For those Liberals among us who still cling desperately to “Hope” and “Change,” you really need to put down the crack pipe and get in touch with reality. Though it has to be hard for some to admit (full disclosure: I drank the Kool-Aid and voted for Obama too, with reservations,) it is now absolutely clear whom our President is working for, and it ain’t us.
During the election of 2008, many otherwise sane and stable people became understandably terrified at the possibility of President Palin. There was also, perhaps, the novelty of a truly eloquent and articulate presidential candidate, which after eight years of clumsy, inane blather from President (sic) Bush, seemed even to the most jaded cynics among us like a second coming of Shakespeare. There was also the almost hysterical angst that had built up on the Left, to the point that we were absolutely desperate for someone, anyone, with an IQ over 60 to make Dubya go away.
The Obama campaign understood these factors, instinctively, and the marketing blitz was an absolute masterpiece; selling Obama as exactly what we wanted him to be. He was a stereotype-smashing Black Man, intelligent, wise, and oh-so-ready to begin the difficult work of repairing the damage wrought not only during the Bush years, but maybe, just maybe the entire Neo-Liberal era. “Hope” and “Change” became the perfect buzzwords for this political cult, vague enough to promise both everything and nothing in one breath. And we were nearly dying to believe.
Alas, as with all unrealistic hopes, the idea of Obama as a crusader for justice and progressive ideals was crushed almost as soon as he finished saying “so help me God.” His cabinet left no doubt; an assortment of Clinton-era re-treads and Wall Street goons, with a few token humans tossed in for good measure. It was a clear signal to anyone who was paying attention, and the signal was “business-as-usual.” His first few months in office gave some of us old enough to remember President Clinton a strong sense of deja-vu. While there were a few incremental steps in certain areas, the much-loathed policies of the Bush régime remained largely in place, most distressingly the extra-constitutional powers known more widely as the “Imperial Presidency.” And of course the unchecked power of corporations, backed by the full force of the federal government’s monopoly on violence, would remain undiminished.
This latest betrayal serves as yet more salt in the wound to those who dared to believe that the American System was merely “broken” and could be fixed. The reality is that the system is alive and well, and the corporate-governmental power sharing arrangement will be with us for the foreseeable future. President Obama serves this system, even as he has a hand in its operation, and we were naive for believing it could be otherwise.
“It is only in folk tales, children’s stories, and the journals of intellectual opinion that power is used wisely and well to destroy evil. The real world teaches very different lessons, and it takes willful and dedicated ignorance to fail to perceive them.” — Noam Chomsky