Truth often shows up at the most inopportune times, especially for politicians.
“You have to hand it to Barack Obama when it comes to having it both ways” writes the publisher of Harpers Magazine, John MacArthur, in a recent article, entitled “Obama’s Real Political Program.” For “[n]ever has a leading American Democrat” done so little, MacArthur says, “in support of less-privileged people while getting so much undeserved credit for ‘trying’ to help them.”
Truly, what a strange and bitter pill to swallow.
An article I wrote 2 years ago, titled “Obama’s Right Wing Success: Silencing Black America and the Left,” then quoted a young, progressive veteran named Evan Knappenberger, who wrote poignantly about this painfully odd dilemma in an editorial, entitled “Obama’s Betrayal of Generation Hope.”
It’s worth mentioning again here, because it is so heartfelt and lays bare what Knappenberger sees as Obama’s cruel hypocrisy:
Most disappointing of all to the youth, though, is Obama’s betrayal of their values. Particularly, his extensions of Bush policies and war-mongering. Obama’s “dumb war” theory (i.e. that some wars are just and some are just “dumb”) is, to us, a complete abomination of the concept of peace. By evoking the Reverend Doctor King in his Nobel acceptance speech while in the same breath dismissing nonviolence, Obama has bastardized the concept of peace and alienated us, antiwar youth permanently from his politics.”
Knappenberger is not the only one who feels Obama insults Dr. King’s legacy. A professor of African-American studies at Temple University in Philadelphia, Anthony Monteiro says that Dr. King lived his life on a quest for peace, in a fight against racism and the overcoming of deepening poverty in our society. Montiero made these remarks this January in a podcast at the Real News Network. Adding that toward the end of his life, Dr. King became more radicalized in his quest – not defining the struggle as between blacks and white, but against imperialism – Montiero says that Obama has not lived his life this way. In fact, “Obama’s presidency has nothing to do with the legacy of King; it’s actually the opposite,” Montiero says.
A widely-held and useful definition for confederacy is: A group of people who have united for unlawful practices; a conspiracy. Though, like the word terrorist, which the US government assigns liberally to foreigners – especially those of color who dare stand in the way of power – the words confederacy and conspiracy are not terms the US chooses to use in describing itself. Albeit, based purely on the simplicity of their definitions, these two words are fitting, however, and match perfectly with so much of what is known, documented and experienced stateside and abroad, in consequence of America’s foreign and domestic policies during the Bush/Obama years.
Americans have been told that Bush and Obama are fierce defenders of democracy. We have also been told by these men that they are champions of justice – that their vision of our society is one that is absolutely merit-based. Track records of both Obama and Bush indicate, however, that neither qualify as purveyors of truth or justice.
Look no further than the ongoing conflict in Iraq. Bush and the Republicans get the blame, and yet Obama and the Democrats continue the imperialist Iraq policies. And let us not forget that it was the Democrats who were in control of congress at the time of the Afghanistan invasion and gave their near-unanimous endorsement.
Democrats made Bush’s illegal Iraq War possible, and, now including Obama, they should share the blame.
On March 22, commenting on the net effect of the Iraq war and occupation, Ralph Nader wrote in an article titled “The Sociocide of Iraq by Bush/Cheney,” that more than “a million Iraqis died due to the invasion, the occupation and the denial of health and safety necessities for infants, children and adults” and “more Iraqis were injured and sickened,” and Nader says that in addition to the nearly 5,000 US troops that have died, many others have committed suicide, with over 150,000 Americans being injured or sickened. This is, Nader says, “far more than the official Pentagon underestimate which restricts nonfatal casualty counts only to those incurred directly in the line of fire.” Nader goes on to say that “the Iraq War has monetarily cost taxpayers about $2 trillion . . . paying over $600 million a year to guard the giant US Embassy and its personnel in Baghdad, more than what our government spends for OSHA, whose task is to reduce the number of American workers who die every year from workplace disease and trauma, currently about 58,000.”
On too many fronts, Bush and Obama’s policies are too much the same: Guantanamo, criminalizing whistleblowing, an obsession with domestic surveillance, the ongoing Middle East wars and occupations and the still unresolved and epic foreclosure crisis, et al. And, on the issue of government secrecy, the attorney for Daniel Ellsberg – who leaked the Pentagon Papers that led to Watergate – says Obama is actually worse than President Nixon. It’s especially chilling when we find Bush’s former right-hand man, Dick Cheney, giving his stamp of approval to the “liberal, socialist” Obama’s secret drone wars. In a March 14 article, titled “Obama’s I’m-No-Dick-Cheney Standard for Government Secrecy,” Kevin Gosztola writes:
Incidentally, Cheney has praised Obama’s use of drones. “I think it’s a good program, and I don’t disagree with the basic policy that the Obama administration is pursuing,” he said in an interview on CBS’ “This Morning” in February. He also “endorsed the drone strike against Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen living in Yemen, saying, ‘He was clearly part of al-Qaeda.’
Cheney also said in a January 2011 interview on NBC, “In terms of a lot of the terrorism policies – the early talk, for example, about prosecuting people in the CIA who’ve been carrying out our policies – all of that’s fallen by the wayside. I think he’s [Obama] learned that what we did was far more appropriate than he ever gave us credit for while he was a candidate.”
The policies of Bush and Obama have mostly been bad for the vast majority of Americans, and the bottom line is this: Black don’t make right, and neither does white, nor does half-black half-white or any combination of ethnic mixing conceivable. Furthermore, if a Republican does something that is wrong, it doesn’t make it right when a Democrat does it. Holding this in mind, whoever truly remains of those committed to justice, must fess up – seeing not just the Bush junta, but also the Obama confab for what it is, and they are together: a destructive political pact whose foundational method is an opaque, elitist shell game, and its players members of a depraved and greedy, conspiring confederacy; rationalizing and justifying their immoral and often illegal actions with the a most flagrant misuse of language – whether eloquent, as is the case with Obama, or with twisted tongue à la Bush.
In either case, the result is a wholesale abuse of the people’s good will.