FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Inauguration Ad Nauseum

by CHRISTOPHER KETCHAM

The American presidency in its outward show and innermost tendency has since World War II increasingly shown all the markings of monarchy. The president is hovered over and catered to by hundreds of aids and sycophants, his every whim answered at notice. He enjoys a private army in the guise of the paramilitaries in the intelligence agencies. He lives in a “White House” that is itself a court contained in a bubble where the troubles of the average man cannot penetrate. He certainly does not walk often among the people, but when he does, he allows the people to touch him as they would a king, the black-suited guard walling him off, his contempt expressed in direct proportion to the ceremony, noise, trumpets, curtains, light, music, and entertainments meant to ensure that we understand this is no mere man but an ur-expression of power itself.

Hence, the pomp of the presidential inauguration, which now, under Barack Obama, is expected to become the most expensive in US history. One estimate is that the total cost for the festivities of January 20, and in the days running up to it and after, will rise above $150 million. (By contrast, the 2005 swearing-in of George W. Bush, as profligate an executive as ever imagined, cost $42 million.) Of the $150 million budgeted to handle the millions of people who will descend on Washington, and to finance the lavish parties, the assignations in backrooms, the dying lobsters and the champagne uncorked, just $45 million — an obscene sum alone — has been offered up by private donors. The rest, which includes an emergency $75 million requested from the federal government by the city of DC for transportation costs and for the ever-effective bugaboo of “security,” will be drawn from the pockets of taxpayers. We the people will also fund a mass prayer service as the cherry on top.

Oh happy day! Thus doth Change descend among us in the same old purple raiment and with the smiling largesse that the peons pay for. January 20 is a historic wasted opportunity. Obama might have signaled real change from the outset by canceling the whole rotten affair as the waste and silliness and ostentation that it is. Instead, a simple address, televised or better yet on radio, would have sufficed. Something like the following: “My fellow Americans, this is no time for frivolity. The country is falling down around our ears! The reason is mostly because we have blown our money in bad investments, whether it be in war or on Wall Street or on Main Street. Let’s not flush millions of dollars more down the toilet in self-congratulation and the flatus of long speeches. Nuff said. See you tomorrow when the work begins.” Click.

CHRISTOPHER KETCHAM writes for Vanity Fair, GQ, Harper’s and many other magazines, and is currently working on a book, “The United States Must End,” which advocates the dissolution of the US. He can be reached at cketcham99@mindspring.com.

 

 

 

More articles by:

Christopher Ketcham is a freelance writer.  You can write him at cketcham99@mindspring.com or see more of his work at christopherketcham.com.

Weekend Edition
February 23, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Richard D. Wolff
Capitalism as Obstacle to Equality and Democracy: the US Story
Paul Street
Where’s the Beef Stroganoff? Eight Sacrilegious Reflections on Russiagate
Jeffrey St. Clair
They Came, They Saw, They Tweeted
Andrew Levine
Their Meddlers and Ours
Charles Pierson
Nuclear Nonproliferation, American Style
Joseph Essertier
Why Japan’s Ultranationalists Hate the Olympic Truce
W. T. Whitney
US and Allies Look to Military Intervention in Venezuela
John Laforge
Maybe All Threats of Mass Destruction are “Mentally Deranged”
Matthew Stevenson
Why Vietnam Still Matters: an American Reckoning
David Rosen
For Some Reason, Being White Still Matters
Robert Fantina
Nikki Haley: the U.S. Embarrassment at the United Nations
Joyce Nelson
Why Mueller’s Indictments Are Hugely Important
Joshua Frank
Pearl Jam, Will You Help Stop Sen. Tester From Destroying Montana’s Public Lands?
Dana E. Abizaid
The Attack on Historical Perspective
Conn Hallinan
Immigration and the Italian Elections
George Ochenski
The Great Danger of Anthropocentricity
Pete Dolack
China Can’t Save Capitalism from Environmental Destruction
Joseph Natoli
Broken Lives
Manuel García, Jr.
Why Did Russia Vote For Trump?
Geoff Dutton
One Regime to Rule Them All
Torkil Lauesen – Gabriel Kuhn
Radical Theory and Academia: a Thorny Relationship
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: The Work of Persuasion
Thomas Klikauer
Umberto Eco and Germany’s New Fascism
George Burchett
La Folie Des Grandeurs
Howard Lisnoff
Minister of War
Eileen Appelbaum
Why Trump’s Plan Won’t Solve the Problems of America’s Crumbling Infrastructure
Ramzy Baroud
More Than a Fight over Couscous: Why the Palestinian Narrative Must Be Embraced
Jill Richardson
Mass Shootings Shouldn’t Be the Only Time We Talk About Mental Illness
Jessicah Pierre
Racism is Killing African American Mothers
Steve Horn
Wyoming Now Third State to Propose ALEC Bill Cracking Down on Pipeline Protests
David Griscom
When ‘Fake News’ is Good For Business
Barton Kunstler
Brainwashed Nation
Griffin Bird
I’m an Eagle Scout and I Don’t Want Pipelines in My Wilderness
Edward Curtin
The Coming Wars to End All Wars
Missy Comley Beattie
Message To New Activists
Jonah Raskin
Literary Hubbub in Sonoma: Novel about Mrs. Jack London Roils the Faithful
Binoy Kampmark
Frontiersman of the Internet: John Perry Barlow
Chelli Stanley
The Mirrors of Palestine
James McEnteer
How Brexit Won World War Two
Ralph Nader
Absorbing the Irresistible Consumer Reports Magazine
Cesar Chelala
A Word I Shouldn’t Use
Louis Proyect
Marx at the Movies
Osha Neumann
A White Guy Watches “The Black Panther”
Stephen Cooper
Rebel Talk with Nattali Rize: the Interview
David Yearsley
Market Music
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail