It’s what we do to show approval in a public way. We show our approval by clapping our hands together. Depending upon the degree of approval we wish to express, this can range from a few polite claps to a crescendo of applause that begins to feed upon itself and can go on and on until – fuggetaboutit.
We clap when a speaker is introduced and starts to speak – and we clap when he says something with which we agree – and we clap most vigorously when he finishes his presentation and returns to his seat.
We often clap without a reason, when we don’t know what else to do. It’s sort of like a nervous habit to occupy our hands. When we get impatient in expectation as we wait for a performance to begin, we join others in cadence clapping. When a “Wheel of Fortune” contestant is deciding whether to ask for a vowel or a consonant, we clap. When she spins the wheel, we clap. Whether she wins or loses, we clap.
We clap for noise, we clap for silence and we clap for everything in between. We are a nation that lives to applaud something - - anything. It’s our way of letting it be known that ‘we are there’, wherever ‘there’ is. We want to be seen to ‘get it’. Some of us, hereafter known as, ‘Applause Leaders’, want it to be known that we understand the joke being uttered by a comic and began to clap in anticipation of the punch line. We are also prescient listeners who appreciate the special talents of a musical performer and can’t wait to applaud before anyone else in the audience does. I plead guilty to that one.
We have a need to be recognized; “Hey, look at me.” We want performers to know that we appreciate what they are doing to entertain us. And, that’s a good thing but, some folks are unable to stop there. If we were to analyze why we sometimes leap to our feet, whistle, make noise and applaud as loudly as we can - we might understand that while we do so in appreciation of an outstanding performance, we also do it because secretly, we really, really want to be recognized as part of the show.
I’m guessing this last reason very likely explains the annoying phenomenon witnessed recently, as Members of a Joint Session of the Congress assembled beneath the Capitol Dome to listen to the President deliver his Second Inaugural Address.
From the moment the Clerk entered the Chamber and shouted, “Mr. Speaker, Mr. Speaker – The President of the United States”, the entire room full of Senators, Representatives and their guests, were in a continuous state of applause. They clapped and clapped until their hands reddened and turned numb. The applause was only interrupted by brief periods of ‘articulate’ speech and calculated pauses from the President as he droned on and on, delivering his litany of Christmas Gifts to the People of the United States. As Big Mack Daddy-in-Chief, he presented a grab-bag full of dreamy gifts for ‘us chillen’. Quite a number of his ‘gifts’ were un-requested and unwanted by ‘us chillen’. We know what we want and we know what we need, and it isn’t Government ordained repairing and repainting of bridges to nowhere.
We need real jobs - a concept that is totally alien to this ‘president’. He simply doesn’t understand what a job is, how jobs are created, who creates them, what it means to get one, have one or keep one. It ain’t the Government and it ain’t Unions. It is my sincere belief that ‘barackHUSSEINobama’ is physiologically incapable of grasping that notion.
So much of what ‘Daddy’ promised us made no sense. So many of the pie-in-the-sky programs and projects he touted are totally unnecessary. And, very little of what he was blowing his horn about could be calculated to boost the economy – by any stretch.
But, he did accompany each ‘solution’ with a clearly-articulated explanation. Problem was - as is most often the case when Obama’s ‘esplains’ what he means - he was spouting gobbledygook. None, nada, zilch of what he ‘esplained’ could survive even the most cursory exposure to logical understanding. As usual when this ‘president’ attempts to explain his twisted reasoning, logic becomes the casualty. None of what he says makes sense. That is - if the commonly understood definition of ‘the word, ‘sense’ is applied.
None the less, bursts of applause erupted and the entire audience of ‘Jumping Jacks’ & ‘Jumping Jills’ popped up & down as each ‘public gift’ was read from the list by Actor-in-Chief ‘barackHUSSEINobama’. He promised everyone in America something. He told them what he thought they wanted to hear. And he told them he was working hard to provide them with fair and balanced lives – even if this meant leveling the playing field by taking from the rich and giving to the poor. The actor in ‘obama’ loves playing the role of, Robin Hood-in-Chief.
There were no specific price tags mentioned but we were given to understand that none of his gifts would cost one additional dime out of our pockets. All would be paid for by taxing others, especially the filthy rich 1%. And, it would be paid for with great gobs of money saved by pulling our troops out of unpleasant wars in the Middle East. And best of all, it would be paid for with the million$ and billion$ that will be saved when the spectacularly brilliant 2000+ page ObamaCare is fully implemented. Seems to me that there were some gaping holes in his explanations but hey, that’s just me. The audience exploded on cue with their wildly enthusiastic applause. What’s not to love? . .
Whether this President was uttering veiled racism or mouthing blatantly divisive blasts against Republicans, each remark was followed by applause. Whether he was spouting class warfare by pitting one group of us against another or promising to do end-runs around the Congress in order to provide gifts for ‘the hard-working middle class’ and the ‘hard-working unemployed’; each remark was followed by applause.
Whether he was attempting to justify his choices of second-rate nominees to fill several vacancies at the nation’s highest, most sensitive agencies - or just smirking his smarmy-best smirks, each pronouncement or smirk brought down the house. The applause was non-stop. How sincere was it? As they say on FOX, “We’ll applaud, you decide.”
In my judgment, some of this is the kind of nervous applause generated by a driving need on the part of ‘some people’, to be viewed as belonging to the influential Inner Circle. Or maybe, it was applause that was actually an involuntary response to what they perceived as meaningful points being preached from the Bully Pulpit.
Sadly for the state of our nation, it was all pure B.S.
In my mind’s ear, I imagined hearing a barely perceptible sigh of relief emanating from the walls of that Chamber when it was finally emptied of raucous chatter, with lights turned off and with a blissful silence having been returned - at long last.
As I’ve become so fond of quoting myself - “All’s well that ends!”
MORT KUFF © 2-17-2013