President Obama's Porpoise Show

When I was in elementary school back in the early 1960's, I remember my entire 5th grade class going on a fun field trip to Brookfield Zoo.  The highlight of the trip was something that had only come recently to the zoo, and that was the Porpoise Show.

I remember the Porpoise Show audience being virtually all teachers and students, and the whole lot of us sitting together shoulder to shoulder like sardines in a can. I remember the porpoise tricks, the leaps, the playing with the ball, and the intentional and playful splashing, all to the delight of the crowd. Most of all, I remember studying the trainer with his voice commands and hand signals to the porpoises awaiting instruction.  I remember the trainer's nearby bucket and the fish chunk rewards he liberally doled out to each porpoise after every trick.  "How cool to be a porpoise trainer," I thought.

When the show was over the crowd filed out, passing near the edge of the pool. As fate would have it, I was able to get the attention of one of the porpoises. I raised my right hand to shoulder height and, pretending I had a piece of fish between my closed fingers, I began a horizontal zigzag motion with my wrist.  To my shock and astonishment, the porpoise began vertically rising out of the water.  With my classmates screaming and my teacher turning menacingly to see whom it was causing the commotion, I lowered my hand down by my side as quickly as I could and the porpoise correspondingly dropped in the water.

The excitement was over as fast as it had begun.  But what I remember most of the incident was the porpoise watching me as I filed out of the complex with the rest of my classmates.  I could swear that porpoise was giving me the dirtiest of looks for not having tossed him his duly earned fish chunk.

Looking back at my experience, I see it as a type of metaphor for today's political situation.  I see the porpoise trainer as President Barack Obama, the audience representing the world, and the porpoises in the pool as the American people.

Plucked from the freedom of some vast ocean and to the cheers and delight of the world, President Barack Obama is taking away our liberties and training us to be world pleasers, rather than world leaders. Look how entertaining we can be with every trick he gets us to perform.  Through his techniques of behavior modification, look how he weakens our military, takes over our banks, our auto companies, and before you know it, our health care! Watch us jump through his hoops and make a big splash. Do what he says and get your fresh stimulus fish chunk handouts. Be careful though. If you do not perform to his liking or choose to cause trouble, you might just go without. 

So where do the antics of a ten-year-old boy at a porpoise show fit into this metaphor?  In a manner of speaking, the little boy and his corresponding porpoise are the ghosts of Obama and America yet to come, should the Obama presidency continue on its present course. As things are going, America really will become just another nation in a world of nations. The American people will have little left to give and the President will really have no fish chunks left to offer. What was once a grown man with a bucket of fish demanding tricks will instead be a little boy at poolside raising his closed empty hand in a zigzag motion with nothing worthwhile to offer.  What was once a free porpoise living in a great ocean will instead be a frustrated fish in a pool waiting for the fish chunk gratuity that will never come.

Ebenezer Scrooge once asked, "Are these the shadows of things that will be, or are they shadows of things that may be, only?" If things continue as they are going for another three to, heaven forbid, seven years,  we are going to find ourselves as trained porpoises in a little swimming pool without the freedoms we once enjoyed, and with nothing to show for our silly tricks.

As for myself, I prefer my poolside view to be outside the pool.