It's a humbling realization, but anybody aspiring to grow in wisdom must understand that he is but one of six and a half billion people on this blue orb, no more important than anybody else. Yet this is something that eludes many in a modern culture of self-esteem exercises, wherein children are sometimes raised as if the world revolves around them. And watching Michelle Obama's speech while lobbying the International Olympics Committee (IOC) on Chicago's behalf made it plain that she was -- and perhaps still is -- one of those children.
I'm not the first to note how thoroughly solipsistic the First Lady's speech was (Joe Gimenez did a very good job here). This is because it was so painfully obvious. She wasn't singing the praises of the Windy City; it was Windy Michelle talking about what may be her favorite topic: herself. Confusing advocacy with autobiography, it was I, I, I; her father this and her father that; how well she learned to throw and punch; how she played games as a girl; what she learned through sport; how she is a mother and a daughter (which we sort of discerned); ad infinitum. I half expected her at any moment to break into the chant, "Mm, mm, mm, Michelle LaVaughn Obama!" Now, not only is such self-centeredness a turn-off in general, I believe it's largely responsible for two specific mistakes the First Lady made. The first one was something Gimenez pointed out: her full-court press entitlement appeal. As to this, here is a sample of what she said:
But today, I can dream, and I am dreaming of an Olympic and Paralympic Games in Chicago that will light up lives in neighborhoods all across America and all across the world; that will expose all our neighborhoods to new sports and new role models; that will show every child that regardless of wealth, or gender, or race, or physical ability, there is a sport and a place for them, too.
Now, boiling her appeal down to its bare essence, what's she really saying? Answer: Give us the Olympics to help the poor children of Chicago. What's the problem with this?
Remember, many of the IOC members are from the Third World. Thus, doesn't this throw the poverty pitch into question? After all, if your concern is inspiring the poor children of a city and nation, why would you pick a major metropolis in the richest country in the world? I can just see a South American IOC member thinking, "You want to see poverty? I'll show you kids living in cardboard boxes on garbage dumps" or an African member grumbling to himself, "You think you know hardship? Take a look at the boy soldiers who were forced to shoot their own mothers and fight a guerilla war."
Then, discussing her father's influence in her life, the First Lady said, "And even as we watched my dad struggle to hold himself up on crutches, he never stopped playing with us. And he refused to let us take our abilities for granted. He believed that his little girl should be taught no less than his son. So he taught me how to throw a ball and a mean right hook better than any boy in my neighborhood."
Of course, her father did have a tremendous cross to bear, yet we still have to ask how such a story is received by people hailing from nations in which there's a dearth of potable drinking water. As for touting her feministic upbringing, did it ever occur to her that politically correct appeals may not have legs beyond the rarified air of the Western world?
But whether or not the above contributed to Chicago's Olympic hopes being dashed in the first round of voting, I doubt that such factors would have occurred to the First Lady. Why?
You see, a self-centered person would not only talk about himself constantly, he would also complain about having no shoes while failing to notice that the one he's addressing has no feet; he's the kind of person who would fail wonder if his dogmas were perhaps not shared by all.
And the First Lady has certainly found her solipsist-mate in her husband -- and this has been observed before. For example, Iain Martin wrote in the Telegraph.co.uk when critiquing Obama's April Prague speech, "But Obama was only warming up. ‘When I was born [Obama said],' (Everything usually leads back to him, you'll notice)... ‘the world was divided, and our nations were faced with very different circumstances. Few people would have predicted that someone like me would one day become an American President.' (Him again)..."
Martin closes his piece - which is titled "Barack Obama really does go on a bit" - by predicting, ". . . within a year or so he'll be marked down as a wind-bag."
Whether or not he ends up dubbed the Windy City Windbag, Obama certainly has a lot of company, as solipsism is a function of our secular age. This is because while God-fearing eyes look toward the heavens, secular eyes tend to look for the god within. And they tend to find it.
Or at least they think they do.
This explains why godless leftists are often windbags: While they bore everyone else to tears, they find themselves endlessly interesting. Just consider that Bill Clinton's memoirs, My Life, are nigh on 1000 pages; that communist sympathizer V.K. Krishna Menon holds the record for the longest U.N. speech ever, clocking in at almost 8 hours; that Fidel Castro himself bored a U.N. general assembly for 4 hours, 29 minutes; and that, when 2 hours into one of his later marathon efforts, he actually fainted (the audience was praying to be similarly afflicted).
Yet this self-centeredness is no joke. It perhaps partially (not completely, of course) explains why Obama parades around the world apologizing for America as if she is Star Wars' Galactic Empire, not realizing that most nations view such a thing as a sign of weakness. And how can such a man possibly read world leaders with vastly different conceptions of reality, such Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? Can Obama truly understand an apocalyptic world view? Does he realize that the Iranian leader is likely serious when he says he'd sacrifice half the population of Iran to wipe Israel off the map? It much reminds me of how some Soviet leaders in the 1980s actually believed the U.S. might launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike against their nation. Self-centered, out-of-touch leftists can't even read our Constitution properly, never mind others' intentions.
Self-centeredness isn't the only problem plaguing leftists, but it is one of many that make them a plague on us. And with them at the helm, we may lose more than just the Olympics.