“Ulysses Grant in his throw-away lines—in his throw-away life—kept trying to get people to see the colossal sick joke,” writes biographer William McFeely. “All you do is take the nicest guy on the block—the one who won’t be diverted by the dreams of vainglory or revenge or the sense of masochism—and knowing he is not good for much else, let him act on the bald fact that war means killing the guy on the other side, or at least scaring him badly enough that he will quit fighting.”
Grant alternately spent his life basking in the adulation of crowds or apologizing to himself for finding his calling in war.
Like Nobel, he tried to make amends.
He is remembered today, like Churchill, as a great man.
Obama, however, has no throw-away lines.
He does have Grant’s throw-away life.
That’s because Obama can’t see his own colossal sick joke: He was bestowed the presidency not because of the ascendancy of his ideas, but because of ascendancy of his race. And his race is political device, not a moral one.
The presidency, for Americans, has been a gift from a repentant nation, still ignoring the wrongs that took a great civil war to even begin to acknowledge.
And mixed amongst the national psyche, now merged with Barack Obama’s ego, is vainglory, revenge and masochism.
Alfred Nobel was a noble man and a smart one.
Winston Churchill was a strong man and just one.
Ulysses Grant was a determined man who tried to make himself a good man and succeeded.
Each understood that while peace is the ideal condition, there are worse things than war, real war.
Each was known for war, but their most lasting legacy was one of peace.
Obama understands none of it. He learns nothing from life that he doesn’t already know.
And that’s why he’s the only guy who still doesn’t get the colossal sick joke.
He got a prize though.
But the joke’s still on him: These days, everyone gets a prize.