Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.
 

Black America's Moral Emmissary

Expand Messages
  • World View
    Dr. King, McKinney and ObamaĆ¾ Glen Ford - Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com Wed 1/07/09 Black Agenda Report The global reputation of Black America has suffered
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 7, 2009
      Dr. King, McKinney and ObamaĆ¾
      Glen Ford - Glen.Ford@...
      Wed 1/07/09
      Black Agenda Report


      The global reputation of Black America has suffered greatly under
      George Bush, who deployed Black faces as fronts for his vicious brand
      of U.S. imperialism. Barack Obama's silence on the Israeli assault on
      Gaza suggests that his honeymoon with the planet won't last long. So
      who is to represent the progressive values of African Americans on
      the world stage? "Thanks to Cynthia McKinney, millions of Arabs have
      been made aware of a different Black America, one that is not silent,
      like Barack Obama, in the face of a purposely inflicted human rights
      catastrophe."


      "Dr. King and Obama represent opposing moral and political camps."



      The two days touch: Dr. Martin Luther King's Birthday observance and
      Barack Obama's presidential inauguration, January 19 and 20,
      respectively. To many, the juxtaposition is self-evident confirmation
      of the intersection of the two men's missions on Earth. Dr. King's
      journey, which ended with his murder, and Obama's ascent to the
      presidency, are seen to merge as the dates approach to form a
      perfect, tragic-glorious symmetry - a 48-hour revelation.

      The coincidence of the calendar makes for good copy and grand
      sermons, but in fact reveals a great moral and political dissonance.
      It is true that there could have been no Obama presidency had Dr.
      King and the movement he sprang from not existed, but that simple
      fact of history does not amount to a King benediction from the grave
      for Obama's moral character and political policies. Indeed, Dr.
      King's life and words are indelible evidence that he and Obama
      represent opposing moral and political camps.

      Tens of millions of African Americans - who did not choose the little-
      known Obama to be their champion, but supported him near-universally
      at the polls once his candidacy had been made "viable" - will
      celebrate vicarious attainment of power when Obama is sworn in. Yet
      when confronted on Obama's political agenda, enough of which has been
      put in motion and otherwise made plain since Election Day, few Black
      Obama supporters can mount a cogent defense. "Better than McCain"
      doesn't cut it, anymore.

      "Few Black Obama supporters can mount a cogent defense of his
      positions."



      When the New York Times describes the emerging Obama administration
      as "center-right," there is not much for an honest progressive to
      defend - and most African Americans are progressive on economic
      issues and questions of war and peace. Beyond a ritual counting of
      the president-elect's African American appointees, most African
      Americans seem oblivious to the political nature of his Cabinet, his
      policy pronouncements and shameful silences. More likely, they
      pretend to be oblivious so as not to lose that once-in-a-lifetime
      feeling that happened when the Black man won.

      Blacks who have taken on the task of defending Obama, often wind up
      revealing themselves as persons of little moral or political
      substance, in the process. New York's Dr. Leonard Jeffries is one of
      the more prominent Obamists, a self-styled Pan-Africanist. In my
      second debate involving Jeffries, in Baltimore, December 20 (the
      first was the week before, in Harlem), he repeated his mantra, that
      Blacks should "study Obama-ology." I asked him to define this area of
      study. "Obama-ology," said Jeffries, visibly exasperated by my
      questioning of the obvious, "is the study of Obama. How he raised so
      much money...how he used the Internet...."

      Dr. Jeffries' response revealed his position to have no political or
      moral content. He genuflected before Obama because the candidate
      raised hundreds of millions of dollars (from whom and in return for
      what?) and created an Internet network (to what end, beyond Election
      Day?). Most importantly, Obama was a hero because he won. What else
      is there to know or say?

      "None of the Obamites were even minimally capable of defending their
      guy's record."



      At the Harlem debate, an Obama defender kept shouting into her
      mic, "Obama won! Black people have spoken!" - as if any discussion of
      his political positions was extraneous, or racially subversive, on
      its face. The woman was a leader of the group that organized the
      debate, but like others in her organization clearly did not really
      want a debate. None of the Obamites were even minimally capable of
      defending their guy's record on the bailout, his retention of George
      Bush's defense secretary and plans to expand U.S. military manpower,
      his positioning of bankers at the controls of his new
      administration's economic machinery, his support for AFRICOM, his key
      advisors' advocacy of "humanitarian" military intervention - on not
      one point did the Obama camp offer anything that could reasonably be
      called a defense, coherent or otherwise.

      It is not simply that the Obamites failed to muster a defense in
      Harlem or Baltimore or other venues; admittedly, it is difficult to
      defend the indefensible. What is most shocking - maddening - is their
      rejection of any political or moral standard for evaluating the soon-
      to-be Black president. All that remains is the fact of Obama's power
      and the delusion that Blacks somehow share in that power. There is no
      thought of speaking Truth to Power, and certainly no place for a
      moral compass in such a valueless void.
      We can understand, then, how such people would imagine Obama and Dr.
      King to be soul mates. The fact that one of these men fought his
      whole life against the forces of militarism and economic
      exploitation, while the other empowers, and is empowered by, bankers
      and militarists, does not register on their anaesthetized moral and
      political sensors.

      "There is no thought of speaking Truth to Power, and certainly no
      place for a moral compass."



      If the Obamites had more presence of mind, they would be avoid
      comparisons with Dr. King, which can only redound to Obama's great
      detriment. King's break with his onetime ally, President Lyndon
      Johnson, set the standard for both political and moral behavior. When
      it became clear that the War on Poverty was doomed by the war in
      Vietnam, which acted "like some demonic destructive suction tube,"
      devouring all available resources, King publicly declared against the
      war. In doing so, he severed what had been the most productive
      relationship between an American president and a Black leader in U.S.
      history. But the war gave him no choice, since military expenditures
      made "rehabilitation" of the American poor impossible. Both morality
      and politics led to the same conclusion: the Movement could not
      coexist with war.

      The lesson is directly applicable today, but Americans, Black and
      white, find it difficult to recognize the characters. Obama is Lyndon
      Johnson. National revitalization, including redress of historical
      African American grievances, is impossible unless military
      expenditures are dramatically reduced. But Obama is committed to
      putting 100,000 new pairs of Marine and Army "boots on the ground,"
      an expanded war in Afghanistan/Pakistan, a beefed up AFRICOM, and a
      generally bigger U.S. military footprint on the planet. This, in the
      midst of global economic collapse.

      Dr. King would find creative ways to confront President Obama's
      militarism, and to actively resist further diversion of public wealth
      to the bankers. Were he to survey the current political scene, King
      would be most impressed, not with the Obamas party plans for the
      night after his birthday, but with the way that a daughter of Georgia
      salvaged Black America's moral reputation at the beginning of
      Israel's assault on Gaza.

      "Not all African Americans have morphed into warmongering clones of
      Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice."



      Cynthia McKinney's attempted voyage of solidarity with the besieged
      people of Gaza on the medical relief boat Dignity, rammed and almost
      sunk by Israeli warships, reminds the world that not all African
      Americans have morphed into warmongering clones of Colin Powell and
      Condoleezza Rice. Thanks to the presence of the former Georgia
      congresswoman and Green Party presidential candidate on the mission,
      millions of Arabs have been made aware of a different Black America,
      one that is not silent, like Barack Obama, in the face of a purposely
      inflicted human rights catastrophe.

      Cynthia McKinney is Black America's moral emissary to the world. She
      exemplifies the Black America that consistently opposes U.S. military
      adventures abroad, a people that recognize organized racism when they
      see it, and therefore condemn Israel's treatment of Palestinians -
      the Black America that Martin Luther King came from.

      Some of us are still in our right minds. Hopefully, most of the
      others will recover, sooner rather than later.

      BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at
      Glen.Ford@...
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.