"Things fall apart," as Yeats was wont to say. "The center cannot hold." The center is most assuredly falling apart today, and who is at the center? Well, his name is Barack H. Obama. He is our president, and I think many Americans wish he would shut down. Every time he pipes up, especially on a peripheral issue, he makes things worse — no, not worse, appalling.
When has the United States been, of a sudden, thrust into such a mess? At the outset of his presidency, I looked back on Obama's barren years of preparation for the most demanding job in the world, and I called him "Barack the Unready" after the English King "Ethelred the Unready," whose futile life extended from 968 A.D. until 1016 A.D. Now, after observing the spread of heretofore unimaginable pathologies throughout the republic, I shall steal another page from history.
Once, there was William the Silent (1533 to 1584 A.D). Why can we not have Barack the Silent? Come on, Mr. President, shut down. When you speak out on such matters as race, gender and criminal justice reform, you set the stage for the unimaginable: Dylann Storm Roof, Caitlyn Jenner. Please, Mr. President, shut up.
As I say, in some of these areas you have encouraged social pathologies that until recent weeks were really unimaginable — say, in the area of gender and race relations. Only God knows what calamities await us if you keep on commenting on the morning news. Obama, take the vow of silence. Think of the salutary legacy left by Silent Cal (Calvin Coolidge, for the low-information voter and often the college educated), our 30th president. He never encouraged anything like today's headlines.
It began with race, when Barack the Garrulous could not abstain from saying that the Cambridge, Mass., police "acted stupidly" for arresting Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates, who, by the way, had also acted stupidly. Then he invited Gates and the arresting officer over to the White House for a beer. It continued when he chimed in on the death of Trayvon Martin, saying, implausibly, "If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon." And it continued with the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. As Donald Trump has remarked, Barack the Garrulous has yet to comment on the murder of African-American football star Jamiel Shaw Jr. at the hands of an illegal immigrant or of Kathryn Steinle, also at the hands of an illegal immigrant.
In the first year of Obama's presidency, a friend of mine commented that Obama had come in on a tide of racial harmony. After listening to a year of inflammatory comments on a range of issues from the absurd to the reckless, my friend prophesied that he would leave office with racial relations poisoned. The prophecy is coming true. Behold the fallout from Dylann Roof's demented act of terror. If the racists in and out of government get their way, we are going to fight the Civil War all over again.
Actually, we are going to be fighting the Civil War again and wars we never dreamed of — for instance, the gender wars, or perhaps I should say the transgender wars.
Barack the Garrulous became the first president to utter the words "lesbian," "bisexual" and "transgender" in his State of the Union speech. He was quite proud of this heroic first. Now the country is alive with transgendered activists. One, Jennicet Gutierrez, recently disrupted him during a speech in the White House — and, by the way, Gutierrez is another illegal immigrant. But her outburst only came after Barack the Garrulous tweeted the transgendered Caitlyn Jenner, "It takes courage to share your story."
Last week, Jenner, a 65-year-old former Olympian, showed his courage on national television. He appeared wearing a dress and heaps of makeup to receive the Arthur Ashe Courage Award as a part of the ESPY awards. In the same week that he/she received his/her award for courage, five servicemen were killed at two military facilities in Tennessee. They were unarmed.
It continues. In the same week, Barack the Garrulous arrived at an Oklahoma prison to continue his string of "firsts" and to encourage the unimaginable. There he became the first American president to visit a penitentiary, and he trotted out a now-familiar line: "These are young people who made mistakes that aren't that different than the mistakes I made and the mistakes that a lot of you guys made." Whereupon he launched into his trademark anti-American theme: Americans "think it's normal" that so many young men have been put into penitentiaries. "It's not normal. It's not what happens in other countries. What is normal is teenagers doing stupid things. What is normal is young people making mistakes."
What will be the consequence of this outburst of false pieties, I really do not know. But looking back over Obama's past utterances, I think it is time for him to follow the example of Silent Cal. No former Olympian ever displayed courage by wearing a dress when Cal was president, and no members of the American military were ever shot in Chattanooga, Tenn., by Muslims.