Sunday, May 13, 2007

The Trojan

In 1992, then candidate Bill Clinton reassured (racist) White voters he could be "tough" on the people of color by comparing Sister Souljah to the racist David Duke -- former Grand Wizard for the KKK. The comparison was false (and blatantly offensive) but it's come to be known as a "Sister Souljah moment" and candidates need to wink and nod to racists that, if elected, equality isn't high on their to-do list.

Bi-racial Barack Obama has long been winking and nodding but, as Paul Street's "'He's a Mouse': Russell Simmons Speaks Some Truth on Obama" (Black Agenda Report) notes, who is paying attention?

Not The Nation magazine which, in the past, could be counted to call this nonsense out. They made the senator and 2008 presidential candidate a cover boy and their legal professor took to the airwaves (KPFA and WBAI) to gush over Obama in a way not seen since Peggy Noons decided she'd have the last word on the Bully Boy. For those who turned crimson as Noons gushed repeatedly over her girl-age crush, you hadn't heard anything. (Ruth addressed Williams' appalling appearance on KPFA.) It was the audio equivalent of her doodling in a classroom spiral "Patty loves Barack" and "Mrs. Patricia Obama."

But Street did point it out and forced up to grab the bad book and read it. The Audacity of Hope is written by The Punk of Politics and it is nothing if not a multi-page Sister Souljah moment as the biracial politician repeatedly rushes to reassure that his half White side will predominate.

Street writes:

He argues that encouraging black girls to finish high school and stop having babies out of wedlock is "the single biggest that we could do to reduce inner-city poverty" (Obama 2006, p. 256).

And that was the first thing we wanted to check out because we're used to that claim coming from White racists. Street is correct, Obama makes it. It's racist and sexist and calls to mind James Cagney's moment in The Lady Killers when he mashes a grapefruit into the face of Mae Clark. If Williams is aware of it, we have to wonder if it gave her 'tingles'?

Presuming that by "we," he means "government," we'd argue "the single biggest that we could do to reduce inner-city poverty" would be to see government invest in inner-cities. We'd further argue that a politician who blames women and pushes the myth of "'hood rats" really isn't prepared for primetime, regardless of whether or not Patrica J. Williams feels that his having once been president of the Harvard Law Review trumps everything else.

In a really bad book, Obama presents one lie after another that he may or may not believe but certainly sends the message to racists, "I see things just as White as you do." Attempting to associate himself with popular White cultural figures such as Abraham Lincoln and Superman only underscore that. (Does no one notice that Obama's yet to identify with any popular African-American cultural figures?)

He's a 'get tough' kind of junior senator who wants the world to see just how 'tough' he can be. He only has to parade that in print because the press acted as if Jack Ryan decided to air his own dirty laundry in 2004.

At the height of Williams soft-porn appearance on KPFA, a listener attempted to interject some reality and noted the fact that Obama is weak on the issue of ending the illegal war. "I am not a single-issue voter!" Williams all but snarled speaking for herself and presumably the bulk of Nation writers who always find a topic -- any topic -- more worthy to gas bag over than Iraq. Furthermore, Williams wanted the little upstart to know, Obama didn't vote for the illegal war!

No, he didn't vote for the 2002 act (which didn't authorize the illegal war that the Bully Boy started). But, left unsaid by Williams, he wasn't in Congress then.

Throughout the book, you'll find Obama untroubled by the illegal war. You'll find that, in the abstract, he supports such wars. You'll find him applauding the attack on the poor (popularly mischaracterized as "welfare reform"). You'll find an idiot who believes racism is really a thing of the past. You won't find anything presidential, you won't find authentic leadership and you won't find good writing.

Sometimes a leader emerges

And is followed for awhile

Doesn't matter what he encourages

As long as he's got style

Young ones conceived in a passion

Of directions we thought enlightened

Grown-up, they follow the mood in fashion

But beneath their bravado

You know they're frightened

I remember time gone by

When peace and hope and dreams were high

We followed inner visions and touched the sky

Now we who still believe won't let them die

We're sorry to disagree with one of the finest songs Carole King's ever written solo ("Time Gone By" from the album of the same name) but we don't think it's the "young ones" we have to worry about. It's the "old ones" at The Nation (who, granted were "young ones" -- or at least "youngish" in 1979) who want to avoid the realities of Barack Obama, the very real racism he expresses that, in better days, they'd call out in a candidate who was (or thought to be) 100% White.

Bi-racial doesn't just get him a pass from the magazine (which avoids current realities of race) it leads to non-stop gushing. We don't think Barack Obama is an Uncle Tom -- even setting aside that Uncle Toms are traditionally 100% Black. We think that's far too modest for what he stands for. We think he's a Trojan Horse. The empty suit, issuing platitudes, with a mainstream press presenting him (racistly) as Black needs some serious analysis. We don't expect to find it in the pages of The Nation. (He is, after all, in name only a Democrat.)
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