It's time once again to (belatedly) dust off that old seasonal standard, Barack and Michelle Do Christmas. Talk about Deja Vu all over again. No wonder Thomas Friedman is reportedly Obama's favorite columnist. Not only do these chin-stroking dudes share the delusion that endless repetition is a virtue, they share the same audience: an exclusive set of elites who never tire of being told how virtuous they are when they temper their endless acquisitions with an occasional spurt of noblesse-oblige.
So without further ado, The Obama Christmas Carol, 2013 version:
THE PRESIDENT: Hello everybody, and happy holidays.
(Greetings to the upper middle class and I will avoid the C word for fear of giving generic offense.)
THE FIRST LADY: We know how busy this time of year is for everyone, so we’re not going to take much of your time.
(Everybody: tacitly defined as those who have actual jobs and money to spend shopping and partying. Those of you too unemployed or depressed in this Long Depression to even get out of bed are not included in the Foist Couple's message.)
But we did want to take a moment to wish you all a Merry Christmas, from our family to yours.
(Michelle bravely utters the C word, as our heads become stuffed with sugar-plummy visions of ideal intact American families just like hers.)
THE PRESIDENT: This is a season for millions of Americans to be together with family, to continue long-held holiday traditions, and to show our gratitude to those we love. And along the way, some of us might even watch a little basketball or eat some Christmas cookies, too.
(The vision coalesces into a hard chunk of treacle -- the ideal intact Norman Rockwell families gather around the fireside, with '50s interludes of women slaving in the kitchen and fake-sheepish regular guys just like him watching televised sports.)
THE FIRST LADY: Here at the White House, over the past few weeks, we’ve had about 70,000 people from all across the country come visit us and look at our holiday decorations.
(So much for it being the People's House and the decorations belonging to the actual people. But I bitchily quibble. For among the attractions was a 300-pound Gingerbread McMansion, complete with a waterfall to further evoke those visions of trickle-down neoliberal economics and happy families.)
This year’s theme was “Gather Around: Stories of the Season.”
And in every room of the house, we tried to tell a story about who we are as Americans and how we celebrate the holidays together.
(And just think, it was only last spring when Hubby proclaimed that careless droning is Not Who We Are! Accompanied by the never-ending soundtrack of drones, playing "We are the Murkans, the mighty mighty Murkans, everywhere we go-oh, people wanna know-oh Who We Are. So we tell them. We are the Murkans, the mighty mighty Murkans...." Special tour attraction: The Kill List Room and Barry's Dead Militant baseball card collection encased under twinkling glass. Maybe next year he can include an exhibit on the "Grit and Resilience of the American People" with a diorama featuring the Yemeni wedding party just blasted to smithereens by Not Who We Are.)
And we made certain to highlight some of the most powerful stories we know – the stories of our outstanding troops, veterans, and military families and their service and sacrifice for our country.
(Okay. You knew the Support Our Troops bromides were inevitable. Prepare to feel guilty for daring to complain about your lousy job, your lack of a lousy job, less heat, less food. Because The Troops will always have it worse than you assholes ever will.)
THE PRESIDENT: Our extraordinary men and women in uniform are serving so that the rest of us can enjoy the blessings we cherish during the holidays. But that means many of our troops are far from home and far from family. They’re spending some extra time on the phone with their loved ones back home. Or they’re setting up video chats so they can watch as the presents are opened. So today, we want all of our troops to know that you’re in our thoughts and prayers this holiday season.
(They serve so that the One Percent and the military-industrial complex and corrupt politicians can enjoy the financial blessings reaped by death, dismemberment, mayhem and destruction on a global scale. All the corporate media networks are cooperating in this propaganda, airing the video chats between news of Obama sending more weapons to Iraq and Marines to South Sudan to protect the oil cartels. And meanwhile, he is imposing chained CPI on his beloved veterans' pensions. But he is bestowing his thoughts and prayers... which do not cost his financial backers one red cent.)
And here’s the good news: For many of our troops and newest veterans, this might be the first time in years that they’ve been with their families on Christmas. In fact, with the Iraq war over and the transition in Afghanistan, fewer of our men and women in uniform are deployed in harm’s way than at any time in the last decade.
(He just gave Karzai more time to comply with his demand to keep American troops in Afghanistan for at least another decade, at a cost of billions of dollars that will not be invested here in The Homeland.)
THE FIRST LADY: And that’s something we all can be thankful for.
And with more and more of our troops back here at home, now it’s our turn to serve – it’s our turn to step up and show our gratitude for the military families who have given us so much.
And that’s why Jill Biden and I started our Joining Forces initiative – to rally all Americans to support our military families in ways large and small.
And again and again, we have been overwhelmed by the response we’ve gotten as folks from across the country have found new ways to give back to these families through their schools, businesses, and houses of worship.
(Joining Forces is fully funded and run by the Military Industrial Complex via a neoliberal think tank called the Center for a New American Security. It's just another way for tax-immune corporate welfare recipients like Walmart and G.E. to salvage their misanthropic reputations. They get White House access and photo ops in exchange for vaguely promising to create a few jobs for veterans and service members' families. The administration stresses voluntary private help for vets instead of harassing the Veterans Administration to do its own job and deal with the massive backlog of applications for earned benefits.
And thus, say the Obamas to all you civilians out there: you need to feel some shame during this Time of Joy for daring to complain about your own low-paid jobs, your own lack of low-paid jobs, your foreclosures, your evictions, the government vacuuming up your communications, your food stamp cuts. Because The Troops are spilling their blood and losing their limbs to Keep You Safe.)
THE PRESIDENT: That’s the same spirit of giving that connects all of us during the holidays. So many people all across the country are helping out at soup kitchens, buying gifts for children in need, or organizing food or clothing drives for their neighbors. For families like ours, that service is a chance to celebrate the birth of Christ and live out what He taught us – to love our neighbors as we would ourselves; to feed the hungry and look after the sick; to be our brother’s keeper and our sister’s keeper. And for all of us as Americans, regardless of our faith, those are values that can drive us to be better parents and friends, better neighbors and better citizens.
(Notice how Obama is not addressing those "folks" who actually are being forced to eat in Soup Kitchens this holiday season. Obama never addresses poor people directly. They remain "The Other," whom the better off must notice and help from time to time, on a purely voluntary basis. Read His Lips: No New Taxes. But "families like his" who do engage in occasional food bank photo-ops or clean out their overstuffed walk-in closets for Goodwill can be an example and inspiration to others in their class.)
THE FIRST LADY: So as we look to the New Year, let’s pledge ourselves to living out those values by reaching out and lifting up those in our communities who could use a hand up.
(A neoliberal lift up, a hand up, but heaven forbid the dreaded hand out. Hand-ups include public-private partnerships to enrich corporations, unpaid internships to enrich corporations, tech training to enrich corporations, closing public schools to make way for charters, to enrich corporations. Hand outs would include enhanced Social Security benefits, pension protections, a living wage/guaranteed income, food stamp increases, free or nearly free college or student loan forgiveness, Medicare for All, renewal of federal unemployment benefits. Hand-ups are granted by the Free Market, which ensures all the wealth will continue to concentrate at the very top. Hand-outs -- a government jobs program and actual cash in people's pockets -- would serve stimulate the economy, level the playing field, and deprive the plutocrats of the joy of controlling both what they deign to give and the recipients of their "largesse.")
THE PRESIDENT: So Merry Christmas, everyone. And from the two of us, as well as Malia, Sasha, Grandma, Bo…
THE FIRST LADY: And Sunny, the newest Obama.
(It's always Sunny in D.C., aka Wall Street-on-the-Potomac. It's always darkest in the hinterland, right before it gets completely black.)
THE PRESIDENT: We wish you all a blessed and safe holiday season.
(But not a peaceful holiday season, apparently. It seems that Obama broke with Christmas tradition and actually launched a drone attack in Pakistan on Christmas Day itself! Maybe he felt upstaged by the Pope's plea for peace, which got a ton more positive press.)
THE FIRST LADY: Happy holidays everybody, and God bless.
(It could have been worse. At least she skipped the usual America after the God Bless part. Then again, she might have said God Bless Us, and the videographer simply indulged in a bit of choppy creative editing.)