The Martian in the White House

A Political Meditation by

Jay B Gaskill

Attorney at Law

Andrew Breitbart (1969-2012), the deceased journalist, still has a respected website.

The latest expose′ that is chronicled there is the discovery of a small biographical booklet of our president produced by his literary agency, Acton & Dystel – founded in 1976, in connection with a never-published autobiographical manuscript, titled –  Journeys in Black and White.

The Acton and Dystel agency distributed an Obama biographical description in a booklet in connection with Barry’s forthcoming book – Journeys in Black and White. The booklet begins with this line –

Barack Obama, the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review, was born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii.”

Andrew Breitbart and the affiliated journalists at did not and do not believe that Barry Obama was born in Kenya, just that he claimed to be.  From the Breitbart website –

Andrew Breitbart was never a “Birther,” and Breitbart News is a site that has never advocated the narrative of “Birtherism.” In fact, Andrew believed, as we do, that President Barack Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, on August 4, 1961.

The point of interest for them and me is Obama’s ever fluctuating image of himself.

The chameleon metaphor fails to aptly capture the fluctuating Obama phenomenon because the color-changing lizard retains its essential form as its body alters skin color to blend in. The fluctuating Obama persona seems to be something fundamentally different, the constant changing of one’s essential character in order to stand out, advancing one’s agenda of personal advancement by becoming the character that is expected and hoped for by others.

I believe that this explains how Obama was able to temporarily convince a number of moderate liberals and conservatives who were vehemently through with Bush II that candidate Obama was one of them.  For many of these otherwise intelligent men and women the spell has been broken…but a spell it was.

The latest kerfuffle over Obama’s evolution on gay issues is just one more attempt to cast a new spell, to become a new persona.  The problem with this sort of flux is that – to paraphrase Lincoln – you can “become someone” for some of the people some of the time, but you can’t keep it up for all of the people all of the time.

The quintessentially American literary giant, Ray Bradbury, demonstrated this problem in a compelling short story, part of his brilliant and poetic book, The Martian Chronicles. Earth colonists (whose lives evoke small town 1950’s LA) are beginning to live on Mars near the ruins of the mysterious, extinct Martians.  In the story, “the Martian”, one lonely and empathetic surviving Martian has the ability to appear as whatever person someone wants. The lost Martian attaches to a bereft family by morphing into their missing child.  The Martian is taken in and loved – no questions asked – but eventually wanders away.  At the tragic end of the story, we learn that the lonely Martian has been doing this for many other people – driven by loneliness and exile, it seemingly can’t help it.

At the end, the Martian is surrounded by a crowd of people, each of whom has lost someone. Different names are called out while the creature tries to morph into their conflicting expectations.  The Martian’s fatal flaw is that it wants to become the person someone is longing for because it cannot be true to itself without alienating the same person.

It is a poignant and tragic story.   But Americans are entitled to expect more than poignant tragedy in a leader, especially in a time of grave economic crisis.

The pro-Socratic Greek Heraclitus said that character is destiny.  But character is inspired, not installed like a computer program. Character is forged by trial, not played like a video game. Character is sustained by faith.  Yes, faith. All trust relationships are founded in faith. No institution, whether religious or secular, owns the patent.  Faith is open source software.  It was issued along with the human capacity for moral intelligence by the Author of the Moral Law.

Trust will determine the next election.  Character does not fluctuate.  And character is the gold standard of trust.


Copyright © 2012 by Jay B Gaskill, attorney at Law

First Published on The Policy Think Site and linked blogs.

As always, links, forwards and attributed quotations are welcome and encouraged.

For everything else, please contact the author by email –

Leave a Reply