No, not Marie Antoinette. Too clichéd and too . . . ancient. Rather, Michelle Obama’s opulent life rekindles fond memories of Imelda Marcos. Imelda Marcos was the wife of Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos. Marcos was more a dictator than a president. Another parallel. In 1986, the Filipinos and the world had enough. Marcos was deposed and Imelda’s extravagance exposed.
Imelda Marcos’s closet contained 2,700 pairs of shoes. That’s a different pair of shoes every day for 7.3 years. Undoubtedly, some would have gone out of style by the time she got to them. Others would have come back in.
In this post-Great Recession era, we’re told consumerism no longer is about things about experiences. The super rich, the executive class, and the wanna-bes don’t buy more than is necessary; they do more than is necessary.
Since taking office, the Obamas have vacationed like a Fortune 500 CEO given a year to live. Obama is on a mission to have slept in more places than George Washington. The overseas record has already fallen.
In 1986, Lance Morrow wrote an essay about Imelda Marcos’s shoes for Time.
Consider her profligacy in another way. What is the purpose of riches? To buy freedom--to purchase choices, immunities from the will of others, or of fate. If Imelda kept a collection of 2,700 pairs of shoes, it was not because (as some candle-snuffing moralists might think) she should be expected to wear them all, and must be judged a wastrel if she did not, but because the 2,700 pairs gave her options. Her step no doubt grew lighter in the knowledge of such freedom. Did she display her shoes the way that Jay Gatsby reveled in his wonderful shirts? Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,961002-2,00.html#ixzz0vxroQRww
Ironic, isn’t it? That Barack and Michelle Obama abuse their freedom even as they deny us ours. As they steal away your children’s futures, they flit about from Spain to Martha’s Vineyard.
The Obamas are using your money and mine to life a lifestyle unattainable from their chosen careers. Neither makes the kind of money required to live as they do at the taxpayer’s expense. They vilify the rich who earned the privilege of lives of leisure. But it’s okay for them to steal such lives from working people. And the unemployed.
Perhaps Obama knows that dusk is falling on his day in the sun. The Summer Solstice is more than a month behind us. In November, the American people—his subjects, as it were—will elect a new Congress. That Congress might very well clip his wings. He may want to get it all in before the music stops.
No matter his reasons, Obama has earned the scorn of the American people. During the Gulf oil spill, he golfed and giggled with celebrities. With 9.5 percent unemployment (and rising), he vacations or sends his family on $350,000 junkets. His determination to remain aloof has exposed his underlying arrogance.
About Marcos, Morrow wrote:
Christ said, "If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven." Marcos did not wish to wait. He turned Christianity upside down. He took nourishment from the mouths of the poor and transformed it into his treasure on earth. Such venality is not a matter of either Freud or metaphysics. It is just a brutal habit, the crocodile reflex of a man too long in power. It is a subdivision of the banality of evil.
Except for the time in power, the parallels are remarkable.