of the American Empire are holding their collective breath. Aside
from Rupert Murdoch, the beneficiary of hubby Bill’s Telecommunication
Act 1996, the defense industry loves Hillary Clinton. Supporter
of the violence in Iraq and Afghanistan, leave-no-friends-of-Bill
behind, Hillary Clinton, is loved by Lockheed-Martin. She’s received
hefty defense contracts to solidify their marriage. But that’s not all!
Citigroup, Comcast, Sun Microsystems, Morgan Stanley and many other
corporations love Hillary. Her backers are all about privatization,
free trade, and astronomical profits. Although people of color
on her staff outnumber Barack Obama’s picks,
Hillary Clinton is in love with powerful white men and their interests.
this lover and daughter of capitalism supreme came in third in the Iowa
Caucus, January 3, 2008, has the corps experiencing a bit of shock and
awe! They must have gone to bed Thursday night wondering if their get-away
spaceship has left Earth too soon. What happened to the good people
their credit, the corporations left the fear campaign to their good
buddies King George and Darth Vader. Osama is coming to a mall
near you! The people, scared and tired of being scared, responded on
January 3rd. Some are tired of the Empire. It would be optimistic
(or should I say, hopeful) to credit Barack Obama’s
win in Iowa to the “people” fighting
back the Empire. They want change.
kind of “change” do these people have in mind?
mantra, “change,” was echoed by Clinton’s
oh, yeah - “change.” Yeah, that’s it. And good number of
other folks went to bed, smiling. Change. But the corporations
love Obama too. Clinton
has more “experience” dealing with the corps, but they can love the
new guy on the block who doesn’t nag them (at least not as often and
persistently as John Edwards or Dennis Kucinich) with 60s mantra’s like
“power to the people” or “hey, what about the poor and working-class
people?” According to The Hill, three political aides
on Obama’s payroll were “registered lobbyists
for dozens of corporations, including Wal-Mart, British Petroleum and
Lockheed Martin, while they received payments from his campaign, according
to public documents (Lobbyists
on Obama’s ’08 payroll). Wal-Mart, a friend
of Hillary Clinton, who used to sit on the Wal-Mart Board, really loves
the working class! BP and Lockheed really love war profiteering!
But Obama can talk about foreign “terror” and “terrorists” with the
best of them. He can suggest “aggressive” talk with the Middle
East to the Chicago/Midwest AIPAC crowd back in March 2007.
He can support his fellow Democrats’ Violent Radicalization and Homegrown
Terrorism Act 1959, too. And maybe Obama was out of the senate
that day shaking hands and winning support from Will Daley, the son
of shoot-to-kill Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, the day S456: Gang
Abatement Act passed without an actual vote.
there’s so much of change in all of this - it is nauseating.
this 38 percent vote from the predominantly white state of Iowa? The emphasis is on the word kind in
the question: What kind of change do these people have in mind?
It is the kind of change that does not remind white America of the
connection between domestic enslavement of Black Americans and the practice
of torture, terror, and repression at home and the practice of pre-emptive
war, torture, and terrorism conducted on foreign soil against other
people of color.
concern about Obama’s “experience” has less
to do with experience in foreign policy and more to do with his experience,
that is, memory of domestic policy as it relates to Black Americans.
Obama’s mother is white and his father is Kenyan. In
other words, Obama is not a product of the Black American experience
and, as a result, doesn’t share in the familial experience - the collective
memory of the Maafa, the catastrophe of being kidnapped from Africa, shipped
in chains, enslaved in the U.S. He can travel to Selma, Birmingham, Watts,
Detroit, and live and work in Chicago,
but he resides somewhere between his mother’s heritage of white privilege
and the voluntary immigrant - who isn’t from Haiti
ancestors aren’t those enslaved Africans whose descendants have had
to strategize for every gain and resist every repressive domestic policy.
The colorblind rhetoric of everybody is all the same within the American
Dream and hasn’t tickled down to Black Americans because the everybody
meant white bodies. Black Americans, on the other hand, are
the nightmare living the nightmare of struggle and contradiction in
a country that has repeatedly set its agenda toward eradicating the
victims of this atrocity. No amount of whitewashing rhetoric will
change this reality for the majority of Black Americans.
Martin Luther King, Jr. dropped the rhetoric of the American Dream when
he came face-to-face with the nightmare of reality in Chicago. The new struggle King envision
after the Civil Rights gains would not be merely a struggle against
“extremist behavior” witnessed in the overt speech and actions of citizens
and officials in the South (“The Other America”). King recognized
that “racism is deeply rooted in America”
and, from those who do not genuinely believe in equality for Black Americans,
racism will be covert, but no less virile.
does not represent the typical Black as the scapegoat of the American
Dream; he embraces it without demanding accountability for a deplorable
domestic policy as it relates to Black, Native Americans, Latino/a Americans
or to the people of Korea,
Viet Nam, Cambodia,
Laos, Cuba, the Republic
of Congo, Haiti,
further construction of air bases in Africa, the destruction of the
food supply and contamination of water and lands, particularly in Latin
America, Africa, and Asia will need another front man or woman - a fresh
face. This new fresh face will wave the flag and salute the Cross
while articulating the aspirations of those who could afford to contribute
to his ten million dollar win in Iowa.
Those people in New Orleans
who lost their homes before the holidays - what will they receive from
Obama? What will those who are losing their homes to predatory
lenders receive? Who will articulate the aspirations of Black parents
who want more for their children than the No Child Left Behind prison
prep agenda? Will he dismantle the police state in urban areas
throughout this country and offer substantive programs to lift people
from poverty and despair?
Americans have had to hope for the best long before Obama’s
father came to these shores. They don’t need Obama to tell them
Obama looks Black and biologically, he is Black - but he’s also a little
different. And different where it counts. He doesn’t possess
the reservoir of memory or the spirit of resistance that has sustained
Black Americans through trials and tribulations. Yes, white Americans
have dreamt of the kind of difference Obama represents. In the
dynamics of U.S. politics,
he’s like the pharmakon that looks a lot like
the poison but just might be the cure. His “American Dream” is
memory with no sign - as Jacques Derrida would say Obama’s
dream does not recall “the non-present.” He speaks the language of pleasantries
and, therefore, can’t articulate what Toni Morrison calls the “unspeakable.”
His difference saves white America
from thinking about their fear of equality with Black Americans.
We are left with an unexamined American Dream in which the “memory”
embedded within is as whitewashed as that of the Neocons’
dream of Empire - and certainly neither side of the same coin are any
less violent as mechanisms that ultimately destroy the hope of change.
love Obama very, very much,” will be the new chant for a while.
say "for a while," because Hillary Clinton’s corporate friends,
more and stronger, aren’t cheering now. They aren’t chanting any
mantra that doesn’t begin with money and end with profits. The
American Dream is corporate capitalism running full speed toward the
agenda of Pax Americana. Hillary Clinton
is a start-the-engines-gal; let’s get this whole country, the world
privatized by summer 2009! But what if Obama goes in, takes a seat,
and starts to hear from those nagging Blacks, Latino/as, poor and working-class?
What if he starts to buckle under that pressure like say Kennedy or
Johnson before him? Then what? There won’t be a whole lot of love
then. Will Obama risk turning his attention from the interests
of corporate friends? It’s not safe for us - Blacks - to dream,
if it means consuming the same brew called “The American Dream.”
Gremlins of the American Empire will wait to see what this pseudo love
affair with Obama will mean for their interests.
stays the same. This we know. Don’t bother to wait on change.
Say "power to the people" as we go back to work - in our struggle.
BlackCommentator.com Editorial Board member Lenore Jean Daniels, PhD, has been a writer, for over thirty years of
commentary, resistance criticism and cultural theory, and short stories
with a Marxist sensibility to the impact of cultural narrative violence
and its antithesis, resistance narratives. With entrenched dedication
to justice and equality, she has served as a coordinator of student
and community resistance projects that encourage the Black Feminist
idea of an equalitarian community and facilitator of student-teacher
communities behind the walls of academia for the last twenty years.
Dr. Daniels holds a PhD in Modern American Literatures, with a specialty
in Cultural Theory (race, gender, class narratives) from Loyola University,
here to contact Dr. Daniels.