Tag Archives: obama

Beer Summit for Black Woman?

Will the Black woman who was removed from Claire McCaskill’s town hall meeting on health care get a “beer summit” at the White House? Turns out she was reacting after a white woman snatched a poster of Rosa Parks out of her hand. The white woman then ripped up the poster. After the Black woman reacted, she was quickly removed from the town hall meeting. According to MSNBC, the white woman was not. McCaskill tries to explain what happened to the crowd, but quickly aborts that attempt as boos erupt from the audience.

Here’s the video–notice the freeze frame of the “angry Black woman.”

Obama, hello?

blfmstprof

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Change is so. . . change-like

So far in Week 1, Obama has announced plans to close Gitmo, declared he will dismantle the system of American secret prisons abroad, and has rolled back the global gag rule. Had I been able to pen Obama’s first-week To Do list myself, these three things would have been pretty close to the top of the list.

As I watched the decisions unfold this week, I realized that my life on the Left has made me virtually unprepared for this sort of success. I supported Bill Clinton, and he gave us Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and the Welfare-to-Work programme. I supported Hillary and watched her get more and more hawkish as she tried to prove she was a tough as the boys. My whole adult life, I’ve been told by the mainstream radical Left (if I can be forgiven the seeming contradiction in terms) that the American political process was fundamentally bankrupt and that there was no significant difference between Democrats and Republicans. I never believed it so much that I voted for Nader, but I believed it enough to cast my votes for Gore et al wearily and warily.

Now it seems that the American democratic process has actually produced something very like…a difference. People seemed to want to take a new direction, and they seemed to see that new direction in Barack Obama–both because of his policies and because by electing a black man America offered itself, and the world, a dramatic symbol of America’s ability to transform and progress. And then, in his first week in office, Obama actually went and did different things from what your average Democrat, much less your average Republican, would have done. Things, moreover, that he had promised to do.

As I’ve watched myself struggle to take in this unprecedented series of events, I’ve realized that it’s not just the pessimism build from years of Democratic betrayal that has made it so difficult to take this on board. It’s also a certain Left-academic habit of mind which reacts to every seeming victory by looking for the underlying defeat. Don’t get me wrong: this kind of critical thinking is an indispensable political tool. We do need to remember how quickly conservative forces recoup movements to the Left for their own purposes–as when the 1960s radical rhetoric of empowerment was transformed into a means of arguing that welfare only increased ‘dependency’ among the poor. But when that is our only approach to events, we find ourselves baffled by an actual, straightforward victory. Of course Obama is going to make mistakes and make political decisions that genuine progressives, of which he is still not one, find reprehensible. But apparently he is also going to make some decisions that we can endorse wholeheartedly–provided we can figure out how.

jke

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Filed under African Americans, election 2008

Why you need to vote & not pin your hopes on leaving the country

As someone who bailed on the USA two years into the President Select’s disastrous administration, trust me, I know that of which I speak: if you’re even contemplating chucking it in and just moving abroad* consider the following:

National Health Care can bite me…and then make me wait years for treatment for the wound. Michael Moore and his shitass movie about health care straight up LIED about the fantasy that is nationalized health care. Months-long waits for surgery, schlepping to Easter Europe for treatments too expensive in the UK, ten minute appointments, zero preventative medicine, and referrals to specialists that never come through—these are some of the delights for national health care. Should everyone have health care? Yes. Should everyone have shitty health care? I’m gonna give it a miss. (Birth control is free, though. That’s cool. Especially when you see how they treat rape victims in courts and in the tabloids. It’s so 1971.)

TV License. In the UK and Australia you have to pay for an annual TV license. Yeah, I know some of y’all are all excited about BBC America, but for reals? Four channels of BBC and I’ve pretty much given up on watching telly. World War II documentaries, crappy Saturday night “family viewing,” super fug people on the soaps (actually, I’ve grown to like Corrie and Eastenders), and annoying attempts to Americanize the news cost about £139.50 per year. Convert that shizznatz. You know you wanna.

Canada does not want yo ass. Try Mexico if that wall’s not yet been built with your tax dollars.

Kiss Customer Service Goodbye. The complete nonsensical nature of basic customer service and business will drive you apeshit. There’s a reason why the UK is no longer an empire: they can’t administrate their way out of a plastic carrier bag. Need help with a utility or purchase? Say good-bye to toll-free calls and dial an 0845 number where you pay for the call per minute. Forget about customer service in a shop. You are invisible. Even when I, a black woman, act like I’m gonna steal something to get some attention—nope, nothin’. Too, every service you purchase with a recurring payment wants to be all up in your bank account or charge you a fee if you insist on, oh, you know, having control of your finances. You can eat for free, though, ’cause it’s an ordeal to get the check and pay.

No Safe Economy. Wall Street sneezed. The rest of the world got the plague.

The World’s Punching Bag. If McCain and Palin are elected, likely people in your newly adopted country will stone you as you try to walk down the street. I’ve been able to get a pass on the 2000 and 2004 elections, but I don’t think the rest of the world will be so forgiving if we hand those thugs another election. Prepare to get your lunch ate on the daily if we’re seeing the actual Sarah Palin and not Tina-Fey-as-Sarah-Palin after November 4th.

I could go on, but it’s late and I have electoral college maps to bookmark online. Do as I say and not as I did: fight for America’s soul! Wrest it from the alien tractor stare of Cindy McCain. She’s pod people.

*This is mostly U.K. based kvetching. I know, I know: if you don’t like it go home. If Obama’s elected, yo, I am on the first thing smokin’! I’m comin’ ta join ya, Weezie!

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