I simply couldn’t bring myself to listen to the president last night. I honor the office, or want to. Honor implies some sort of trust and I cannot find that in myself any longer. I did not listen last night because I cannot stand to hear the president of our nation offer full whoppers about the state of the union. It makes me cry.

This morning, of course, the news is full of commentary on the speech. What I read in the more conservative press was bound to be very negative, so I didn’t read that. The straight news offered me absurdities like the president talking about creating jobs while raising the minimum wage. Doesn’t that mean that jobs are bound to be fewer, with employment dollars spread even more thinly? On top of that, isn’t Obamacare bound to cause a hidden increase in the cost of employing anyone? I’ve heard that each employee will carry about $3 per employee hour just to pay for the new healthcare coverage that we absolutely have to have. Who can afford to hire anyone? What I have read about raising the minimum wage is that eventually the economy absorbs the increase with the inevitable result of making products and services cost more. The dollar adjusts and is worth less. This will have the happy result of making the national debt and the deficit feel lighter. Please, someone tell me I am wrong.

I was giving myself a headache reading the news. I’ll listen to the radio, I thought. I have housework to do. During busy work I often listen to National Public Radio. Good, I thought. They will give me a positive spin on the president’s speech. I did hear plenty of highlights of the president and the news was about the various promises President Obama was making. The female voices of the Morning Edition positively chirped. Despite their cheer, the pattern of my thought as I listened was this: “How is this going to work, if that is true?” For example, how can the president promise this and that benefit while claiming to reduce the deficit? Foreign policy has the same kind of pattern. Of course, I could not stop listening.

Ah! Finally came the NPR Morning Edition analysis of the speech. That was what I was waiting for, a positive spin on anything President Obama says that pretends to be intelligent. Steve Inskeep and NPR reporters are bound to offer the silver lining to the clouds I see going forward. (I do get to feeling like Eeyore on a gloomy day.) Today, no, they do not. Even those guys seemed stunned by the — I want to say bald-faced lies, but they used much softer words. The pattern of their thought was also, “How is this going to work, if that is true?” and worse, “That is not true and this seems unlikely to work, as a result.”

Hopeless. I am left hopeless. Maybe it will take a couple of days for the spin on the State of the Union speech to work around to something positive. I will probably only hear or read that secondhand. Unless this proves the rare occasion in politics when both the Left and the Right agree that the president has worked the union into such a state that only in lying about it can he make any public statement about it. I should be watching for that agreement as an agreeable development. Can I stand to listen?

Note: while washing the dishes and listening to the news, I grabbed a knife by the wrong end. The cut on my finger has not stopped bleeding and I now notice that I have blood all over my keyboard. I note that, as it seems somehow apropos. This is what writing feels like lately, bleeding on the keyboard. And it seems to me that conservative postmodernism eschews bandaids.

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Articles by Kate Pitrone

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