Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Barack Obama: Nowhere Man

You might think a poem about George Bush is a funny way to introduce a post about Barack Obama, but for me it makes sense, there is a parallel, which I'm sure won't be lost on you.

Whereas Bush squandered the good will of the world, as described by the Australian poet, Manfred Vijars, Obama has done something far more unforgivable to something far more precious than goodwill. He has taken the hope that was placed in him by a trusting electorate, the hope for a genuine new beginning, hope for change, hope for some kind of justice for all Americans, he has taken that hope, not squandered it, for in fact hope cannot be squandered, it can only be, in the case of Obama, crushed, cast to the ground as something worthless and trampled underfoot.

Not a criminal act, as those of his predecessor, but something rather worse, something quite heinous in fact, betrayal. He betrayed his people, but he has betrayed hope itself.

I first posted this in 2007, there a few lines in there that could have been written yesterday.

Dubya You've Spent What Wasn't Yours To Spend

You have spent the good will of the world

A Poem From Oz
A Cynical Sceptic

This piece came about as a result of the Cole enquiry into the Australian Wheat Board (AWB) inquiry paying "commissions" to Saddam Hussein to accept our exports.
Not a single individual (in the AWB) received a benefit, but our wheat-farmers retained their Iraqi market short term.

A Cynical Sceptic

There's a bucket load of crap that's being spread around the world
and were tugging on the coat tails of the biggest flag unfurled,
I can't believe the bullshit that our pollies try to push-
For "Freedom and Democracy" and their pall bearer "Bush"!

The world stood 'with' our Yankee mates that sad September day
and strained real hard against the bit to leap into the fray
to show those evil mongrels that you just can't do that stuff!
We waited for the invite so we'd stand together tough.

And George, your European allies, you treated with disdain?
Piss on your mates to stand alone? where's your bloody brain?
The principals you represent, you've trampled underfoot.
Withdrawal of rights! pre-emptive strikes! (Morality's hard put!)

We joined you in Afghanistan. That was just and right!
But you bombed a bit, sprayed some shells and then just left the fight?
Hell-bent on another path - left the Afghans in the mire
to purse some flaky doctrine that your "Neocons" aspire.

The mongrels of September hailed from countries far and wide
Tunisia, Algeria and Saudi 'rabia's side.
Were trained in the Afghan', Sudan and Yemenee
their funds came through Italian banks and those of Germany.

Some met in Indonesia and Malaysia no duress-
were taught to fly, (and here's the rub) you guessed it-the Us!
Those countries-"there" were all involved in that September's whack.
The logical response? You say - "We must attack Iraq!"

That despots should be toppled so their people can be free
is appropriate, but bloody hell, not so selectively.
Mugabe is an evil prick who gives his people hell
but do you care for suffering there? Not that I can tell!

To justify agendas "hid" you create a smoking gun!
Bullshit is still bullshit mate, no matter how it's "spun."
No Balkan Coalition where the World united stood
against one mongrel despot to get rid of him for good!

Now we can't point the finger 'cause we're also hypocrites
in our trading practises and that gives me the shits!
We slip some backdoor money to the biggest prick around
while standing tall with hand on heart, profess we're honour bound.

Howard, Vale and Downer are three pretty astute blokes
yet their amnesia's "collective"? - More like collective jokes.
Three hundred million dollars, and they can't remember squat?
If we tried that, we wouldn't last! they'd have us damn well shot!

Our leaders puff their chests out while strutting on World's stage
treating us like kindergarten kids not not quite of age.
Beating drums for false crusades through doctrines they impel -
you lied to us you bastards! May you rot in fucken hell!!

Reprinted with kind permission of Manfred Vijars copyright - 2006

The Nowhere Man
by William Rivers Pitt,
5 April 2011

So, yeah, Obama is in. The President of the United States officially threw his hat into the 2012 election ring on Monday morning, and the nation reacted with a resounding, "Oh."

What a mess.

It wasn't even two and a half years ago. Can you believe it? Two and a half years ago, there was a detonation of optimism that echoed across the country once the returns were in on that November night. People took to the streets here in Boston, literally banging pots and pans together as they danced and shouted in celebration. The scene was repeated in city after city and town after town, and even the "mainstream" media gushed from election night to Inauguration Day about the spectacular moment in American history we were all witnessing together.

Hindsight, however, tells us today that much of that optimism was wildly misplaced. The long shadow of George W. Bush still hung low and dark over the land, as it does even now. That was part of it, of course, part of the sense of expiation and purgation so many felt once the deal went down; on that November night, the national nightmare of Mr. Bush's presidency was writing its final pages, and then came January, and he was gone. Despite all the failures and disappointments that have since come, those were two very good days.

And there have been disappointments. A great, great many of them. The words we heard were beautiful back then, soaring and sure, and many believed. How could they not? Here was this new president who could sing the birds down from the trees, who was introduced to the country in 2004 by way of a convention keynote address that blew the roof off the joint. Some years later, along the jagged, wending path of a brutal primary campaign, candidate Obama was carried to the nomination by the power of his words, and yes, many believed, even in spite of themselves.

But then he won it all, and two and a half years later, many of his most ardent supporters now hear his words and taste ashes in their mouths. You campaign in poetry, someone once said, but you govern in prose. The poetry was magnificent. The prose, in far too many ways, has been dreck, and those who believed now find themselves more demoralized than they can easily describe.

He and his fellow Democrats all but folded on health care, leaving us with less than half a loaf. He backtracked on Guantanamo, and doubled down on Afghanistan. He promised to erase Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy, and broke his oath shamelessly, to his party's great lament in 2010. Wall Street stands unmolested at the center of his counsel, while Main Street withers on the vine. He is flipping missiles into Libya while flipping off the American people by racing to "compromise" with brigands and thieves on the matter of how many billions to cut. He has, to be sure, had his share of victories, but in so many critical ways, he has been the Nowhere Man, the absence of what was so seemingly present when he was elevated to his current station.

What galls the most, what infuriates and confounds, is the brazen clarity of the situation at hand. Mr. Obama has not been losing policy arguments to reasonable people. He has been losing policy arguments to people who are, in many instances, absolutely and unabashedly barking mad. He is losing policy arguments to people who sought elected office in government in order to denude and destroy that very government. Listen to them talk and the matter is plain: they got the job to destroy the job, and are so blinded by the fervour of their political catechism that they cannot be reasoned with under any circumstances. They are destroyers and usurpers, but Mr. Obama has time and again bared his neck to them, and we have all suffered with their sundry victories, and his sundry defeats. more truthout

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