Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson

Closed last weekend of taking our nephew out in Manhattan with new musical to Broadway, Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson.

This rock musical decked out the theater in all kinds of color and props. It created  a great environment with so much to see. Like other shows: re Passing Strange the show has a post-modern veneer that disrupts the fourth wall.

It is filled with imagery and songs that play with the 19th century but says more about today. This is what political junkies will love.

The politician as celebrity that the show evokes says a lot about Sarah Palin as does Jackson’s evoking of a populist campaign style and language. The New York Times critic and my relatives focused on this part to see the show has having much to say about the Tea Party.

That is one reading of the opening song, Populism. The anger of the characters in Bloody Bloody validates the link to the Tea Party.

More intriguing is that the show illustrates the lack of a  populist language coming from the political left.  Jackson’s party spoke for a greater inclusion of the common man (white non-landholding male) in the political process. This was for the expansion of democracy, certainly a trait commonly found on the political left. The “people” believed he was speaking for them as one of them!

The lack of left leaning populist language makes me think of a different current political figure. Barrack Obama talked the language of helping the middle class on the campaign trail in a poetic manner. Yet, there was hardly the feeling of boots on the ground: a deep rooted support among the people that he was speaking for them as one of them that also carried the intensity of wanting to go to the wall with this politician. Jackson had that in reality and in this play.

Indeed, Obama has rarely used populist language as President to push his agenda. The media and other elites have warned him away from using class warfare language. The choice to do so has been part of the limits that have made him unable to generate excitement among the middle class, the people, even the base.

Even member of the Progressive Era elite, Franklin Delano Roosevelt as President attacked the mendacity and organized thievery of financial institutions. Obama has been lukewarm in his condemnation of these things among today’s Wall Streeters. His Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission have hardly pursued the criminal aspects of the banks, the Wall Streeters, and others in the financial worlds.

Why is this so? Could this be because Jackson was a member of the common people class. A man who quit the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate after a single year. What group is Obama a member of? Did voters expect him as a child of raised by a single mother and a former community activist to have sympathies for the poor and middle classes?

Is he not a member of the New Elite? American Enterprise Institute scholar describes this new elite as attending the same Ivy League schools as the older elite, working in finance or consulting, living in isolated areas in a small number of the U.S.’s biggest cities and not being aware of the same cultural events and people as the majority of Americans.

Hell, many will probably be in Washington DC next week for the Jon Stewart Rally. Jon Stewart, who one member of the media elite praised for making him laugh as the person who sits in the back in of the room and shoots spit balls at the goofy “Conservatives” and politicians like former President George Bush. My questions: Was it really that hard to take pop shots at Bush and weren’t the shooters of spitballs disruptive to the class and bullies in school? How is that funny?

Aren’t the people who supported Andrew Jackson and the people who expected more from Obama, tired of the spitball shooters as much as the targets?

Bloody Bloody illuminates the savior aspect of Jackson’s persona. Here, the political analog might be a Tea Party figure. However, a stronger argument can be advanced for 2008’s Barrack Obama. Jackson’s campaign offered in the play offers people change and hope.

The play shows him struggling with Congress, the Supreme Court, and even his supporters, as he attempts to make decisions to affect positive change. Doesn’t that sound familiar. The play seems to emphasize these struggles, making the analogy to the sitting President more obvious.

Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson left me wondering about the differences when a politicians supporters embrace his language as speaking for them as opposed to supporters who look on the politician as a savior.


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