As a life-long progressive Democrat, I voted twice for Clinton, and thereafter for Gore, then for Kerry, even though I supported Howard Dean, who I believe is mostly responsible for moving Democrats into the 21st century.
I also voted for Barack Obama in 2008, but not in 2012. Why? Because, by the arrival of his second term Obama’s presidency had come to resemble too much of George W. Bush.
The Republican Party is way out of touch, and that’s no great secret, even lifelong conservative politician, Bob Dole, is concerned about right-wing stubbornness and ineptitude. So, they don’t stand a chance in hell of ever getting my vote. Still, in no way does Republican failures excuse what Democrats are doing.
And now, to think of having become an outspoken critic of President Obama for a while now—it’s the last thing I envisioned myself doing five years ago. Yet, where the world finds itself at this time and place with Obama having been its chief leader for half a decade is so inconceivably horrifying and dystopian to me that I believe it would be an abdication of duty as a citizen of the United States not to openly criticize Obama, and completely reckless and irresponsible—in my working life—as an activist, artist and writer not to point out some of Obama’s most odious transgressions.
For those of us committed to fairness and egalitarianism, so much pride came in Obama having been elected as “America’s First Black President.” It’s is quite an achievement, extraordinary really, but how does one measure its value?
That question solicits many answers, but I will offer none here, because of greater concern is what Obama’s being “America’s First Black President” has not done.
For starters, it hasn’t served to end the export of violence in the Middle East and other parts of the world, in spite of Obama being awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 2009. Additionally, Obama being “America’s First Black president” has not served to ensure civil rights and human rights domestically or abroad, to uphold international law, to improve and expand America’s ailing public education system, to close Guantanamo Bay Prison, to create single payer healthcare for all without corporate hijacking, to lift the poor out of poverty or to reverse the foreclosure crisis and thus shore up the finances of the heavily-eroded middle class. Particularly for us journalists, one can’t help but be acutely aware of Obama having the worst record of all presidents, including Bush, on persecuting and prosecuting whistleblowers.
And, it didn’t stop America from becoming “a massive surveillance state,” through the NSA’s PRISM domestic spying program, which Obama is now spinning furiously to downplay and cover up.
Actions have consequence and real integrity is self-evident, knowing no exception. As such, I feel proud to stand firm as a world citizen committed to transparency, justice and peace. So, it’s not simply that Obama is personally disappointing; it is that “America’s First Black President” is a bonafide war criminal, and not just any war criminal, but one who is openly uses his power and largess to suppress and silence any who dares tell the truth about the failure of our unjust capitalistic system and the government’s criminal misconduct, including the War on Terror, with all of its associated hegemonic features.
Think: Julian Assange, and Bradley Manning.
No matter what he says, how intelligent it sounds when he says it or how good he looks on TV—and he does look good on TV—it’s Obama’s behavior that tells the story of a man who appears so gentle and compassionate, but has extinguished the lives of so many women, men and children who did not deserve to die, in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.
Being an independent artist and writer, who’s a minority that grew up in a federal housing project that had concrete floors and cinderblock walls, and as a man who does not buy into prescribed gender roles or sexual norms, whatever that is, I’m no stranger to being ridiculed. I have been racial profiled often, andI have been falsely arrested and accused of a crime I did not commit. So, I am quite familiar with being a target for harassment and skewed, authoritarian judgment. Nevertheless, I do not feel deserving of any kind of exceptionalism because of the persecution I have had to endure all my life, which I am prepared to endure for the rest of my life.
Can Obama say the same? Does his actions say “hold me accountable” in spite of the fact that so many adore me and consider me extra-special?
That’s ultimately the sad truth about “America’s First Black President.” He’s a real hypocrite: constantly saying one thing, but doing quite the opposite.
A report has just come out informing that nearly 15% of all children in Iraq have had one or both of their parents killed as a result of America’s military heavy-handedness and continuing brutal occupation, and nearly 50% of all Iraqis will inevitably get cancer as a result of “United States and Britain drop[ing] some 300 tons of depleted uranium” in that country. And how many more children have been made orphans in the other places where Obama’s drones are dropping bombs night and day?
Where is the outcry over this, and wouldn’t one expect Obama, a man who grew up without a father—who holds a Nobel Peace Prize and is a civil liberties attorney—not to have so much blood on his hands?
Speaking Truth about Obama is not an easy task, but omitting or hiding doesn’t make it better.
Obama is not a man of peace. He is a well-seasoned war monger, and a suppression of the ideals of justice is not what is needed. Thus the unvarnished truth, however uncomfortable and inconvenient, must continue to be told, because it’s the only way that the global suffering that Obama is directly accountable for will ever have a chance of coming to an end.
“America’s First African-American President” has no credibility. He finds himself often being compared to the notorious, Richard Nixon and to George Bush, and the legacy that Obama now constructs threatens to overshadow and permanently scar hundreds of years of noble and high-minded African-American freedom fighting ideals that reached its pinnacle during the 1960’s civil rights struggle.
The albatross has landed, and no amount of denial will clip its wings, or turn back the hands of time.