Yeah, that’s what I thought, and I can’t blame you, Mr. President. By all accounts, you’ve always been an arrogant, haughty narcissist — and that was before you became president. Your supporters and your enemies may argue over whether you descended from heaven on the back of a Pegasus, or were birthed from the bowels of Hell to bring about a Biblical apocalypse, but they both agree on one thing: you are a figure of great significance and immense power. You are either the anti-Christ or the Second Coming, with no room for anything in-between. Surely, this talk might cause even a humble man to slip into a state of vanity and pride, so I can only imagine what it must do to a man such as yourself, already so aloof and so conceited.
That’s why I’m writing this letter. My impression of you is quite different, and it has only been solidified by your performance during this shutdown/Obamacare debate. I find you to be a very small man, Mr. President. Far from larger than life, you are petty, frivolous, pathetic; sneering and pompous but also trifling and narrow. I don’t mean to dismiss or underestimate the damage you have done to this nation — it has certainly been profound and lasting — but I want you to know that your legacy will not be one of grandeur and brilliance; it will be the legacy of a shameless, desperate bully. Both your opponents and your proponents hoist you up as a world leader with a grand vision, whether benevolent or malevolent. I, on the other hand, believe you have the vision of a temperamental two year old. You simply want to feel like you’re in control; you want to “win,” you want everybody in the room to pay attention to you, and you’ll stomp your feet and whine until you get your way. You govern like a coddled toddler; it’s inappropriate to pejoratively refer to you as a “dictator,” but only because it lends you a certain unwarranted credibility. I think you wish to be a dictator, but instead you’re just a bumbling bureaucrat; easily replaced and even more easily forgotten. You have the ethics of Genghis Khan, but the leadership skills of Michael Scott. This is why we are forced to witness the spectacle of, for instance, our president brazenly threatening to invade another nation for no reason, only to clumsily abandon the idea after being publicly spanked by Putin.
Your legacy, Mr. President, will be defined by small, shameful things, as your presidency has been primarily a succession of small, shameful things. The platitudes you spouted during your campaign— the theatrics, the pomp, the hype — have all faded. Replaced by the scheming partisan machinations that have come to define your tenure.
Every president has a moment that encapsulates their time in office; your moment, Mr. President, happened this week. Sure, future generations will look at you with mockery and scorn because of bigger scandals — Benghazi, the IRS targeting conservatives, Obamacare, the birth control mandate and your attacks on religious liberty, spying on journalists, arming terrorists overseas, Fast and Furious, the crony green energy scams, the bailouts, your support for infanticide, the billions you’ve given to the abortion industry, your cowardice in refusing to address the Gosnell murders, your reckless exploitation of the Zimmerman trial, the out of control deficit spending, your refusal to enforce immigration laws, the massive expansion of the Welfare State, the lies, the broken promises, etc — but I think, in an understated way, what you’ve done this week is a better microcosm of your entire reign.
I’m not just referring to the fact that you are peddling the lie that “Republicans” have “shutdown the government,”when, in fact, they have attempted to pass several bills that would fund the government. Mr. President, you tell these fables to the trained seals in the media and your voting base, but you know darn well that any American with a capacity for critical thought will roundly reject this absurd narrative. YOU have chosen to “shut down” the government because you have made Obamacare the ultimate priority. You have said, “Obamacare or nothing,” and then accused Republicans of being the “hostage takers.” They are holding the government hostage by trying to fund it? What a silly idea. But then, you are a silly, ridiculous president. Speaking of which, this takes us right to your defining moment: barricading memorials and monuments in a ploy to win an argument.
Comparatively insignificant when stacked up against your war crimes and constitutional infringements, but it is nonetheless an apt illustration. The Lincoln Memorial is just a giant statue. There isn’t any reason why people shouldn’t be able to look at a statue during a government shutdown. In past shutdowns, the memorials were open, with only the information centers closing down. The Lincoln Memorial has never been completely closed off from the public until now. You have decided to spend money to block and guard open-air monuments, when it would be cheaper, require less staff, and be less onerous to simply leave them be. Is this some sort of bizarre punitive measure against the American taxpayer?
Infamously, you even attempted to stop WW2 veterans from visiting the WW2 memorial. That memorial is mostly privately funded, and is open 24 hours a day. You SPENT MONEY to physically guard the monument from a group of elderly war veterans. This is truly unprecedented. We have had horrible presidents in the past, but none quite so shallow, cheap and contemptible. You tried to close down Mt. Vernon, which is privately funded, but had to settle for closing its parking lot — even though the parking lot requires no immediate on-going maintenance or surveillance from any federal workers. Did you have to shut down the Normandy cemetery and memorial? Are we saving money that way? I doubt it.
It’s the same game you played during the sequester, and it comes as no surprise to those of us who pay attention (which means it came as a surprise to a large number of people). Rather than leading like a statesman, you hide in the shadows; scheming, conniving, exploiting. You emerge only to make hyper-partisan speeches, with rhetoric best left to Democratic talking heads on afternoon cable news shows. Far from being a “new kind of politician” (as you were advertised), you are the most political politician this country has ever seen. You are political to your core, in your essence, at an atomic level, and so you are unable to offer any direction or clarity when the nation needs it most. Sometimes, Mr. President, the affairs of this nation require a man, not a politician, and it is during those times that you are especially useless. You don’t have any interest in fixing our present crisis because you’re too busy finding ways to keep a busload of 90-year old war veterans from looking at a memorial.
Closing down parks, monuments and memorials just to score political points is hardly your most insidious deed, but it’s certainly one of your pettiest. That’s why it stands, ironically, as a monument of its own. If we ever build a statue of you, Mr. President, you won’t be triumphantly holding a flaming torch like Lady Liberty, or standing authoritatively with a look of determination, like the MLK memorial. No, it will be a statue of you pulling the wings off of a fly, or spitting in someone’s orange juice. It will show you in your essence, as monuments are meant to do. It will show you as a petulant, skulking, juvenile bully. It will show you as you are.
And we’ll make sure it’s always open, especially during a government shut down.