Monday, September 7, 2009

Safe as milk

After witnessing from a distance the manufactured outrage over Obama addressing US school children, the text from the actual address itself is quite a let-down. After either reading or hearing people try to tell me that the Pope of Hope is a front man for the International Communist Conspiracy (just after I finally got used to tuning out all the babbling about the International Islamist Conspiracy - come to think of it, the two seem to be used interchangeably these days), I end up finding no good slogans like "Workers of the World Unite" or "Death to Capitalism" or the like. In fact, there is not a sliver of radicalism (left-wing or otherwise) to be found. Instead, its message is "work hard" and "stay in school" - in other words, the very things that I tell my kids daily. As I've said before, there is absolutely nothing radical about the current Prez or the wing of the Democratic Party with which he is most identified. Obama represents the CEO class quite well, offering up a sort of neoliberalism with a happy face. A genuine leftist (or reasonable facsimile thereof) would already have long since been disappointed or turned off as I was last year. So it goes. I could easily point to any of a number of genuine communists, socialists, anarchists, and the like who are in the current political climate a genuine breath of fresh air, insofar as they're willing offer reasoned critiques and proposed alternatives to the current economic and political structure.

The folks who've gone entirely overboard over a bland speech to school kids leave me to speculate as to their real agenda. Personally, I suspect that at least some of it can be chalked up to fear and loathing of a Prez who just happens to have darker pigmentation than the (almost) entirety of the assorted tea-baggers, birthers, deathers, and now speechers. In actuality, these assorted wingnuts overlap so much that the same individual often can be described as all four of those categories. Part of what led me to such a conclusion that racism is involved came from the code words used by wingnut extremists last year during the height of the electoral silly season (e.g., "I just don't know who Obama is" reminds me of the sorts of remarks made by white suburbanites whenever a family of color moved into the neighborhood), and more recently by demographic analyses of the birthers, who tend to be predominantly white, Southern, and Republican. I'd offer that these folks wouldn't be nearly as stirred up if the Prez was anyone else that the Dems and the GOP offered up last year. Call it a hunch.

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