Who knew eight years could last so long? I certainly didn’t. In fact, I vividly remember celebrating Barack Obama’s electoral triumph, where questions such as this were far removed from mind. But while millions among us lament the conclusion of the Obama presidency, I find myself much, much happier now than when he was first (s)elected.
Setting aside for a moment the broken campaign promises, the wasted political capital, and the lip-service paid to his most loyal constituents, what was most disappointing about President Peace Prize was the way in which his service to empire was almost completely ignored, if not outright denied, by media pundits, by academia, and of course by masses of the people. For self-identified Democrats, so-called progressives - also known as Cruise Missile Liberals - repeated war crimes committed with their tax dollars is overshadowed by the mere presence of a beautiful Black family in the White House. For Republicans, so-called conservatives and closet racists, Obama's most egregious constitutional violations seem not to matter at all; instead their angst has been drawn simply by a half-Black man holding the land's highest office. Surely symbolism has mattered a lot more than substance to Obama's fans, as well as his detractors. Policy enters the discussion only at the periphery and it's usually by exception. When it comes to politics in these United States, hyper-partisanship very much remains the order of the day.
Over the last eight years, the US Empire has edged further and further toward its demise. Trillions of dollars were stolen from workers and handed over to Wall Street in the form of "bailouts", creating even more wealth disparity. Another trillion dollars was stolen from workers and gifted to health insurance corporations under a new program known as Obamacare. Thanks to NDAA 2012, Americans can now be subjected to indefinite detention anywhere in the world without charge or trial. The precedent for extrajudicial assassination of US citizens has also been set. A record number of whistle-blowers have been targeted and/or prosecuted and a record number of undocumented workers have been deported. Outside of America's borders, President Obama's crimes against humanity have been even more horrific. The use of drones and special operations forces has expanded. Tens of thousands of bombs have been dropped on seven different sovereign nations. Tens of billions of dollars in military aid has been pledged to the most notorious terrorist state on Earth. And thousands of Wahhabi extremists have been trained, armed and set loose, as US military policy has demolished entire countries.
Such injustice cannot and will not continue in perpetuity. And while each of the aforementioned crimes was presided over by a brilliant, well-spoken drone president with a peace prize and a nice smile, the balancing of scales now includes a fierce backlash in the form of the Trump phenomenon. A bona fide neo-fascist, misogynist racist is set to assume the presidency, promising even more empire crumbling; trade wars, civil liberty erosion, deportations, and the like. The difference going forward though: that friendly, smiling face in the Oval Office will be replaced by a repugnant one, leaving no room for the belief that working people have a friend in government. As Brother Malcolm alluded to, there is little to no daylight between the Northern Fox and the Southern Wolf; one will smile at you, one will growl at you, both will kill you. Such a shift in perception creates the necessary space to recalibrate our focus and effort; from defending, even worshipping government officials to delegitimizing and abolishing government itself.
Good riddance, Obama. And peace to the proletariat.