Since watching Cornel West in this video last January - at Martin Luther King's Birthday - I've been pondering President Barack Obama.
I'm pretty sure that I made the mistake of thinking, as Dr West says so many of us did, that Barack Obama was THE fulfilment of MLK's dream as opposed to A fulfillment of that dream, although that certainly wasn't my perception from the moment Barack appeared on my radar.
During the primary season, I believed that he was a politician like any other, beholden to a system that is currently driven by rich guys for their own benefit. Maybe Rich Folks have been oppressing poor folks for 10,000 years, ever since our tribes started farming, and the sociopolitical, economic structure in America is simply another manifestation of that bullshit - I'm not worried about that right now. I'm looking at Barack Obama in the world as we know it today. And in that world, you can't get to be President without sucking up to Rich Guys. You can't hardly get to be dog catcher without sucking up to Rich Guys because campaigns depend on advertising, and advertising costs money.
Looking at Contemporary American Culture, we could easily get bogged down in a discussion of people's lamentable gullibility vis a vis advertising and propaganda which is particularly lamentable given that the mainstream media has deteriorated into propaganda for the corporate state. And we could despair over an educational system committed to undermining critical thinking capabilities among the general populace so that We The People don't make connections between the Koch Brothers, the John Birch Society and the Tea Party, for example. We could explore the sources of a pervasive sense of isolation, alienation and apathy which leads the vast majority of Americans to ignore current events all together and leads to a dismally small number of people who actually vote. Lots and lots of variables swirl around in the equation that is Contemporary American Culture. But here, we're only looking at Barack Obama.
Since I'm doing the looking, we're looking from the perspective of a privileged white woman in the grandma zone who has been steeped in what we'll call Progressive philosophy, for lack of a better term. Some would call us "Too Liberal For Obama," or the Hard Left. Whatever. The issue at hand is the vast disappointment so many of us feel when we compare President Barack Obama with Candidate Barack Obama. I'm thinking that a lot of that disappointment stems from confusing Barack Obama with Martin Luther King, Jr because, you know, not many black men have made speeches to enormous crowds on the mall in Washington DC.
Looking closely at the evolution of my perception of Barack Obama, I think the trouble all started about the time that airplane landed in the Hudson River a few days before Barack Obama landed himself under the statue of Abraham Lincoln.
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