Anyone who knows my politics knows that I didn’t vote for Barack Obama.
It is my belief that our nation is a very powerful and dangerous toddler. The Bush administration is a brand of disposable diapers that has been too small, too flimsy, and extremely uncomfortable, and it could do nothing but overflow and stink to high heaven. What I’m seeing of the incoming Obama administration leads me to believe that it will be a perfectly sized, extra absorbent, and comfortable brand of training diapers. The problem is, of course, that what we as a nation need right now is an intensive crash course in potty training. Obama and his administration are ill-equipped to drag our infantile electorate into the most rudimentary steps of political adulthood.
We can’t lay all the blame for their future (or established and documented) sins at their own feet, though. We should have grown up a long time ago; at the very latest, we should have been shaken into maturity in the wake of the twin debacles of Vietnam and Watergate. But, no. Instead of taking an honest look at ourselves and making the necessary (perhaps even drastic) changes, we digressed into the self-congratulating bigotry and self-immolation of the Reagan era. We’ve continuously given ourselves the representation we deserve, and we’ve largely rejected and marginalized the relative few who have tried to give us better.
Guiding us every step of the way have been the corporate media. They’ve fed us a steady diet of obfuscatory bullshit for decades (though that diet has been gradually declining in quality). I’ll offer you a small example of what this bullshit factory churns out. (For more, you need to visit sites like Media Matters, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, or the Daily Howler; all are listed in the sidebar links section.)
The right wing is likely going to go apeshit trying to tie the Rod Blagojevich hara-kiri to Barack Obama. As usual, the ‘liberal’ corporate media will be there to lend a hand. Look at these sequences from a story in the New York Times (all emphasis mine):
In a sequence of events that neatly captures the contradictions of Barack Obama’s rise through Illinois politics, a phone call he made three months ago to urge passage of a state ethics bill indirectly contributed to the downfall of a fellow Democrat he twice supported, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich.
Beyond the irony of its outcome, Mr. Obama’s unusual decision to inject himself into a statewide issue during the height of his presidential campaign was a reminder that despite his historic ascendancy to the White House, he has never quite escaped the murky and insular world of Illinois politics. It is a world he has long navigated, to the consternation of his critics, by engaging in a kind of realpolitik, Chicago-style, which allowed him to draw strength from his relationships with important players without becoming compromised by their many weaknesses.
First off, where is the “irony”? What are the fucking “contradictions”? According to this very article, Obama made a call urging passage of the ethics bill. Is the Times implying that he didn’t really mean it, or that he expected it to apply only to Republicans? Second, was Obama supposed to run as a Democrat and not acknowledge, much less have anything substantial to do with, the other members of his party? Is the New York Times surreptitiously advocating the abolition of political parties, or the adoption of open parliamentary democracy? If so, sign me the fuck up. But let us continue:
Though extreme examples, they were emblematic of the path cut by Mr. Obama through Chicago politics, where he became known for making alliances of convenience with personalities that seemed antithetical to his self-image as a progressive reformer. His political roots were in the left-leaning neighborhood of Hyde Park, but at key moments in his career he did not hesitate to form relationships with politicians who were fixtures of the Democratic machine.
So what the fuck was Obama supposed to do? Make his political career in the Green Party? I vote for Green Party candidates whenever I can, but I’ll be damned if CNN or the New York Times (or even local news) bothers to mention them much even when they’re running for president.
It looks here like the Times is doing everything it can chain Obama to the corruption of Chicago and Illinois politics without any substantial or actionable links. In other words, this is a fuzzy smear job. I don’t like what I’m seeing from the incoming Obama administration, but if this is the sort of bullshit on which a major national newspaper is going to put a magnifying glass for the next four to eight years, what difference is it going to make? If the Times and the rest of corporate media are going to spend endless column inches and hours recycling right wing smears, who’s going to serve the public by focusing on what really matters?
I guess this means that– politically speaking– we’re going to keep shitting on ourselves for a while longer.
h/t to Attaturk at Firedoglake