The Unbearable Lightness of Being There

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Eve: May I ask your name?
Chance: Chance.
Eve: Chance?
Chance: Chance, the gardener.
Eve: Chauncey Gardiner? Mr. Chauncey Gardiner. Are you related to Basil and Perdita Gardiner?

— Being There, 1979


People tell us who they are, but we ignore it. Because we want them to be what we we want them to be.

–Don Draper, Mad Men

President Obama used his third Oval Office address in seven years to say “Honey, I shrunk the country.” (I know–third metaphor.)

No other way to put it. Tonight America and the world witnessed a man reduced to his feeblest worst, an imposter posing as an American President, a child in a grown-up’s suit. Obama is Chance the gardener–a simpleton with a simplistic, childish worldview.

Obama told us his worldview in 2008, but we didn’t listen. We made him what we wanted him to be. (I’m using “we” to represent the American electorate–not necessarily the reader of this blog.)

Want to know why gun sales are setting records? It’s not because of terrorism or crime, both of which have exploded on Obama’s watch. People are buying guns because the government has lost control.

More damning, Barack Obama chose to lose control. The Paris attacks, the San Bernardino massacre–these are Obama’s policies played out in real life, like a horror movie that breaks the fourth wall.

I’m not saying he’s a Muslim or an ISIS sympathizer. I am saying he sought to diminish America’s stature in the world. He campaigned on putting America in its place. He believed that America was no more virtuous that any other country, including Nazi Germany and the Ayatollah’s Iran.

And, as Reverend Jeremiah Wright would say, Obama’s chickens have come to roost. 

With US investigators increasingly convinced Farook and Malik were only beginning their planned mayhem when gunned down by heroic San Bernardino cops, it’s pretty clear that the world needs a virtuous nation at its head.

For nearly 100 years, that virtuous nation was the United States of America. But Barack Obama stopped all that. He thought the perpetrators of the Arab Spring were America’s equals in virtue. 

They were not.

The next election will be a referendum on America’s place in the world. Are we just a punching bag for terrorists? Or are we the shining city on a hill with a perpetual rendezvous with destiny?

Vote wisely, my friend. You didn’t the last two times.


The Don Draper Approach To Sequester

Reading Time: 2 minutes

A reporter once informed Cary Grant, the legendary leading man, that a Time Magazine poll found him the man most American men wanted to be. Was Grant surprised?

“No,” he said. “Everybody wants to be Cary Grant. I want to be Cary Grant.”

Don Draper is the new Cary Grant

Who doesn’t want to be like Don Draper? Great looking. Smart. Rich. Beautiful women. Good dad.

But there’s something else that makes Don Draper’s character fantastic. It makes him the quintessential American Man of post-war America.

It’s not his looks or his money.

It’s not his great suits and beautiful women.

It’s a quality that a lot of us need right now, and it’s lacking–big time.

What makes Draper admirable is his unflappable confidence in life.

“Everything’s going to be okay.”

He says it all the time when others around him fall to pieces.

“It’s going to be okay, Bets,” to Betsy.

“Everything’s going to okay,” he tells the kids when Kennedy was assassinated.

Even when Betsy told him she wanted a divorce, he called her and calmly told her, “I hope you get everything you ever wanted.”

And he meant it.

Don Draper wasn’t vindictive or hysterical. He wasn’t happy that his family fell apart, but he wasn’t going to let it ruin his life. Or theirs.

“Everything’s going to be ok.”

Yes, Don gets divorced. Yes, Sterling-Cooper-Draper-Price loses Lucky Strike. Yes, many bad things happen to Don, and most of them he brings upon himself.

But his attitude gets him through. And he always comes out all the better.

“How can you possibly know that?”

Betsy, on the other hand, doesn’t expect things to be ok. She expects everything to fall apart. And, for her, it always does.

Bobby’s birthday party is a disaster. So is her second marriage. And she gets fat. And her kids don’t like her (for good reason). And Don marries a beautiful young woman who’s a better mother than Betsy.

If only Betsy had taken Don’s advice.

“Everything’s going to be okay.”

The President and the press are playing Betsy Francis. They’re telling us that everything’s about to go to hell in a handbasket because of the sequester Obama invented. And it’s all the Republicans’ fault. And the Tea Party’s.

Don’t listen to them. Listen to Don Draper.

Better yet, do as Don would do. Tell yourself and everyone around you, “Everything is going to be ok.”

It will. Nothing’s ever as bad as you think it will be when you think about it.

BONUS: Zen Conservatism: Reclaim your liberty without losing your soul will help. Buy it today.