After a seemingly eternal campaign in which Barack Obama shattered George Bush's record for gluttonous political expenditure, the U.S. has its first African American president. What it doesn't have is a president committed to a progressive agenda.
It would have been nice to have Cynthia McKinney as our first African-American president. She put Obama to shame by daring to intelligently discuss the dreadful problems the U.S. now faces, and how it might overcome them. She's got more balls than Obama and all the male members of Congress put together, but she's been run out of the House of Representatives twice by the Israel-forever fanatics, and therefore must be ignored.
Polls show the American people are much closer to Ralph Nader and McKinney in their political beliefs than they are to Obama. While the people favor a revived New Deal, Obama favors a revived U.S. Empire. His recent appointment of Rahm Emanuel as Chief of Staff does not bode well for the "change we need." Emanuel is an Israeli agent, a dual citizen, and a fanatic Jewish supremacist who once did a stint in the Israeli Army. In 2006, he was in charge of the Democratic electoral campaigns for Congress and worked to eliminate peace candidates in favor of "realistic" war candidates. Emanuel's brand of pragmatism worries that, in a worst-case scenario, pro-peace politicians might actually eliminate funding for the Iraq war. Since a large majority of Americans have long been opposed to the war, such a policy runs the risk of establishing an actual democracy in the U.S. This is intolerable. Elites must rule, and the people must stay on the sidelines.
As dismal as the political anticlimax of this election is sure to be, it is a victory of sorts that a bi-racial man has risen to the presidency in a deeply racist country that held black people as slaves for over two centuries. But it should be cause for alarm when that bi-racial man immediately appoints a Chief of Staff who has spent his career working to preserve Israeli apartheid. The stark hypocrisy calls for at least some reflection, but we're not seeing any. The evangelistic fervor on display at Obama rallies seems more like a religious revival campaign than it does a political movement. The adoring throngs have what Korean war veterans used to call the "forty mile gaze."
It wouldn't be fair to call Obama a sellout, since he has never challenged the imperial agenda in the first place. He just doesn't believe in democracy. His brand of "change" is slightly less obnoxious than John McCain's, but it's no bargain. He has no problem with the slow genocide in Gaza, favors a stepped up war in Afghanistan, and serenely contemplates a U.S. invasion of Pakistan and nuking of Iran in the interest of "fighting terrorism." In Iraq, he says the Bush "surge" has been a success, so he wants to draw down the troop levels to free up soldiers for expanding the war in Afghanistan. This is planned disaster masquerading as pragmatism. As Malcolm X used to say, you don't plunge a knife six inches into a man's back, then withdraw it two inches and call it progress. Progress would be an end to the politics-of-force altogether. Obama isn't going to stand up for that, we can be sure.
The good news from the election is that the American people have completely repudiated the ideology of the Reagan/Bush years. The bad news is that Obama hasn't, and won't.
-----Michael K. Smith is the author of "Portraits of Empire" and "The Madness of King George (illustrations by Matt Wuerker)," both from Common Courage Press.