My grandfather was about to take his second flight as he neared 70 years of age. It was the return leg of the first flight he’d ever taken and he was leaving Cleveland to return home. The year was 1968.
He had been a Teamster truck driver for 42 years, and was a leader in the notoriously violent 1934 Minneapolis riots, an event that was not only pivotal to Teamster growth, but solidification of union rights in general. When the company for whom he worked went bankrupt his pension benefits evaporated along with the corporation, and the Teamsters never gave him a red cent in compensation, deferred or otherwise. So much for getting his head cracked open by the goon squads whom by many accounts he nearly singularly helped defeat.
The details about the bloodsucking, self-serving, and criminal nature of the Teamsters can wait for another time, another column, or more likely a novel, because I told that story so I can relate another about the flight from Cleveland 44 years ago. Fortunately, security as we know it today with the ineptness of the TSA and Schutzstaffel-wannabe Janet Napolitano did not exist in those days so Grandpa was not sentenced to a remaining life of hard labor, nor was he deemed dispensable by an Obamacare death panel……….. To the very end he preached about doing things the right way, and remained fearless.
An announcement from the captain indicated the flight would be delayed due to mechanical problems, and Gramps, new to air travel like so many others of that era, saw a mechanic walking around the wing’s engine with one hand in his pocket and a huge, industrial size screwdriver in another, which caused him to do what he always did: take action.
In his inimitable manner he stood up in the cabin and said, “Ladies and gentlemen. If you look out any of the windows on the left side of the plane you will see a mechanic with a large screwdriver. I’m no genius, but I do know one thing, and that is that you can’t fix a jet engine with a screwdriver. I’m getting off this plane. Who’s with me?”
He was no longer the brute of a man he once was, but he still had a lion’s heart and was not afraid to confront what he believed to be wrong. He led almost 70 people off the plane that day, and when airport officials finally calmed the throng of people now gathered inside the terminal, the crowd was asked what caused the problem. My uncle was still at the airport, wishing some say to see his father’s plane take off, and their stories of what ensued were identical. Grandpa, ever the gentleman of those days in his Fedora, looked at the airport officials and stated his claim, and this time with some attitude, saying, “Nobody can fix a jet engine with a screwdriver and none of us are getting back on THAT plane,” and the passengers roared with approval.
Another plane was eventually located, and the story now rests in family lore.
Coincidentally and most unfortunately, that mechanic symbolizes Mr. Obama, who for all intents and purposes is so ineptly equipped to address the morass into which he has plunged this country, that he is the worker strolling around the engine of an old DC-9, somehow delusional enough to think he can fix the disaster he created with the equivalent of a simple hand tool.
We have a president who knowingly advocated imbecilic policies and is now suggesting more of the same as a remedy despite empirically proven to be wrong in practice and by long accepted economic dictums, which is either a sign that he is more than moderately unhinged, or that his and his wife’s self-professed hatred of the United States has morphed from attitudinal to pathological obsession, neither of which speaks of leadership. Instead of managing expectations for those to whom he has made unrealistic promises, he seeks to vilify an opponent who has legitimately succeeded in every walk of life in ways most of us can only dream. Mr. Obama doesn’t offer solutions because it is more expedient to attack than to present reasoned discourse, once again because he must cower from the fiasco that is his administration. Fomenting class warfare does not count seriously as a building block of statesmanship and instead is a cheap and superficial means at stirring emotions as opposed to educating his base about the realities the country faces, and accepting responsibility for his failures.
He conveniently ignores the destructive policies he along with a Pelosi and Reid-led Congress enacted without conscience or understanding about the inevitable consequences and lays blame lamely on his predecessor, while John Boehner remains immobiley puckered like a child in front of the principal for the first time, reluctant or unwilling to assign blame. If a finger should be pointed in any direction it should be at Reid and Pelosi, who managed Congress like drug lords from January of 2007 until the mid-term elections in late 2010 added ballast to an otherwise listing and rudderless ship of dream-sequence liberal schlock.
Mr. Obama does not suggest anything new because he is either disinclined or cowardly incapable. He cannot seriously ask for trust because he has performed in a most unsavory and duplicitous manner, yet he is not above somehow demanding it. Despite fawning media representations to the contrary, he does not have the mental capacity to strategize, model, or reason in the abstract, especially when compared to the depth of understanding and undeniable success of his opponent. Lobbing slanderous and libelous tear gas bombs as a methodology for reelection is neither dignified nor designed to suggest a path through which the entire country might follow and emerge, and his reliance on straight-up lies to ignite racial rancor is intellectual laziness with a goal of creating disharmony, once again to cover the warts that lie immediately beneath the faux finish of his paper-thin veneer. He desires to deflect attention away from himself by denigrating an opponent and assiduously refusing to discuss the paucity of his own ideas, a strategy which belittles the vaunted position of the presidency and one which reveals significant levels of weakness that are components of a person without character.
He is the bully in the pulpit, the tough guy on the playground, the neighborhood thug, but listening to the context of automatonic gibberish, he more frequently resembles a pull-string toy from Mattel with short cropped pants and beanie with propeller on top.
Or more accurately, a mechanic with one hand in his pocket and a screwdriver in the other.