September 18, 2009

Obama Sets the Stage for Real Fascism?

Thanks to Eastern philosophy, I think I'm getting closer to sorting out my conflicted feelings about Barack Obama. I had fallen prey to the Western logical trap of "duality," of thinking in terms of opposing categories, so that to harbor suspicions about Obama's actual bona fides as a progressive or transformative leader placed me squarely in the yahoo camp of Birther Nation, Glenn Beck Crazies and other perplexing subgroups, with their mystifying, usually ungrammatical signs. (Why the hyphen between "Christian" and "Nation," for example?)

I realize it's not really like that. The Obese/Type II Diabetic March on Washington last weekend (which David Brooks found so inspiring, in his usual clueless way, because he saw some white people talking to black people), in which a large group of the White Dispossessed expressed their rage at Things in General, in its own paradoxical way shed light on the issue. I realize now. looking back over the last decade or so, that I was so shocked by the elevation of a genuine moron, George W. Bush, to the office of the Presidency that I made the mistake of believing that his election was some kind of aberration. Closer to the truth, it represented a trend line in the movement of a government responsive to the"general electorate" toward one which only uses the general electorate as a means of capturing power so that it can do what it sees as its real work, the maintenance of the status quo for the benefit of large multinational corporations. As is becoming increasingly obvious, this is the real constituency of the only two political parties viable in America.

Barack Obama is the head of one of these two political parties. Ignoring the trend line, the general populace (me included) fell for a spiel about "Change," seeing Obama as in some sense the avatar of Martin Luther King, Jr. or Robert Kennedy and wilfully discounting the modern reality that it's simply not politically possible anymore for a true Change Agent to survive in the political machinery essential to maneuvering toward the top. This obliviousness leaves us "shocked" that Obama turns out to be a kind of Bush in sheep's clothing. Obama is just as committed to fighting the "war on terror," choosing Afghanistan over Iraq (because Afghanistan is the "hip" war); he's just as bad and unconstitutional as Bush in denying habeas corpus rights to terror-war captives, creating a legal black hole in Bagram as opposed to the disfavored Guantanamo; worse than Bush in codifying a system of "preventive detention," a major break from a legal tradition begun with Magna Carta; just as craven where Wall Street is concerned; and a complete sell-out on his signature "health care" reform, where it is becoming obvious that he's only interested in the appearance of having passed something, regardless of whether it's actually ameliorative of the problems of the American Middle Class.

While all this is going on, Obama talks and talks and talks. On talk shows, in speeches, in press conferences. He preaches the gospel of bipartisanship while populist rage, in such forms as the 400 Pound/High Blood Glucose March exemplied, is stoked by Media Manipulators such as Glenn Beck, who may not realize (because of his own insanity) how dangerous the forces he's encouraging are.

One thing that is becoming self-evident is that it's highly doubtful the American people are going to fall for the "Progressive Change Agent" shtick again, so that the real danger, which we may see as early as 2010, is that the "progressives" may lapse back into their bitter apathy (which is their actual Comfort Zone, after all), while the Angry Whites (who, unlike the progressives, actually show up at demonstrations and "town halls") will mobilize and begin winning elections again based not on superior numbers but on superior motivation. I see that as the real danger posed by Obama's sell-out: a return of the disproportionate power of the White Religious Right who take to heart Woody Allen's famous dictum that just showing up is 90% of everything.

Meanwhile, the actual motivation of all these town halls and Teabaggers, "Obamacare," is pretty hard to figure out. It is an omnidirectional sort of rage and frustration which is "anti-government," secessionist, anti-immigrant and fearful of being completely marginalized economically. The people doing the demonstrating are actually the ones who would profit most from a radical transformation of health care in this country. In fact, I think health care is going to be the first Big Fail in our society: it's going to break down completely, because it's impossible to sustain the present system. It depends on the solvency of the Middle Class, and the Middle Class cannot afford what we have anymore. That is unique and unprecedented, although it never gets talked about in those terms. Most adverse social conditions in this country simply hit the poor and already marginalized, and then some "social program" (such as Medicaid or AFDC) is implemented to keep them from expiring altogether. The inability of Middle Class Americans to afford ordinary insurance premiums (which keeps adding to the ranks of the uninsured) is not ameliorated by such welfare programs, and yet there is nothing in the present proposals to do anything about this basic problem, because Obama is too timid (and probably beholden) to attack the problem at its root.

Meanwhile, the real estate market is not expected to recover to its 2006 prices until 2020 or so. Should be an interesting decade, in the sense of the Chinese curse.

1 comment:

  1. hammerud2:48 PM

    "The Obese/Type II Diabetic March on Washington last weekend..." Not true. I was there. Actually I don't recall seeing any Obese/Type II Diabetic types. I agree about the corporate abuses of the past, and I also believe Obama is part of the money game. My main concern about more and more government control is that we becoming a people "of the government, by the government, and for the government." I think something should be done about corporate abuses, but not at the expense of giving government expanded control over our lives, with the resultant loss of freedoms.