I am not American but I am going to wade in, maybe even up to my neck, and ignite a potential powder keg of rhetoric that will, I hope, get a discussion going.
When he was elected, the first time, I remember sitting there and listening to his acceptance speech, as I am sure many of you did, Americans or not, and felt tears swelling in my eyes and emotion welling up inside me – hope, belief in humanity, that we could and would leave this place better than we found it.
The Content of their Character
I genuinely believed that the world had changed and I was proud of America and of all Americans and what they had achieved with this so-much-more-than symbolic gesture. Only in America could we have this enlightenment coupled with a certain wonderful temerity that left us Europeans far behind, far, far behind. Where people could actually be judged by the “content of their character” and not “the color of their skin.” Here we are, the sowers of the seed of hope (whether by mistake or not) looking to the New World to show us the way; to guide us towards the political hallowed land where we too will be able to see the way forward and recognise people not for the colour of their skin, but for their “content of their character.”
Now let me fill you in on a bit of a background. Not historical background as you all know the story of the fight for equality that America has been burdened with because of the fickle history of the misdeeds of the Old World – guilty of the worst kind of avarice. But my background: my feelings on the issue. I wasn’t alive when Dr Martin Luther King made his famous speech, but I have listened to it many times and still do, after a few drinks, to give me hope and inspire me to do things that I would not ordinarily not do. It gives me hope when I am feeling that there is nothing to hope for especially when I read the news and think of how the world is shaping up. It makes me think of the next generation and the kind of world they will grow up in. Will they realise the potency of those words uttered half a century ago? Will they understand the message? And more importantly, will they do something to pass that message on or do something about it? I hope so, in fact I think about it a lot – but I digress.
The Promised Land?
Barack Obama… There he was, surrounded by his family and the extended family of his well-wishers, accepting the post of President and my tears were welling up again. I remember thinking that even the most hawkish of conservatives would have been flabbergasted at how the world rallied around him – not just America. It was momentous – I don’t think any amount of hyperbole can express that time in history for it was the time when we (all of us) actually sat at “the table of brotherhood” as Dr King put it. So Obama sat, at the head of the table and we awaited the coming of the Promised Land, a land whose ideals would reverberate throughout the rest of the world.
So what do we have to show for our hope and tears more than half a decade on? We have sat at that same table and have found ourselves wanting. By “we” I do take some collective responsibility just because I am a citizen of the world, however, the onus has to be on Mr Obama and his cabal and assorted megalomaniacal coterie of advisers, hangers-on and lobbyists. You, yes YOU, were handed it on a silver platter Mr President. Many an American and foreigner hoped that you would be the change that honest Americans with a dream had voted for and the rest of us had hoped for. You were anointed to be the political messiah that we had been waiting for since time immemorial – for even a year in politics can seem like a lifetime as we are told. And what did you do with the hopes and dreams of Americans and other well-wishers across the globe?
The Manacles of Segregation & Chains of Discrimination
“The manacles of segregation and chains of discrimination,” to quote Dr King again, have still not been swept away. Forced searches in New York continue and the judge who deemed them to be illegal and ordered some oversight has been swept away unceremoniously – even swept under the carpet some might add. Segregation and discrimination has reached new heights, mainly through polarisation of the haves and have nots. Rich have become that much richer and the poor left to their own, meagre resources and even poorer lives. Middle classes have been squeezed – with the government arguing like “mewling and puking” children over Obamacare and funding – reverberations of which have been felt the world over.
When Dr King metaphorically asked to cash that check, the check “which demands the riches of freedom and the security of justice” little did he know that decades after his untimely death, things would be far worse: freedom is now a word that doesn’t exist in any way, shape or form and one only has to see the whistle blower Edward Snowden’s daily allegations levelled against the Obama administration, the NSA and all their allies to realise that. Security of justice, it seems, is for those that can afford it and I am sure we all know at least one person who, if they had money, could get justice for a predicament they found themselves in but instead find themselves at the mercy of a mind-blowingly expensive justice system created by Mammon who has usurped her (Justice’s) powers.
Plus ca change, plus ca meme chose – our collective nightmare
This is an administration that wants to bomb and invade and yet does not lift a finger against the likes of Saudi Arabia where women are not even allowed to drive a car, let alone anything else, because of greed – no gluttony for oil.
This is an administration that has increased, through borrowing, spending on weapons – guns and missiles and aircraft and all manner of deathbringing paraphernalia because the defence industry is just too powerful a cartel to break.
This is an administration that has failed the average American. Failed miserably Mr Obama.
Now why should I care you ask? I am not an American and it has nothing to do with me right? Wrong. What you do in America affects the lives of billions of people around the world and we all know that to be true. Your actions ripple as I have mentioned – those ripples create waves and those waves crash upon our shores and the collective shores of the world.
The list is, sadly, expansive: one disappointment after another Mr Obama. Where has the dream gone? Why has the vision of your forefathers, their successors and heirs – the vision of the mantle of democracy, equality and justice been sullied and cast aside? It was a simple dream, a fair dream, and you have turned it into a collective nightmare for all of us.
To quote Dr King again: the gates need to be opened and “until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream” and cleanses the house of the accumulated offal of decades of misrule capped by your two tenures as President nothing will change.