most recent novel, THE BATHSHEBA DEADLINE, now in paperback, places journalism at the center of our culture and war on terror. Engelhard wrote the international bestselling novel INDECENT PROPOSAL that was translated into more than 22 languages and turned into a Paramount motion picture starring Robert Redford and Demi Moore. He can be reached at www.jackengelhard.com.