The Emperor’s New Clothes

As commentary ensues re President Obama’s address to the nation last night and today’s memories of September 11, 2001, I keep remembering that old story of the Emperor and his new clothes. You know the one? Where the Emperor is conned about this fabulous wardrobe he commissions. All around him, his nobles, his servants glance nervously at one another – they can see nothing new or old – the Emperor is stark naked. Such is the power of the Emperor, no one dares to tell him he is unclothed… The Emperor strides boldly out to his people and parades proudly before men, women, and children lining the streets. Silence falls more and more along the passage of the Emperor until, very sharp and clear in air, a small boy pipes up, “Mama, that man is naked!”

I watched and listened to the President’s speech and felt as though I was in the palace of the Emperor. The tenor, the tone, the actual words were lifted, many of them, from addresses and speeches made by President Bush. I actually started to laugh as he went on. In the aftermath, the talking heads said what a fantastic address it was. Some quietly noted the similarity to President George W. Bush’s speeches. Ain’t it marvelous that he pulled content and meaning from the very man he has blamed for all his woes for the past six years? And the Democrats don’t even blink. “What a brilliant speech!” He’s their man, so this new hawkish President is right on the money. “Mama, that man is naked!”

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