Two days after he was elected President of the United States of America in 2008, President Elect Obama held a press conference in Chicago at which he announced plans to leave “Old America” immediately for a few days to meet with representatives of foreign nations and to begin forging the “Bonds of Justice” from which would emerge a “New America” and an “Age of Change”.
For the first time, Americans heard the terms that have since become so familiar: “Old America”, “New America”, “Bonds of Justice“, and “Age of Change”.
The President said that only House Speaker Pilosi and Senate Majority Leader Reid would accompany him on his trip and that Vice-President Elect Gore would remain home, “To keep an eye on the shop”, the President added with that good-natured, boyish grin we have all come to love so much.
The President’s party would make stops in Caracas, Nairobi, Damascus, Helsinki, Ottawa, and end with a visit to U.N. headquarters in New York City. They would return to Chicago in ten days.
Because of the delicate nature of the pending talks, the President requested that no reporters accompany him and that no reports on his trip be published. Of course, the media complied with the President’s request.
The Genesis of the Bamalute! ....
Just days after the election, as an understandable expression of elation at his victory, the people closest to the President adopted the informal practice of greeting each other with the right hand clenched in a fist, and the right arm shot straight overhead, accompanied with the words, “Salute President Obama”. Initially, the “salute” gesture and “Salute President Obama” remained confined to the President’s inner circle.
When the President returned from his whirlwind foreign tour, he embarked upon a series of victory parades in America’s major urban centers- Detroit, Chicago, Houston, Kansas City, St. Louis, Los Angeles, Cleveland, New Orleans, Memphis, Miami, Indianapolis, Atlanta.
In these parades, the President rode in a custom-converted Escalade that had had its top and front passenger seat removed. Where the front passenger seat had been, the President stood upright, left hand grasping the top of the windshield, and right arm shot high, fist clenched, smiling at and saluting the ecstatic throngs that lined the streets mile upon mile.
Thus, America first saw the “salute“, and, soon after, the salute and phrase, “Salute President Obama”, came into common usage in urban schools.
Despite years of study into the matter, no one has yet definitively established via what route the phrase, “Salute President Obama”, arrived in the schools. The best evidence suggests that the President’s Red Shirts inadvertently spread the phrase. For those too young to remember ... immediately after his election, groups of volunteers, all wearing red shirts, took it upon themselves to perform certain tasks for President Obama. For example, Red Shirts went round the schools, distributing large portraits of the President to be displayed in every classroom, then saw to it that the portraits were in fact displayed. In all probability, Red Shirts, some of whom who had ties to the President’s inner circle, had adopted the salute and the phrase, and used them in schools while distributing the President‘s portraits.
In any case, within days, the salute and the phrase spread like wild fire across the nation. Soon, every urban classroom in America had a portrait of President Obama, and students, voluntarily, began to start each morning with the clenched fist raised high and chanting, “Salute President Obama! Salute President Obama! Salute President Obama!“
But the little ones - the tots, the preschoolers, the kindergarteners - had trouble articulating, “Salute President Obama”, which can be a mouthful for some four and five year olds. Until one day in a Chicago preschool, at a school assembly, while teachers drilled the tykes in the correct articulation “Salute President Obama”, from somewhere in the mass of tiny faces, one voice, frustrated at struggling with the difficult exercise, suddenly blurted out, “Bamalute!”. Instantly, all the children joined in, and soon the entire school was filled with gleeful children hopping round, arms held high, wee fists clenched, shouting Bamalute!. A week later, “Salute President Obama!”, had vanished, and every urban classroom in America now began its day with, “Bamalute! Bamalute! Bamalute!”
But the Bamalute! did not take its present form until January 20, 2009 - Inauguration Day.
Inauguration Day, 2009 ...
The best guesses from that era placed the size of the assembled masses arrived as spectators to Washington D.C. at 2,500,000, to which one could add another five billion watching round the world via TV. Thus, the ascension of Barack Hussein Obama to the Presidency of the United States of America became the single most witnessed event in the history of mankind.
People round the world already regarded President Obama with an adoration and affection that bordered on the spiritual. In the Middle East,they had begun to refer to the President as: “al Mahdi”, “The Expected One”, “He who will fill the Earth with Justice and Truth that will last a thousand years.”
As tradition dictated, the U.S. Supreme Court’s Chief Justice administered the oath of office. But then, breaking with tradition, beside the traditional oath, the President took two additional oaths.
Judge Rosalyn Higgins, President of the UN's International Court of Justice, administered the first additional oath, using as text the Charter of the United Nations, Chapter I, Article 1.
And then, with his hand outstretched in peace to Islam, President Obama had arranged with the Iranian government that the second additional oath be administered by Hojatoleslam Seyed Ahmad Khomeini, son of Iran's Ayatollah Ruhulla Khomeini, founder of the modern Irani state. This second additional oath consisted of what have become the simplest, most profound six words ever uttered in any language: “One People! One Thought! One Voice!”
For days, rumors had raced through Washington that the President’s acceptance speech would shake the nation to its foundations. And the President did not disappoint.
When he stepped to the lectern, he first acknowledged as the core of his cabinet, persons who had been standing with him on the platform. There was Secretary Defense - Minister Louis Farrakhan, Secretary of State - Rev. Alfred Charles Sharpton, Secretary of the Treasury - Rev Jesse Jackson, Secretary of the Department of Justice - former House member Ron Dellums, and Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security - former Illinois Senator Carol Moseley Braun
The President began his speech with the words that for the forty-two years since every child in America has learned by rote to recite ...“From this day forward, America enters upon and Age of Change so profound and morally just that it will last for millennia! From this day forward, America no longer stands against the world! From this day forward, America stands with the world! From this day forward, Old America dies! From this day forward, from the ashes of the old, a New America will rise up!”
The president then went on to announce that he had already issued orders to all U.S. military forces stationed overseas to stand down and prepare to return to the United States. He said, “We’re not fighting the world anymore! It’s time to bring the boys home!”
He then went on to remark on how the U.S. Constitution was written more than two centuries ago by men whose ideas no longer fit the Age of Change, and that America needed a new constitution, one written by modern people in touch with modern times, people who understood the profound depths of the Age of Change.
But by now, no one was listening. The assembled masses had exploded into paroxysms of cheering and uncontrolled joy. Men and women fell to their knees, weeping, wailing in a frenzy of relief, as if some great burden had been lifted from their shoulders.
The President, realizing it was pointless to go on, saluted the masses by shooting his right arm into the air, then leaning forward, he shouted into the microphone, “One People! One Thought! One Voice! Bamalute!”.
There it was! one of those electric moments, fixed for all time in history; the world heard and saw the Bamalute!. Across the planet, at that instant, the “Bamalute!” became the signature gesture of the Age of Change. Five billion people saw it, and five billion people embraced it as their own. And the assembled masses present began chanting: Bamalute! Bamalute! Bamalute!
The President stepped down from the lectern and nodded at his personal pastor to come forward and administer the concluding prayer. The Reverend Jeremiah Wright stepped to the lectern, and, arm held high in the Bamalute!, suddenly, violently, smashed his fist down on the lectern and shouted, “God damn Old America!” Again! “God damn Old America!” Again! “God damn Old America!“. And the assembled masses picked up the chant: “God damn Old America! God damn Old America! God damn Old America!“.
Within minutes, the crowd began to disperse into smal l groups, some running this way, some running that. An hour later, Washington D.C. was in flames. All the symbols of Old America had come under attack. The Capitol Building, the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian, the monuments ...everything burning or smashed.
At the same time, across the nation - Detroit, Chicago, Houston, Kansas City, St. Louis, Los Angeles, Cleveland, New Orleans, Memphis, Miami, Indianapolis, Atlanta - the People poured into the streets, assaulting the symbols of the system that has oppressed them for so many centuries, exacting retribution from the “haves”, who for so many generations had become fat and wealthy at the expense of the have-nots. Local police, overwhelmed by the numbers opposing them, simply left the field. By midnight, every major urban center in America was on fire, especially the sky-scrapers, those perfect icons of greed and injustice that for so long had stood for America’s horrific grip on the world. The acts of retribution went on through the night and into the next morning and showed no signs of abating.
At noon on January 21, 2009, on every TV and radio station, President Obama addressed the nation. He began with what has since become the formal Bamalute!, “One People! One Thought! One Voice! Bamalute!”.
He then explained how, although he sympathized with the demonstrations of the past hours - the understandable outpouring of centuries of pent up frustration and rage at oppression - the demonstrations had to stop. They had served their purpose. They had ripped the guts out from Old America. And now, from the ashes of Old America, we will reconstruct a New America.
We have at this moment in time an opportunity unique in history, he went on. We have the opportunity to wipe the slate clean of all vestiges of the crimes with which a powerful but reckless and irresponsible nation has for so long assaulted the peoples of the world. We have the opportunity to atone for the devastation and pain that Old America has perpetrated upon weaker nations, upon cultures, upon the very Earth itself. But first, we must restore order.
Because the National Guard or any other American military presence represented nothing but repression and brutality to the People, the President refused to use them against the People.
Instead, after long phone conversations that morning with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and other world leaders, a decis ion had been taken to use U.N. Peacekeepers to restore order on American soil. At this very moment, U.N. Peacekeepers had begun to move south from Canada to take up positions in the northern tier of States. At the same time, other forces had begun to move north from Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Cuba to take uppositions in the southern tier of states. The main peacekeeping forces had already embarked from Syria, Iran, and a dozen Central African nations and would take up positions in the central States.
The President then asked that Americans not resist the Peacekeepers. The Peacekeepers come as friends, he said, to help New America forge the Bonds of Justice in this Age of Change.
To preclude the possibility of the Peacekeepers clashing with American forces, the President had already issued orders for all U.S. military units on American soil immediately to stand down and to prepare to demobilize. There would be a New American military in the future, but a new military led by officers loyal to principles of the Age of Change. In keeping with the theme of loyalty to the Age of Change, the President ordered that all officers consider themselves under arrest. In time, on a case-by-case basis, the loyalty of each officer would be determined by review committees that the President would soon appoint.
Drawing upon manpower from the Red Shirts, the President would establish security forces that would see to the day-to-day functions of police and local governments. These forces became known as the now familiar, Bonds of Justice Brigades.
For his personal security, the President disbanded the Secret Service and put in its place the Select Security, a force that would at all times surround the President with at least one hundred armed men.
To prevent the possibility of interference with the measures he had outlined and to protect the People from the possibility of a resurgence of the Old America, the President ordered that all TV and radio stations should cease broadcasting immediately at the end of his address. All personal transmission devices, such as walkie-talkies, ham radios, and CBs, must cease operation immediately. Print media must cease publishing immediately. All internet service providers and private computer network operators must cease functioning immediately. All cell phone and long distance phone networks must shut down immediately. All mail distribution systems must shut down immediately. All airlines must shut down immediately. Owners of weapons, including air-guns, bows, and arrows must surrender those weapons to the police immediately. All inter-city highway travel must cease immediately. The railroads must cease operation immediately. All financial institutions must shut their doors immediately. All these facilities and organizations would return one day soon, but under the control of and in the service of the People, not the greedy few.
Speaker Pilosi and Majority Leader Reid had assured the President thatthey would have legislation appropriate to his security measures on his desk for signing within the hour, legislation that would contain severe penalties for the violation of any of its provisions. Thus, the Enabling Act of 2009 was born, and remains today, forty-two years later, as the document through which President Obama has governed New America.
The aftermath ...
And a lot has changed in those forty-two years. Life has become simpler, more secure. In many places, by 2020 we began to see horses chosen as the primary mode of transport, all thanks to the heroic efforts of Vice-President Gore, who, working with in concert with European leaders, by 2015 had managed to reduce CO2 emissions in the West down to 1900 levels. And today, we stand at levels about those seen at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, where, as the environmentalists had always told us, was the correct, the sustainable level of CO2 emissions.
Of course, such dramatic changes in CO2 emissions required equally dramatic changes in the world’s industrial and transportation bases and with them the inevitable reduction in world trade.
The consequent decline of the world’s population came as the populations of various nations self-corrected, adjusting to levels sustainable under the new economic realities. Today, world population stands at about 1.4 billion and continues to fall. The population of New America dropped to 80 million, and Mexico has fallen to less than 20 million. The reduction of Mexico’s population comes as a bit of good fortune. We need the room, because, soon, New America must move south.
Despite the world’s best efforts at reducing CO2 emissions, the CO2 content of the atmosphere continued to rise. But, contrary to all the best environmental opinion, the planet’s climate has begun to cool. Some say now that the first signs of cooling had been detected as far back as the late 1990s. In 2028, Vice-President Gore went to his grave insisting that the cooling was an anomaly, and that significant warming lay just round the corner. But by 2035, it was clear: the climate was cooling rapidly. Winters had become grossly colder, especially in New Canada, where summer temperatures no longer rose above 70 degrees Fahrenheit. By 2040, one lobe of the advancing Northern ice sheet had moved as far south as Edmonton. On the Siberian landmass, lobes of the sheet had reached as far south as the 45th parallel. Further to the west in Europe, the advancing sheet had swallowed Oslo, Stockholm, and St. Petersburg.
In New America, if the current rate of advance continues, by 2060 the sheet will have moved down to the 40th parallel, engulfing Seattle, Portland, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Toronto, Pittsburg, Boston, New York, and Philadelphia. It is clear: New America must move south.
But the Old Gentleman - the term with which we now so fondly refer to the President - will not be here to lead us through the trying times that lie ahead. Having done his great work and marked in History his place for all time, last month, as we all know, the Old Gentleman’s mighty heart failed him.
But, by the grace of Allah, his son, Barack the Younger, will take up the struggle. Born by the Old Gentleman’s third wife, from his earliest years the young man has immersed himself in Shari’ah, the Qur ’an, Hadith, and Sunnah, having been schooled exclusively in the madrasah of Chicago’s Great Qala’un Mosque, where, even at the age of seventeen, he has already displayed flashes of the intellectual vigor and splendor his dear father exhibited for so many decades.
Thus, today, January 20, 2050, we the people of New America swear in Barack Hussein ibn Obama as President of New America. And we can all sleep soundly tonight, knowing that we have placed our fate in good hands.
One People! One Thought! One Voice! Bamalute!
Biography - Bernard Switalski
Graduated high school, 1953. U.S. Army lab technician, Bell Telephone Labs guided missile R&D, White Sands Proving Ground, NM, 1954-1957. Railroad freight conductor, Chicago, 1958-1963. Petroleum products quality/quantity surveyor, mostly in Venezuela, 1964-1965. Blast furnace foreman, Chicago,1966-1968.
After that damn blast furnace put me in the ER, got into the heavy industrial construction industry, 1969. First job, laborer. Last job, general construction superintendent, contracted by a Spanish consortium to oversee the construction of a 4 billion dollar grassroots petroleum refinery in Sumatra.
Somewhere in there, picked up a BA in philosophy. Traveled a lot. As old Cap'n Bill Jensen used to say back there on the Orinoco, "Been round the world two dozen times, first time in a baby buggy, twice in a submarine." Jigged for cod from a dory off Newfoundland; ran like a sissy from an irate cobra in Brunei. Met lots of good people along the way.
Switalski died, April 13, 2009 in Riverdale, Illinois.