One of the most exciting clichés in the English language is “Thinking outside the box”!
Who among us has not thought, “If only I could think outside the box, like Gates and Jobs and Zuckerberg! If only! Then rainbows wouldn’t be something I’m constantly chasing. They’d be more like house pets, curled up in my lap, changing colors on demand.” Then you return to your inside-the-box mode, where you seem to be serving a life sentence. Soon you get over your “box fit.” Then you learn that the man who got the idea of putting wrinkles into hairpins became a multi-millionaire. Then you feel rotten again.
Actually all of us can go outside-the-box for something, maybe not profitably, but maybe you’ve hit upon some fruitful trick you learned along the way. Outside-the-box is a coveted destination. Let’s go there together on a topic that unites us all: the inexplicable mess America is in. It’s inexplicable only if you insist on remaining inside the box.
My wife, Sara, and I were married the year Obama was elected. He seemed to me to be doing so many things that damaged America.
Refusing tax cuts, even though presidents Coolidge, Reagan and both Bushes proved tax-cutting increases revenue.
Ridiculing the very concept of slashing expenses.
Strangling small business with over-regulation.
Making sure “the rich” were re-introduced as official “enemies of the people,” a little like the Jews were in Hitler’s Germany and East Indians were in Idi Amin’s Uganda.
Billions after bad billions squandered in “green” ventures.
The transmogrification of health-care inadequacies into health-care disasters, both medical and economic.
Sara said something like, “You’re assuming Obama wants a better economy and a better America. I don’t assume any such thing!” I began to wonder where she hid her tinfoil millinery. “Liberate your mind,” Sara advised. “Give it wings, give it permission to fly. I believe Obama is at heart a Marxist who wants American capitalism to fail!”
I think I lost my audio. My mind couldn’t stretch that way. I remember Wendell Willkie, Tom Dewey, Adlai Stevenson, Richard Nixon (1960), Barry Goldwater, Hubert Humphrey, George McGovern, Jerry Ford – even those losers were patriotic Americans who wanted the best for us.
Sara then reminded me of an old radio show somebody had reincarnated from the days when Obama was running for the Illinois Senate, in which the host asked how he felt about the Constitution. “… the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties,” said Obama. “Says what the states can’t do to you. Says what the federal government can’t do to you, but doesn’t say what the federal government or state government must do on your behalf.”
That was the giveaway. Sara had never been closer to communism than when visiting her niece in West Germany. (That’s West Germany!) I’d spent as much of my journalistic life as possible in every communist country I could get into. Sara seized the tick of Obama’s heartbeat. I missed it.
Once your little bird of a brain learns to fly, help it zoom. Are you ready for more altitude? Let’s say you give in to Sara’s theory that Obama is a Marxist at heart and wants American capitalism to collapse. I envisioned an evil goatee-stroking revolutionary plotting sedition from his mysteriously gained perch in the Oval Office.
No. Soar higher!
Can you escape the “Box” sufficiently to conclude that, far from an evil revolutionary bomb-thrower such as was pictured in American cartoons in the 1920s, Obama sincerely believes capitalism is harmful to America and – in his mind – he’s courageously helping America by speeding the collapse of capitalism!?
Could Adolf Hitler have viewed himself as a liberator? Hardly. His conquests were too disparate. He conquered monarchies and military dictatorships as well as progressive democracies.
I have interesting news, however. Though an absurd camera-mugger who deserved the taunt “the Sawdust Caesar,” Italy’s Benito Mussolini did consider himself a do-gooder and so did many victims of his aggression! You’re advised to confirm this with your Libyan and Ethiopian friends somewhere outside those countries and in a low voice. Their educated classes will admit that whatever is modern in those countries was brought by the Italian invaders. With Albanians, however, you need not tiptoe. If Albanians nearby get the drift of what you’re talking about they’ll stage a Mussolini rally on the spot.
The Albanians hated their King Zog and welcomed Mussolini’s troops, who built them a modern capital. Mussolini may have made Italian trains run on time, but he gave Albania its first railroad!
When no less an economic and business authority than Doug Johnson (author of “No Tomorrows: How to Halt America’s Imminent Collapse and Return to the American Dream”) said on radio word for word what my wife, Sara, had said about Obama, I went into the parlor and surrendered to Sara my sword in capitulation.
I’m not that nice a guy, but I’m a deep believer in Ogden Nash’s recipe for a good marriage:
To keep your marriage brimming,
Drink deep from the loving cup.
And when you’re wrong, admit it,
And when you’re right, shut up!