Monday, January 19, 2009

US 1549 as political symbolism

I've been wondering why a liberal political blog like Talking Points Memo has spent so much time writing about the US Airways crash.

At first I thought it was just because it was an obviously dramatic human interest story, and one happening right outside their offices, to boot. But I've also just realized that part of the fascination of the story is its latent political symbolism. This story is a metaphor not only for what the Obama administration faces, but also for the hopes that the country is investing in him.

George Bush and the GOP are effectively handing over the country in a state not that different from a plane where both the engines have gone out at low altitude. Obama's task -- his "historic opportunity" as the pundits like to say -- is to make the cool decisions that can bring the country down for a soft landing where no one gets seriously injured, rather than flame-balling into a heavily populated urban center.

If the perfect political symbol of the Bush years was Cheney's preemptive shotgunning of his friend, then the miraculous landing of US 1549 is the perfect political symbol of the country's current hopes for Obama.

2 comments:

zachawry said...

Something similar occurred to me a couple days ago when this happens. "If Bush was still (effective) president, that crash would have killed all aboard." Utter nonsense, of course, but that's the zeitgeist.

zachawry said...

Err..."happened"