2008 Presidential Election, Race and Racism
Professor Vernellia Randall
Speaking Truth to Power!

Obama, Fat Tuesday and the Big Hangover


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Glen Ford
A Black Agenda Radio commentary

"It is understandable that folks imbibe large quantities of ObamaL'aid in anticipation of experiencing the ‘dream' so long BARObamaCheers‘deferred.'"

  For an overwhelming number of Black folks, Fat Tuesday and Super Tuesday were the same in both coincidence of date and emotional impact. Both were welcomed as causes to celebrate for celebration's sake. The Mardi Gras in New Orleans was no doubt a joyous occasion, as usual, to "let the good times roll," this past Tuesday - despite the fact that the Gulf region has been sucked into the bottomless Black Hole of Disaster Capitalism, from which it will never return in the absence of a broad and sustained people's movement.

In the rest of the nation on Tuesday night, African Americans celebrated Barack Obama's "Big Mo" - his truly amazing momentum towards capturing the Democratic presidential nomination. The white elite have caught the flavor and the fever, as well. Carl Bernstein, of the Watergate journalism team Woodward and Bernstein, quoted Black luminary Vernon Jordan as saying, "It's hard to run against a movement," as an explanation for Hillary Clinton's inability to crush Obama. But of course, the Obama campaign is not a movement - it's a parade, a corporate-engineered, multi-million dollar enterprise that promises Black and poor people virtually nothing of substance, just like that of his opponent, Hillary Clinton.

Obama puts on a far better show than his political twin, Clinton; his float is the gaudiest in the line of march. Barack's parade crews throw the plastic dubloons and beads farther and with much more enthusiasm than Hillary's - but the trinkets come from the same manufacturer: the corporate wing of the Democratic Party. After the parade is over, both crews will park their flatbed trucks and disassemble the colorful facades in the same grimy industrial zones.

"The Obama campaign is not a movement - it's a parade."

Black folks have been waiting - forever - to see one of their own crowned King of the national Mardi Gras. Who can argue in the presence of such pent-up desire? Yes, an Obama victory would bring "change" of a kind - a change of complexion in the Oval Office. And, as the prospect of this cosmetic change becomes more and more plausible, it is understandable that folks imbibe large quantities of ObamaL'aid in anticipation of experiencing the "dream" so long "deferred." But dreams and Mardis Gras end with the rising sun and the familiar clanging of the real world. In that real world, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are the same political animal, by every substantive measure. Both would increase the suffocating military budget, strangling any possibility of rebuilding New Orleans or any other American city. All their promises of domestic renewal - expressed or wishfully imagined - are as fleeting and phony as the masks on the faces of the characters on the floats on Canal Street, New Orleans, on Fat Tuesday.

A Mardis Gras parade is not a movement. Corporate electoral campaigns are not movements. ObamaL'aid just gets you drunk. For Black folks, this may be a very long binge.

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .


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