Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Obama Disconnect

"All in the game yo, all in the game." - Omar Little, The Wire

The current US President Barack Obama is a PR representative's dream. In television appearances, he is calm, relaxed, witty and at ease with even hostile questioning on the very rare occasions he is subjected to it. He is serious and statesmanlike when necessary: at the announcement of his outstanding foreign policy success, the assassination of Bin Laden, and on receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, where he extolled the virtues of 'necessary' war. He can be very amusing, a natural comedian, on scripted occasions such as the White House Correspondent's Dinner and even off the cuff.

Back when he was Senator Obama, he even said his favorite TV show was The Wire, and that he especially liked the intelligent, principled gangster-killer character, Omar Little. This went down a storm with the younger generation, who were practically orgasmic that, after eight years of George W Bush, they were finally getting someone really cool in the top job.

They were not the only ones taken in, and millions are still deceived. The only meaningful way to judge the leader of a nation is on his actions and policies, not the PR gold. Looking at the actions of the Obama administration, the disconnect between image and reality is truly shocking to behold.

Courtesy of Politifact, here is a (four-page) list of broken campaign pledges. They range from the minor to the major (Guantanamo Bay, public health care option etc.), despite Obama having total command of both Congress and the Senate for the first two years.

This article written 9 months ago is a little out of date but it provides a succinct list of Bush policies continued and/or expanded by the Obama administration. In particular, the massively expanded use of drones in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen, which have killed hundreds of civilians, including children, must be highlighted.

Obama has also presided over an unprecedented war on whistle-blowers, men and women who should be revered as heroes in any democracy worth the name. He has extended and expanded the powers of the Patriot Act, and on his watch the National Security Agency is making the US a surveillance state of almost dystopian proportions.

Does this sound like the man who reveres shows like The Wire? Anyone who watched the third season dealing with Hamsterdam and the heartbreaking War on Drugs would surely understand that this particular tragedy must end. The disconnect is staggering and can only be explained by either Obama being a pathological liar, or the President not actually being in control of the actions of his own administration. Or both.

The US version of democracy is a sham, as a vote for either major party will lead to a continuation of all the above policies and more. Bipartisan consensus is now so broad in US politics that the only differences between the two major parties are cosmetic. The only viable candidate for any voter who dislikes his tax money being used to murder children in foreign countries in the next election would be Ron Paul, who is dismissed and ridiculed by the establishment media for his anti-war, anti-interventionist policies. If the choice is Mitt or Barack, there is no choice at all; whoever you vote for, you will get Wall Street and the military industrial complex safely in the driving seat once again. And so it goes.

Tragically, to the vast armies of Obama supporters, he is a rock star, a cool dude, and naturally someone with such a big smile could not possibly be responsible for the above disgraces. The message of this blog to all US voters is simple: bear in mind that voting for either of the major parties in the US is tacit support for the killing of children, among other atrocities. Think about that, and how you might feel if a foreign power dropped a bomb on your child in your own town, and then called it 'collateral damage'.

'The 99.99998271% - Why the Time is Right for Direct Democracy’ by Simon Wood is available for free download. In this 70-page book, the current state of human rights and democracy is discussed, and a simple method of implementing direct democracy is suggested.
Simon Wood on twitter (simonwood11) and Facebook or at his blog.

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