Thursday, June 04, 2009

Obamanity: The Religion of Complicity

Obamanity: The Religion of Complicity

By Solomon Comissiong

Change you can believe in or beliefs you can change? With each day that passes the second part of that question seems to grow stronger and stronger. I have never seen anything quite like the continued cultish fanfare surrounding the 44th President of the United States of America. It is almost surreal to witness the willing complicity of scores of Barak Obama supporters to allow their president to do everything from carrying on various Bush policies to flip flopping on campaign promises. It is almost as though I have taken the “blue pill” as a means to prevent myself from being sucked into zombie-fication that seems to be running rampant. Whatever happened to holding your elected officials accountable? What ever happened to holding their feet to the fire? I guess with the election of President Barak Obama all of the customary rules are non-applicable.

Don’t get me wrong, I can completely comprehend the initial buzz that was associated with the election of a man of African decent to the highest office within one of the most historically racist countries known to man. I can almost see how so many African-Americans were swept into the whole “yes we can” mainstream media blitz. It was a campaign that was thick on glamour and thin on substance. Obama’s corporate money went a long way towards buying the requisite media needed to send legions of prospective voters to the booths chanting, “Yes we can”. Edward Bernays would be proud. However, more than 100 days in and lives of the majority of African-Americans who voted for him are unchanged.

Despite this fact, many African-Americans still hold onto the thin strand of “hope” that Obama’s campaign cast throughout America, much like a fisherman does in an artificially stocked pond. With Obama’s allegiance to Wall Street bankers, by way of gigantic bailouts, black unemployment rates can expect to remain markedly higher than they are for whites. With Obama’s appointing of cabinet members like Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, we can expect schools in predominately black and brown milieus to remain disproportionately disadvantaged and increasingly privatized. With Obama’s non-existent approach to systemic, structural and institutional racism, we can expect America’s centuries old legacy of racism and white supremacy to linger on. For many black Obama supporters his presidency continues to appear as a mirage in a “desert” of oppression.

However, some so-called white liberals voted for him because it made them feel as though they shed a little bit of that “white man’s burden”, even though they can retreat to their suburban homes without having to deal with the institutional racism that their black “counterparts” have to live with on a daily basis. They also have the built in white privilege that comes with their skin color. Voting for Obama was almost cathartic for white liberals as it allowed them to garner some semblance of feeling, as if they did something meaningful to close the race gap in America without actually doing anything of substance.

They could go back to their racially segregated lives and not have to worry about doing the hard work, which it takes, of organizing their own communities to fight structural and institutional racism. Well over a 100 days into Obama’s presidency and nothing substantively has changed in regard to the institutional racism that existed prior to November 4, 2008. Police brutality, disproportionate black and brown unemployment, racial profiling, a racist criminal “justice” system, and apartheid styled school systems are all still alive and well.

America’s war mongering foreign policy sure hasn’t changed an iota since the inception of America’s first black president. And why would these things automatically change with the election of a candidate, of any color, within the constructs of either of the two corporate beholden mainstream parties. I wish that was a rhetorical query but its not.

Unfortunately most Obama supporters seem to have not taken notice of the lack of “change” that was promised to them during his Wall Street orchestrated campaign. They ostensibly overlooked the fact that he was opposed to things such as military tribunals and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act within the past year and then magically, presto, he is for them. He was billed as the anti-war candidate; however he has shown a commitment to spend more money on military than the intellectually challenged George W. Bush ever did. I guess requesting well over 600 billion dollars in military aid for this upcoming fiscal year would seem about right for a man who is currently carrying out an aggressive campaign of terror upon civilians in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Through it all, Obama supporters remain faithful and complicit to their leader, regardless of his Bush styled approach to war. I am quite certain their passive and complicit reaction to Obama’s Afghanistan/Pakistan war would be completely different if the current president was John McCain. I am very certain that their response to John McCain deciding not to send a US delegation to a United Nations conference on racism would be nothing less than protests fueled by outrage. However when you become proselytized into Obamanity you make a vow to remain complicit even when the “clergy” are disingenuous. If there ever was a time to lose one’s “religion” now may be the time. This is clearly what is needed as a means to see past the hype and start holding people accountable. Otherwise those winds of “change” will continue to stay far away from the ground where the oppressive and deleterious heat of the status-quo continues to build.

Solomon Comissiong is an educator, community activist, author, and public speaker and hip hop cognoscente. He may be reached at: and at

1 comment:

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