I am well aware that Calvinists consider patron saints a form of idolatry, but for the most part Christians and many non-Christians alike, some out of faith but most out of habit or circumstance, see with favor having an advocate intercede on their behalf in the many problems that beset their lives. Yes, a patron saint!
Team Europe (golf) had one in Seve (Ballesteros) this past Sunday in Medinah, Illinois, as the Europeans overcame a record insurmountable lead (away from home) to retain the Ryder Cup. Seve, the Myth, became Seve, the Patron Saint of European golf, just short of four months after his death. The miracle of Medinah was viewed by millions of golf faithful and unfaithful alike, but even pagans had their deist doubts after looking at teary-eyed Captain “Chema” Olazábal, Seve’s best friend and protégée.
Watching this epic afternoon of golf, I couldn’t help but think of President Obama . . . and, although he doesn’t “metaphysically” qualify as a patron saint, his election four years ago to occupy the White House is as close as one might come to crossing to the great beyond. And I started to think of him as the patron saint of “gentler capitalism.”
Four years ago, progressives fooled themselves into believing that having a lesser evil occupying the White House would help transform our rampant imperial eagle into a friendlier bird of prey, not just in matters of war, but in moderating the ugly face of predatory capitalism as well. At least such was the hope—mine was. It didn’t occur to us that electing Barack Obama to the presidency might yield quite the opposite result. Which it did . . . and it did in a major way!
Had John McCain been the victor in 2008, one can rest assured that his administration would not have done any better in defusing the financial crisis, changing the politics of war, or creating any more jobs. If anything, conditions for the bottom 80 percent of Americans would likely have deteriorated at a faster pace, and in a larger scale. And, as a result, people throughout the nation would be up in arms and instead of a milquetoast Occupy movement, we might be out in the streets in these pre-election days with a modern version of Julius Caesar’s Veni Vidi Vici . . .”Occupy Obviate Obliterate” being the cry to arms, the cry to justice this time around.
And we would be asking for the heads of Wall Street banksters, politicians and others, who combined to perpetrate a multi-trillion-dollar, worldwide, financial assault. No, we have no need for jurists to tell us whether this holocaustic defalcation is or is not a crime; and just as the French stormed the Bastille to declare their freedom, Americans would be assailing the Wall Street fortress and its capitalist prison.
By chance or circumstance, Obama was the perfect man to have at the White House . . . perfect for this band of thugs that had raped the nation. They were safe from prosecution knowing that neither the president nor his chosen attorney general, Eric Holder, had the stomach to conduct a criminal investigation against the very people who had provided major help in getting Obama elected to the high office.
Elected, Obama became the perfect shield/defender for past criminality in acts of war (Bush-son, Cheney and their lackeys) and in acts of financial defalcation (Wall Street blue-bloods) . . . he seemed believable when he claimed that apparent business misconduct, or misuse of US bullying power, could not make it in a court of criminal law. A “President McCain,” without a lily-white personal and business background, would not have held the same credibility throughout the nation.
We could say that Obama, by not having the Justice Department bring to trial key members of the Thug-elite, became the patron saint of “gentler capitalism”; that’s probably what he will prefer to be known, using the pretext of further endangering an already divided nation. But that is precisely where he is wrong. It isn’t “gentler capitalism” that he has helped. By his lack of courageous action, he has interceded on behalf of the Thug-elite . . . and, although we are sure such was not his intention, he has become, de facto, St. Barack Obama, Patron Saint of Predatory Capitalism.
© 2012 Ben Tanosborn
Ben Tanosborn, columnist, poet and writer, resides in Vancouver, Washington (USA), where he is principal of a business consulting firm. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.