“Promising is the very air o’ the time: it opens the eyes of expectation: performance is ever the duller for his act;
…To promise is most courtly and fashionable: performance is a kind of will or testament which argues a great sickness in his judgment that makes it.” (Timon of Athens act 5, sc.1)
Tips for Use. Applicable to many a politician, including in the instance, the presidency of Obama. The occult powers (and as such invisible to the public) had Obama elected to change the subject. Or rather, they had to convince the unthinking multitude that this is the best of all possible worlds, including endless wars, trillions to banks and Wall Street, socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor. The astutest way was to put an African American in power to persuade the populace that racism is dead. Therefore the populace could easily forget the wars, the obscene wealth of a few and the misery of millions. Not to count the legalization of torture (!), the right to assassinate anyone, anytime, anywhere in the world, (see note) the “war on drugs” and the trillions spent on the military and sundry instruments of death and destruction.
That dreadful “Yes we can” – is and was a verbal monument to nothingness in an Orwellian orgy of lack of meaning. That is, promising nothing to prove later that nothing was ever promised. Democracy has become to politics what McDonald is to food.
Note. The New York Times acknowledges (week of Mar 7. 2012) that President Obama “has become the first president to claim the legal authority to order an American citizen killed without judicial involvement, real oversight or public accountability.”
In the play. The poet and the painter, believing that Timon is still rich decide to go and see him in the forest where he retired after declaring bankruptcy. To ingratiate himself with Timon the painter will promise to give him a painting. The poet, as good a parasite as the painter, comments sarcastically that promising is better than delivering.