At the end of every President’s term, there is always talk about his “legacy.” It’s inevitable.
It’s been said that every President is remembered for one or two things, usually distilled into a sentence or two. You know: Lincoln preserved the Union and freed the slaves. FDR ended the Great Depression and won WWII. Reagan presided over the greatest economic expansion and brought down the Soviet Union. Things like that.
Sure, they’re simplistic and all that and honest historians can quibble over the details but at the end of the day, we’re talking about a “narrative.” It’s history written in shorthand.
In reality, most of Obama’s legacy will prove ephemeral, given that with stroke of a pen, the new President can override most of his achievements. As we speak, the Congress is already eviscerating Obamacare, his signal legislative accomplishment, even while he still has six days left in office.
There is one area though in which Obama will be remembered and that is the legislative triumph of polyamory, that is to say, the loss of all sexual restraint. Sure, he ran for office being against gay marriage but we all kind of knew that that was a “wink, wink, nudge, nudge” type of thing. He had to say it; it immunized him against charges of being a wild-eyed liberal. I’d say it was good for adding another two or three points to his margin of victory over John McCain.
I’m not sure whether Obama led the way in this regards or whether he merely caught up with the culture but in the end it doesn’t matter. We live in an immoral universe with no legal enforcement of sexuality. The old cliche about we shouldn’t “legislate morality” has come to fruition. That’s going to be his real legacy in my opinion.
When Big Gay, Inc. told us all they wanted was “marriage equality” the namby-pamby among us were taken aback. “Oh come on now, Bob,” said Madge. “All that chi-chi couple who lives next door wants is to have what we have.” And like most spineless, deracinated and irreligious American men, we threw in the towel.
Well, the joke’s on us. It was never about Percy and Bruce plighting their troth to each other “eschewing all others ’til death us do part” in some nice, liturgical service at the local Episcopal church. (With an elegant reception afterwards.) That was never game plan and those of us who knew better were shamed and humiliated into silence.
The defeat is now complete. Marriage as traditionally understood throughout every era and every culture on every continent is now dead. Earlier this year, Italy (the seat of the Roman Catholic Church) passed a law that said marital fidelity was no longer a requirement for marriage. I wonder how many young people are going to take the Big Step knowing that there’s no real reason to. Well played, Big Gay, well played.
Think on that. And if you do, think about what we have lost. And give a thought as to whether we can get it back.
Things really are that stark. Having trouble? I’ll make it easy for you. Back in early October, Billy Bush released an Access Hollywood tape. That tape. You know the one I’m talking about. In it, Donald Trump, then on The Apprentice was recorded saying things about how easy it is to approach certain women in the crudest possible terms. “Locker-room talk” his defenders (myself included) said. The nation was rightly shocked, even those of us who supported him.
Now, I’ll be honest. It’s not like I haven’t descended into gutter-talk at various times in my life. Most every red-blooded American man I know has used words to that effect. And my actions were more egregious at times. In junior high, my cousin and I (the token Greeks of Horace Mann) used to pinch girls on the butt as we rounded the corner and they were putting their books in their lockers. It’s what we did. They didn’t seem to mind; I dare say that if we didn’t some of them would’ve been disappointed. But looking back, I’m not proud of it. And if I had a daughter who had had her butt pinched by some horny eighth grader, I’d have spontaneously combusted. So yeah, I’m a hypocrite.
But aren’t we all? Wasn’t it Churchill who said that “hypocrisy is the tribute which vice pays to virtue”? Who among us is perfect in this regard? That’s not the point however. The point is that we are all painfully aware of our shortcomings. And none of us would want to live in regime of open licentiousness. That is precisely what Trump’s boorish behavior exposed. That is the logical end-result of throwing away the restraints of modesty.
The words of course were grotesque. But only because they described a behavior that is reprehensible. After all, words themselves have no inherent physical power. Saying you can grab a woman’s genitalia is not the same thing as actually grabbing a woman’s genitalia. That should be obvious.
But it’s words which vocalize thoughts and then lead to actions. They are the missing link between thoughts and actions. That’s why we circumscribe our words. We don’t really say what we think especially when our thoughts are shameful. At least that’s always been the modus vivendi for most of us.
That’s all gone by the wayside now. Barack Obama’s legacy can be encapsulated by the desire of grown men wanting to share a public restroom with nine-year-old girls. And why not? What’s wrong with that? I mean, really: what’s wrong with that?
What’s that you say: paedophilia? Are you sure about that? What makes you think that having sex with children is wrong? We used to believe that about two men having sex with each other and calling it marriage. Why even Senators Obama and Hillary Clinton thought that at one time. In an earlier time, the Armed Forces used to flog and sometimes, execute, homosexuals. The egregiousness of homosexuality and its threat to civilization was so obvious that Hillary’s husband actually signed into law the Defense of Marriage Act back in the Dark Ages.
And not just homosexuality. Other sexual sins have rightly been condemned in the past: bastardy, polygamy, bigamy, bestiality and of course, paedophilia. Was that such a bad thing? We all understood that such proscriptions were necessary even when some of us were prone to them. The law is not only proscriptive but punitive and not because it was set up by some bluenoses who couldn’t get a date to the prom.
The law by its very nature is didactic. Do you want to have sex? Marry a nice girl. Do you wish that your husband looked like Antonio Banderas? Well, close your eyes and imagine that that’s what he looks like. Channel all your energies in that direction. Not only will you have a nice house full of children but maybe somebody to take care of you when you’re old. It’s pretty much that simple.
So, have we sunk irreversibly into the abyss?
Believe it or not, I don’t think so. Leaving aside the religious element, we can’t ever escape from physical reality. The words which Trump spoke in the Access Hollywood tape laid bare a horrific possibility, one in which men walk down the street and feel no compunction whatsoever about fondling women. Or smoking-hot high school teachers grabbing fifteen-year-old boys by the crotch and performing fellatio on them in between second and third hour. Or husbands and wives entering into marriage with no intention of keeping their marital beds undefiled.
I can’t help but think that as more of us contemplate this burgeoning reality, that the pendulum will naturally swing back. Or more likely, snap violently back. It may be that modesty, coupled with not a little hypocrisy, is in reality the natural state of man.
I hope so. Because for all of my own boisterous, youthful talk, I never really wanted to treat a woman in ways that my words described. Not really. At the end of the day all I really wanted was a loving relationship with a woman, even if it wasn’t to be permanent. I don’t think any normal man –Donald Trump included–subscribes to the “pump and dump” phenomenon that is extolled in the Hip Hop culture. It’s empty, it’s meaningless and unless you’re fabulously wealthy, not possible.
The fact that Obama has created a Federal ministry to make sure that men can enter any bathroom they want tells me that it’s only through the services of the leviathan state that such an idiotic sexual regime can be realized. But remember: all secular leviathans, from the French Directorate to the Soviet Union to the European Union are doomed to fail.
It would be ironic indeed that some future generation is more prim and proper than the present one. And some historians looking back from the vantage point of say, 2030, wonder why licentiousness did not endure. It’s possible that “marriage equality” will be nothing more than a blip, not unlike the witch hysteria that gripped Salem, Massachusetts for a few months in the seventeenth century. And that Obama will be nothing but an asterisk in the line of Presidents, not unlike one of the Barracks Room Emperors of the later Roman Empire whose name and dates nobody will be able to recall with any specificity.
Maybe I’m being too hopeful by half, but I truly believe that his legacy will be that inconsequential.