I just checked the mailbox, the real mailbox, where real mail is dropped off by a real person who walks down the real sidewalk distributing real letters and magazines and ads. That one.
First thing to catch my eye: a direct mail piece in a long white envelope. It’s a letter from someone named Barack Obama. His title apparently is President. Envelope doesn’t say what of.
Anyway. In big type, bigger than the to or from address, is a question:
Do you still have my back?
Do I still have….
Wait a minute. Now I recall. That’s the Barack Obama who’s President of the United States. Okay, got it.
So, he wants to know if I still have his back.
First of all, there’s a whiff of childish petulance about that question. “Do you still like me?” it seems to ask. “Will you help me deal with those mean kids over there in Congress?”
One way to answer is with an echo. Tell me, Mr. President, do you still have my back? After all, you have more power, prestige, and public attention than I ever will. How’s about you having my back?
But throwing the same question back is not an honest and meaningful answer. What I think I’ll ask instead is something like this:
Mister President, do you still have your own backbone?
If so, go out and kick some ass. If you need targets, you could start with immigration reform. What about voter suppression laws? Confront financiers and their felonious sleight-of-hand. You tell me you absolutely have to to launch drones? Drop a barrel bomb on Assad. And if you really really want to make points, confront climate change and income disparity head-on, balls-to-the-wall.
There will be repercussions. You’ll lose your place at the cool kids’ table, the one where the money is, where the big shots with smiling faces and the historians with book contracts and the major and minor demagogues and the kleptocrats and banksters are.
What you do with them is, you tell them you’re outta there, and they should go piss up a rope for all you care. They don’t like it, tough shit.
You want support from me, from my sort, you gotta come down and sit at our table, play our side of the field. Maybe you lose. Go home with your pockets empty. But you go with your head held high. Right at the top of a ram-rod backbone.