January 23, 2009

Show of hands, Portlanders, please: Who among you over 40 wouldn’t be tempted by an 18 year old who found you attractive enough to get naked with?

This whole thing is not about power but about powerlessness: powerless to desire for Sam and equal stupidity for the City Council: When public services are being cut, how can City Fathers justify spending umpteen $$ to conduct an investigation of Mayor Adams? This is not power; it’s caving in to the mob.

The embarrassing part of the Sam story is the mob mentality of Portlanders. Everybody’s got a dark side. Leaders lead others but they seldom govern their own impulses. Power is always a compensation for powerlessness in the face of weaknesses. The ancients said character is destiny. They meant character FLAWS are destiny.

George Bush’s flawed character was his overwhelming desire to best Pappy Bush who had low expectations of his son. W took the country to war, led young Americans to their deaths, and still claims victory. Jacob Weisberg in The Bush Tragedy suggests that the reason Cheney became such a strong VP, the reason Karl Rove took over Bush’s brain, the reason Condi became so close to W, is that Bush needed to create an adoring family around him, which he absolutely didn’t have growing up.

The world is in love with Obama now, but sooner or later, we’ll deal with his demons, too. What are Obama’s demons? "It’s all about the father who abandoned him; he’s never gotten over it," adviser Samantha Power told me just before the Iowa primary. Obama too has tried to surpass his papa out of anger for his dad’s abandoning him. Obama’s demon may be pride—and we know where that goeth. If W was a modern version of Shakespeare’s Prince Hal who tried to prove himself by starting a bloody war, Obama may be Shakespeare’s Richard II. Richard II was a great poet but an ineffective king. And his pride got in the way of his judgments until he is humbled:

…whate’er I be,

Nor I, nor any man that but man is,
With nothing shall be pleas’d, till he be eas’d
With being nothing.

And Sam’s demon? Sam, like Obama, was raised mostly by a single mom and suffered the consequences of an absent and remote dad. Which Shakespearean power-demon does Sam have? Hamlet, perhaps? A prince who fights ghosts? Who’s always a little too angry? But who is also magisterially smart? Perhaps too smart?

Sam will survive this Breedlove tempest. He may be humbler and more vulnerable from it and thus stronger. Perhaps he’ll marry his amazing current partner, Peter Zuckerman, a brilliant journalist who is also young and completely adorable. Doing so will send a clear signal that he’s settled down.

The point is, don’t ask Sam to resign. Ask him to consider the issues of power. Perhaps he should hire a moral ombudsman to work pro bono at City Hall with the entire Council on difficult issues. A good education could come of this scandal for all Portlanders.

What do you think, Portlanders?

Filed under
Show Comments