COLUMN: Barry’s Empty Garden

Harry Caines contributes a weekly column to CacheValleyDaily.com. His column is a work of opinion, and does not reflect the views of Cache Valley Daily, the Cache Valley Media Group, or its employees.

<em>“If people think you are crazy, they won’t [bleep] with you.”</em>

—My Aunt Patty

The last time I updated the “Harry’s Top 100 Films of All Time” list, “Being There” was ranked fifth. I bring this up because Turner Classic Films, which is always one of the first channels I turn to when I plant myself in front of the television, aired the 1979 Peter Sellers classic this past week.

An explanation of the film’s plot does those who never saw it little good. It is an incredibly dry-witted film that plays out on many different levels. The short synopsis is that Sellers starts the film as Chance, the Gardener…an emotionally and intellectually stunted man who cannot read or write. He ends the film as Chauncey Gardiner…an economics genius and political philosopher quoted by world leaders who is in line to be the next President of the United States.

Sound like anyone in real life? Maybe the current president? It should. Back in 2008, I made many metaphorical references towards “Being There” when discussing the unbelievable ascent of Barack Obama to the presidency.

Ah, 2008! The good ol’ days. If I had a time machine that hurled me back six years, I would change many mistakes in my life. I wonder if any of you would join me to ensure that the junior senator from Illinois was sent back to the HIll instead of moving above his pay grade towards the White House.

Remember Candidate Obama’s European tour that fateful summer? He traversed the continent meeting with leaders, ensuring them that the Dark Ages of Dubya were coming to an end and that He, The Great Father, would soon bring harmony back to a world that never really ever was harmonious to begin with.

How glorious His coming was when he spoke to over 200,000 Berliners that summer, proclaiming that He was the Light and the Life, brought forth to make the world united in thought and speech. How could any evil not wither when within the presence of the Great Father?

The tragic heart attack that killed Peter Sellers in 1980 was not the only reason why “Being There, Part Two” could never be made. The other reason is that no one would want to see how awful and dangerous a Chauncey Gardiner presidency would have actually been.

If only we had done the same with Obama.

When it comes to foreign policy The Great Father, using the simplest word in my brain, sucks.

The Middle East is barely functioning–even worse than usual. Russia, under Vladimir Putin, is looking to expand its living space—much like Hitler desired in the 1930’s. China pretty much owns our economy…and uses that marker to keep us at bay as they flex their muscles throughout the Orient and the Pacific Rim.

And what of the three European countries Obama visited on his tour: France, Britain and Germany?

France is collapsing under the weight of seven decades of pseudo-Socialist government. You can only tax the rich so much before they leave.

The UK is currently ruled by a fairly reliable but tenuous coalition of two parties with highly different views on social issues. And in one week, Scotland will vote whether to leave the Union–which would make for a rather interesting power shift in the new British elections, scheduled right now to be held in 2015.

That leaves Germany, currently headed by the real leader of the free world, German chancellor Angela Merkel. In the poorly conceived European Union, Germany has become the lynchpin that keeps the entire continent from falling into chaos. But Merkel is confined by archival footage of the Nazis, keeping Germany stuck in a passive aggressive posture can only do so much. And the way-too-soon alliance of Germany and Russia in the embers of the old USSR has made much of Europe–including Germany—interdependent with and to Putin.

The Great Father was not supposed to allow evil to exist. He was to be the opposite of Dubya. He was going to be the “Hug It Out” President. The irrefutable intellectual whose mere existence made bad men meekly subside in irrelevant shame.

What nation is wrought with worry that they may incur the wrath of Barack Obama? Who fears the man that fills out women’s basketball brackets every March? What made any of us think back in 2008 that rhetoric would be enough to stop the intent of Muslim fanatics and nostalgic old Soviets?

George W. Bush was not a good president. But he had one advantage that Obama sorely lacks–America’s enemies thought Dubya was crazy. And most bullies think twice before entering into a war with a whackadoo. Heck, Dick Cheney shoots people! He drinks the blood of puppies to maintain his vitality. You wanna get into a fight with that motley crew?

Obama? He has went from Chauncey Gardiner to another of the sublime characters Peter Sellers played: President Merkin Muffley from the film “Dr. Strangelove”. Feckless, weak, whiny, ineffective and incapable of inspiring anyone to lead with him…from behind.

I can only imagine the seething disdain the omni-masculine Vladimir Putin feels every time he receives an ethics lesson from Barry, the Sociologist. Putin is not evil, but he is a power hungry control freak and avaricious. The bitter loss of the Cold War can be cleansed now that Europe is a mess and the U.S. is currently ruled by a guy who is dainty, aloof and embarrassingly over his head.

The Middle East and other Muslim states are eroding because decades of irrational and short-sighted American policies were muddled and conflicting. It’s all about the oil. And every president since FDR has been unable to figure out how to get the oil without blood being spilled.

The Great Father is now the despondent dad—sitting on his recliner, staring into space, flipping through the TV channels as the kids wrestle on the rug under his feet, wondering to himself how the life he envisioned came to this.

Barack Obama may not have checked out. He shows up to work every day. As an American, I hope his decisions are true, right and good for our country. But anyone who reads a newspaper can see that we are currently lead by a man who flat out has no idea what to do about the world he is supposed to lead. A leader who equivocates to a stunningly inept degree.

The campaign of 2008 feels like it happened a century ago. And all that is left from that is a despondent president, an empty garden of unfulfilled initiatives and a world dominated by bad people unafraid, contemptuous and defiant of the President of the United States.

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