Postscript as Belated Prologue: Voting for Barack Obama for U.S. President proved to be one of the biggest and most embarrassing mistakes of my life. As I write this almost 5 years after I wrote the original essay, I’ve come to loathe Obama as much as I despised Bush I & II. I’ve since disowned the Democrats as well as the Republicans and wish them both a speedy death into the garbage cans of history. In the wake of the still-ongoing Great Global Recession with its corresponding economic, financial, environmental, and social turmoil, I’ve also disavowed and spurned Capitalism.
All attempts to reform Capitalism with the most generous and heartfelt of intentions failed. Finance Capitalism still wins out. FC is also known as Predatory, Disaster, and Crony Capitalism for a reason. Capitalism conquers Democracy and leads to Fascism and Imperialism New, reformed kinds of cooperative Socialism and Neo-Communism is far more desirable. In 2012, I voted against President Obama and for Dr. Jill Stein of the Green Party. Obama won, and I became further engaged in the Green Party of Seattle.
The Greens stand the best chance these days to build pragmatic bridges between the Far Left and the Mainstream Middle where I live in the United States of America. I would say the same thing in regards to the Libertarians as building bridges between the traditional, conserve-Conservatives and Libertarians of the Far Right and the Mainstream Middle. What follows serves as the power of illusion, desperation, manipulated rebellion, and, yes, the deliberate deception and continual betrayal of the American people as well as the rest of Earth. ~ the Author, July 19, 2013.
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“Obama rocks!” my daughter Kate shouts, pumping her fist high in triumph. She’s three and a half weeks away from her 10th birthday, and she is excited about politics for the first time in her life.
I realized for the first time just how ashamed I felt to be an American under the Bush-Cheney Regime. I have both supported and opposed various policies of different administrations over the years, demanding the light of truth be shined on any and all things. Despite terrible things done by Americans over the course of U.S. history I was proud of what we achieved. I was proud of what we stood for even in the midst of our imperfections.
There are events in U.S. history that outrage me, such as slavery, the genocide of Native Americans, the support for anti-Communist death squads in the name of life and liberty, the rise of militant racist and fundamentalist religious groups, race and labor wars, military invasions and occupations of foreign countries in illegal and undeclared wars for empire, and the internment of Japanese-Americans. But I have never consistently felt ashamed until we had George W. Bush as President and Dick Cheney as Vice-President.
I also realized how for the first time how much I feared my own government. Now the United States Government has made many mistakes over its life in its pursuit of various agendas. But never have I experienced the systemic erosion of liberty and the deliberate dismantlement of our United States Constitution and all it stands for as experienced under the reign of Bush-Cheney, who were sworn in during what for all practical purposes amounted to a messy but bloodless coup.
I have great hope; in fact I pray that the infamous American Pendulum so well described by Naomi Wolf in her book The End of America swings back to rest at the center of liberty. I stand the now-loosening grip of the Neo-Con Far Right has so shook people up that conservatives, moderates, and liberals alike are now wide awake and moved to action.
This election is historic, for so many obvious reasons I won’t repeat here. But it is historic for another reason that seems overlooked in the mainstream mass media: I believe the landslide nature of the Election of 2008 saved us from civil war.
If it had been close, if there had been widespread fraud and obvious vote rigging on the scale of the Election of 2000, if McCain-Palin had ended up being declared the winner by the Republican-dominated Supreme Court as Bush-Cheney had been there may have been violent uprisings in the streets. If President Bush had actually invoked clauses from the Defense Authorization Act of 2006, Section 1076 of the John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007 Enforcement of the Laws to Restore Public Order Act, and Executive Order – National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive NSPD-51/HSPD-20, all which grant him near-dictatorial powers, to suspend the elections and impose martial law for whatever reason, even if justified, it would trigger national outrage and revolt.
The armed forces would be torn between following orders and firing upon their own people. They would be torn between their allegiance to the Constitution and their oath to a Commander-in-Chief who violates that Constitution. Any possible scenario could unfold, and in the midst of the global economic and environmental crises all invoke nightmares. But none of that happened. Why? Because, quite frankly, Obama’s landslide victory saved us from either another protracted constitutional crisis in which there would be less patience and increased violence.
Let me be clear; it is the historic nature of that landslide and the overwhelming emotional response to that landslide that mattered. It is doubtful that a John McCain landslide would have triggered McCainomania. Well, possibly a Sarah Palinomania. She is dangerous, magnetic, and charismatic despite her taste for mouthfuls of her own feet and her ability to make brainy folks shudder.
Conspiracy fears aside, I don’t know if Bush and the Neo-Con cabal had any real intention to impose martial law and establish a dictatorship cloaked as a democracy, but if they did they certainly knew by Election Day night millions of otherwise complacent and busy Americans would have perceived that as crossing the line and would rise up in revolt. Thank goodness for that landslide.
Recognizing the strong possibility of riots and civil war if Obama lost the election does not mean a civil war was planned. It would’ve uncorked the pent-up rage, fear, and “I’ve had enough!” attitudes of many U.S. citizens. Obama, as Al Gore did before him as the Election of 2000 unraveled, would’ve striven to stop any such violent uprisings on his behalf.
The landslide saved us. As it unfolded my family began listening to National Public Radio. We’re not big TV watchers. But the excitement was too much to contain. Joyous, incredulous, hopeful we dashed to the television and tuned in to Public Broadcasting Station.
Obama called out to those who doubted and feared for our democracy to look right here at the election results. He called upon all of us U.S. citizens to recognize we’re all one America. He acknowledged not just Blacks and Whites but Asians, Hispanics, and Native Americans. He acknowledged “gays and straights, the disabled and the not so disabled.” All of us Americans!
Our new president-elect drew attention to the hard work that lay ahead for all of us. He acknowledged the financial contributions of five dollars and ten dollars from working class families and how it all added up. The man had clearly grown and matured immensely since his first primary debates almost two years ago as a rookie Senator jumping onto the court to play with the big boys and girls.
David Horsey, the renowned Seattle political cartoonist, recently portrayed Obama as being cast as a devil by those who saw him as a mix of Karl Marx and Malcolm X versus those who saw him as an angelic mix of JFK and Jesus. Obama stood off to the side, shouting he’s just “an ordinary guy.” One journalist described the popular swell for Obama as “messianic fervor.” Obama himself knows he has work to do, that the whole world has high expectations, and he’s not wasting time. He’s already learned from the transition mistakes of past administrations, both Republican and Democratic, and is rapidly assembling his staff and team.
Illinois Congressman Rahm Emanuel, a Democrat known for his ruthless and aggressive drive to get things done as well as his ethics and integrity, was handpicked by Obama to be his White House Chief of Staff. Obama will have the opportunity with both a Congress now dominated by Democrats and a majority of states with Democratic governors to reach out, still be bipartisan, and change the socio-political and economic landscape in a way that has not been done since FDR and Abe Lincoln. In fact the popular and astute journalist/analyst Fareed Zakaria predicts Obama to be another Franklin Delano Roosevelt. At least he will certainly have that chance.
We certainly do live in extraordinary times. And no one realizes this better than President-elect Barack Obama and the Black centenarian he praised, Ann Nixon Cooper of Atlanta, Georgia. Ms. Cooper was born in rural Tennessee 106 years ago. She remembers the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. visiting her when he was a little boy at his mother’s knee long before his assassination in 1968.
Ms. Cooper remembers not just a time without cars and airplanes and antibiotics, but she also remembers when women and people of color were not allowed by the White, male power structure to vote. She is in awe that an African-American, and although actually half-White and half-Black is a true African-American as Obama’s father is from Kenya, was voted into the White House. She is in awe, too, that the Election of 2008 was a pivotal year for women candidates as well. As she said earlier, “I ain’t got no time to die.”
I sit here filled with emotion. In hindsight I wished I had done more to support Barack, but instead I supported Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul. They were intellectual giants blessed with common sense and a profound understanding of both the U.S. Constitution and the Money Power. I failed, however, to see their failure to connect from the heart as well as the mind and to demonstrate a presidential level of calm presence.
I failed to see Barack Obama for what he was, a transformational figure of archetypical proportions just beginning to blossom. And now that he is, my eyes are open. With that said, it’s time to roll up the sleeves. Much hard work needs to be done. There are wars, terrorism, regional and global conflicts, global climate disruption, environmental and energy crises, and of course, the looming, crushing global economic crisis that threatens a second great depression.
Last but not least is work we all need to do to safeguard our liberty, our freedom, our Constitution, to roll back and address the abuses of power under the Neo-Con regime. Let us remember George W. Bush is still President of the United States of America until Sen. Barack Obama is inaugurated on January 20, 2009. Bush can do anything he wants until then. We all must not let down our guard simply because “Obama won.” Instead we must maintain vigilance, ever-constant vigilance.
William Dudley Bass
First published 7 November 2008
Revised and reposted 15 December 2011
Postscript added on 19 July 2013
NOTE: This article was first published as “Obama Stands Tall…and the World Stands Up” in one of my older blogs, At the Brink with William Dudley Bass at, http://atthebrinkwithwilliamdudleybass.blogspot.com/2008/11/obama-stands-talland-world-stands-up.html on 7 November 2008 and revised and re-published here this December 2011. The Postscript as Belated Prologue was added in July 2013. Thank you.
Copyright © 2008, 2011, 2013, 2016 by William Dudley Bass. All Rights Reserved until we Humans establish Wise Stewardship of and for our Earth and Solarian Commons. Thank you.