Tone .Are

– Honest Obama –

In Uncategorized on December 24, 2010 at 1:43 am

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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ I am still keeping score ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

There is no better way to start off political commentary, than by making a bold sweeping statement; get the people stirred up with expectation for what they’re about to hear. Although, it may not be the smartest way to begin, with declarations having a tendency to put optimists on their carousel and cynics in a bulldozer. Which perhaps should serve us right; we, with that stride for objectivity from a transparent first line. We ought to know better, than to attempt at an unbiased assessment in these times of polar politics, media, society… after all, the truth has no middle ground. Ironically, to follow such logic is to reinforce the assertion that there is no better way to start off political commentary, then by making a bold sweeping statement.

But I’m moved to amend the format a bit. I’m feeling like the political atmosphere manifested in the turn of recent events, is calling for the coining of a nickname in such a statement’s place. Something cute, yet cliche; for, I’ve done enough in the past six sentences to have you clear that there will be nothing effortless, or original about this rant. …And now that I imagine you’ve been charmed enough;
as will anxious soles springing in place for the double dutch ropes, or, emcees leaning on their final ‘jEA’ before a verse… I’m gOINg In.

Call him Honest Obama!
(cheers . . boos . . roses . . tomatoes)

Two years ago the historic election of the U.S.’ 44th President moved me to predict where I envisioned at the time, we’d be today (see link @ the top of this page). My claim, that the country would be experiencing the advantages and disadvantages of an ordinary, albeit extraordinary President, rested on my calculation that:

“like a typical politician sometimes he will be on some BULLSHIT! and if there is one thing I trust about the man, it is his Will to move sh!t forward… so he will have his good legacy as well.”

And what would make him extraordinary? Why of course, his ability to bring people together! (recall that we were on the heels of the most storied campaign in history)
“little will change along the lines of poverty, the environment, war, health care,” I was sure to follow, having asserted earlier in the piece that “You can only make so much change when your support is the very structure of power you promise to compromise!”

…Not so bad if I might say so myself ^

Truth be told, if our political system worked to match the ideals we wave the flag for, we’d still be celebrating the wave of civic euphoria overcome a great many of us in November 2008. But the emotions we were living in were a testament to Democracy in action; we organized to voice what we wanted, and we got it. Of course, prevalent in that event was the symbolic ascension of a Black man to the Presidency; a manifestation of the potential of our professed ideals.

But modern U.S. Democracy is yet one which capitalizes on work towards integrity with our ideals. Because modern U.S. Democracy in it’s elitist representative fashion of governing, operates to prioritize market above all else. And being the status power structure is hierarchical, in prioritizing economics for us, those we’ve voted in (because they were the options presented us, because they could *afford* to be) are going to legislate based on how it relates TO THEM.

If our modern structure of gov’ment were to reflect the (Democracy in A C T I O N) which took form to put Obama in power, it would be accounting for itself in our everyday participation since. To fully conceptualize what i’m getting at one must accept that the power behind such democracy was not the result (Obama), but the process: (The People). Inversely, the culture of our democracy has evolved to one in which we accept and settle on a cyclical model of participation which allows us to elect someone whom we then depend on to have our interests at heart. With that, I challenge you to try on my assertion, that we’d still be riding the wave of civic euphoria alot of us hoped we’d be riding, today…

Freedom, then equality? Equality, then freedom? Freedom, or equality? Freedom AND equality?

All one has to do is take a look at the conditions politicians insist be included before agreeing to pass a bill, to see how measures which empower the market take precedence over -rights-. “Universal Health Care” for example, was a concept we witnessed being stripped of it’s essence. Because Health Care is a gigantic industry, having our taxes provide a subsidized system of healthcare would threaten the potential the elite benefit from in exploiting it. Really and truly, average citizens just want health care! But the old smoke screen takes effect when these same politicians begin to frame single payer health care impossible in the context of ‘our debt’: Some of us, packing for our second vacation of the year, in our air conditioned condos, come out of our bottled-water stacked fridges endorsing their position that we can’t afford it, while others of us default on over priced hospital bills that cost everybody, one way or another.
After more than a year of political theater, an exhausted process produced a compromise.

Indeed I have every right to imply that our expectations for “Change” were delusional, I am unapologetic about my smug insinuations (political theater)… The Obama administration had absolute rule over government, dominating all three branches, and yet in the time it did, they didn’t have the impact that the Democrat/Republican split did in the past week alone. Only per the suspended reality of an Obama favoritist would such irony work itself out to an explanation of chance. A sober rational points indication towards the fact: Our system is NOT built to change itself. The fact that the repeal of “Dont Ask Don’t Tell”, the ratification of the nucleur arms treaty with Russia, and an accord on the bill to pass health benefits to 9/11 first responders, were all blessed to pass at the ransom of Republicans who wouldn’t have allowed any of it without an extension of tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans is our blind spot pinned between the fridge and the freezer if we’ve ever seen it!

Here’s what the future stands to look like in the face of such compromise:
* A dependence on big business to create jobs they’ve never been known to pull out of the air in the first place; AS OPPOSED to a planned and coordinated national effort overseen by the federal government we elect to do the job.
* A perpetuation of war and foreign occupation, as exploiting foreign resources is where a great majority of that wealthiest 1% concentrate their investment.
* A lopsided health care system which allows private industry to monopolize good doctors and services, and leaves common tax payers to fund the public option, without the help of the wealthy we’ve pardoned from the responsibility of taxation.
* A lopsided Education system which evolves into the same have vs have-not system as the health care industry as dictated by the burden of the common man carrying the cost. (WORST CASE SCENERIO IS WE BEGIN CUTTING THE BUDGET OF ONE TO HELP THE OTHER)
* ^ A continual trend of cities/states cutting public services and non profit funding, with millionaire politicians telling us we cannot afford to have the amount of fire houses we have right now, etc.
* States competing in a race to the bottom, to cut workers rights in a draw for industry (which at this point is hollow noise through the straw)

Get the picture?

In Obama’s own defense he cites the following reforms as proof of the change his administration has brought to pass:

“billions of dollars that were going to subsidize financial service industries, under the federal student loan programs, are now going to be going directly to students.”

“If you have a mortgage, or a credit card, or any kind of financial dealings out there, as a consequence of the changes we’ve made, the credit card companies cant increase your interest rate without notifying you and they cant increase your interest rates on your previous balances.”

“You can’t have a mortgage broker steer you to a mortgage that is going to cost you more money because maybe they are receiving incentives to do so.”

He said he would come into office and cap the shenanigans with regulations, and all the above prove examples of how indeed, he has swooped in and designated a government intervention. Hand in hand, of course, billions of dollars were allocated to save the financial system from crashing. Thing is, you read between the lines of the three proposals he cites having won, put them up against the concept of progress and they fall short of such consolation. What they do in fact, is they overturn excesses constructed by the corporate elite in the era of exploitative freedom overseen by our past few presidents. Essentially, he has been ‘cleaning up the mess’.
By ‘change’, I dont believe the great majority of his support felt we were supporting a return to a better status quo… I believe what we were hoping for, was for something NEW

I’m going to pull my pants down, flip my sox, and toss my shirt off in conceding that I’m quite aware that the premise for where i’m going with all of this appears weak in light of the quantitative effort we celebrate in this “Season of Progress”. My knit picking of a singular ‘tax break’ hints at an unproductive cynicism, as we conceptualize a tax break something we’d all like to enjoy, what could be regressive about that? My defense, and I stand on it naked in the cold (hey now), pends on what i’ve indicated our almost certain future will look like. We as U.S. citizens have been spoiled till now, receiving privileges as granted us from the bounty of imperialism, and giving generations of descent to win legal determination of the rights one man deserves over it, in equality to another… never never never, have we had to imagine what might happen if the world begins to demand it’s fair share back, and we find ourselves picking apart the cheese. The only impactful change in such a time, would be structural change. And the Bush Era tax breaks are an extension of an outdated Reagan era theory of economics.

Legislation is wonderful! On paper, Obama has already established himself as one of the most accomplished Presidents in history. But such a feat deserves a ‘College Drop Out’ interlude (thanks Kanye).. WTF we gonna do with paper? While certainly the passage of Dont Ask Dont Tell is REVOLUTIONARY if we are talking identity politics and civil rights, and the 911 Health Care bill represents a dignity the government has righteously chosen to uphold, and the pact with Russia is cool for as long as it is relevant; Common American’s are expressing that we are not experiencing ‘change’. Worse, there is an impending fear that things have been getting worse! A somewhere our leadership is sneaking luggage off to a one way flight to Mars type of fear. Then, aside from those of us whom are actually doing quite fine, there are those amongst us whom aren’t doing so great, yet will go to the grave blaming it all on Bush; content with a Hawaiian I Told You So framed on the wall in all his handsome glory *aye.. the guy makes big ears look sexier than Beyonce’s legs*

In his exchange with the supporter whom expressed fatigue defending his tenure, Obama encourages that we keep our eye on our long term goals of:

“making sure that every family out there; if they’re middle class, that they can pay their bills and have the security of health insurance, retire with dignity and respect, send their kids to college. If they are not yet in the middle class, that there are ladders their to get into the middle class if people work hard, get an education, apply themselves. That’s our goal.”

And here’s the trick with the vision Obama lays out: It is a vision which has worked for the U.S. for a century, yet has withered considerably from the days in which one salary bought a home, a car, and raised a stable family. It lacks in ambition, what it doesn’t for jargon! What do I mean by that? Welp… have you ever REALLY wondered beyond the general visual conjured when the code ‘middle class’ is used, whom exactly constitutes such an ambiguous sector of society? Because you juuussssst may be assuming that it constitutes the majority of our country (I mean whom doesnt assume the majority of our country is paying their bills, has secure health care, can retire with dignity and send the kids to college?????). In which case of course, hey… Obama seems to be on target and within reach of bringing us back to the good old times. ….ehnt ehnt


Please examine Exhibit C.
According to Economists William Thompson and Joseph Hickey (Wadsworth; Thompson, W. & Hickey, J. (2005). Society in Focus. Boston, MA: Pearson, Allyn & Bacon), the middle and upper class combine to constitute 48% of the population. As it were, MORE THAN HALF of the population is in need of those ladders Obama was referring to, if we in the working and lower class brackets of society want to be able to “pay their bills and have the security of health insurance, retire with dignity and respect, send their kids to college.”

My people…
think about that for a minute.
We are discussing the BASIC things!
The majority of us would stand correct, to start looking ground up.
We have a REAL base of power!

A win is a win and so it’s unfair to hate on Obama for doing what he’s been able to, within the constraints of our modern reality of governance. It’s not like he can sneak some kind of bill which radically redistributes power from its consolidation around him. He’d have to look over the shoulder of alot of corporate government agents, to make eye contact with us, the 52%. But in the same vain isn’t it healthy that we begin to get off of the notion that politics is some kind of sport? That we evolve from this state of dealing with our rights like each issue relevant to our happiness and well being is some kind of game played in the space between two dugouts, and playing into the role of cheerleaders for one or the other?

Whenever I hoist a conversation on the state of politics and power, I want to be certain that in addressing the status, I am implicitly provoking the populous to consider our role in it all. I blame Obama for nothing, that I wouldn’t have expected to be blaming him for before he got elected. I was never that naive! And that’s not to stick a thumb in anybody’s eye… At the end of the day the demonization of Obama can be used by the left OR the right; it can just as easily (MORE easily) lead to the election of an Ultra Right Wing formation of government as it can, to a Revolution!

What it means is that we must tread delicate… but we MUST KEEP TREADING, with out hands, with our sticks, with our votes, with our dialogues, with our arts, with our living arrangements and lifestyles, with our own systems and structures of economics, with our own sovereign (whether or not endorsed by the law) representations of leadership and governance, IN SOLIDARITY with the ideals we wish to push forth for our security and freedom.

An Elder I know, whom runs an adult education and ESL program in the South Bronx has a sticker in her office of Obama. It is subtitled “Make Me”.
Say what you want about Barack Obama, he has ALWAYS been clear and transparent about what he is doing and why he is doing it. I do not agree with 75% of it, or at least, I do not believe it the best possible solution 75% of the time. And yes he is an imperialist President with blood on his hands… Yes he is a capitalist president, with poverty stuck in the sole of his shoes… But I listened to him speak about the gains he’s made in the past week and the majority of his air time went towards remorse that he couldn’t pass the Dream Act….
And ive listened to him speak about every single policy he’s been able to pass, and every single policy he has booted, and on every occasion he could have kept his word choice to a minimum. Why be critical? People would love him either way…
In each one of those broadcasts he has set a precedent for a Leader (ON A WORLD WIDE LEVEL..) for integrity!
You haven’t heard ANYBODY walk away from a compromise, which put his/her popularity in the balance, stating the likes of “we acted like children”, “I am ashamed of how we’ve conducted ourselves”, etc. Nothing’s been swept under the rug in a fashion which insults our intelligence (wikileaks, etc. that’s another thing).

And still I hold to everything I myself, have stated above. We need TRANSFORMATION. Obama is not that!

“Make Me”

For all we know, Obama is bolder than we think… perhaps he wants it our way too…

– Tone Are


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