Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/barry14/public_html/blog/wp-includes/cache.php on line 36

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/barry14/public_html/blog/wp-includes/query.php on line 15

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/barry14/public_html/blog/wp-includes/theme.php on line 505
barryfinnerty.com » 2008 »

Archive for November, 2008

A President Without Precedent

Friday, November 7th, 2008

A President Without Precedent

November 5, 2008

Unbelievable. What happened last night was unbelievable. A historic, cathartic moment that could possibly have redefined our country to ourselves and to the world. Barack Hussein Obama is now the president-elect of the United States of America.

After 8 years of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. After all the shameless lying, the cheating, the dirty tricks, the stolen elections, the war-mongering, the scandals, the stonewalling, the incompetence, the relentless attacks on our civil liberties and the Constitution, and the greatest transfer of public wealth to the private sector, that is to say, the greatest mass rip-off in the history of the world, there appears to be a glimmer of hope. Democracy just might not be dead after all.

Personally, I was one of the millions that were swept off our collective feet by the Obama phenomenon. The guy is brilliant. He is the most inspiring political speaker that I can ever remember hearing. He has an uncanny ability to appeal to the better part of human nature. To our intelligence, not our fears. To our sense of justice, not our prejudices. The part that knows we are all in this together.

His story is truly a realization of the American dream. He is not one of the children of money and power. This son of a white mother from Kansas and a black father from Africa has raised himself up from his humble beginnings, and in a nation where the deck was totally stacked against him, he has achieved the most powerful office in the world. Because in this increasingly multi-ethnic and multi-racial society, he is the embodiment of unity.

But wait a minute. How did this happen? Or, more specifically, how - and WHY was this ALLOWED to happen?

Because if the last two presidential elections proved anything, they proved that the right wing of American politics has the power to steal an election from right under the nose of the American people. And that with their corporate control of the media, they have the power to (largely) cover it up.

I was one of millions of people who was seriously afraid that they would do it again.
And get away with it. What is - or was - there to stop them?

Why, in this election, were the final results almost exactly the same as the polls predicted, when in 2004 the exit polls showed that Kerry had won both Ohio and Florida, and there was absolutely NO media questioning of the “official” results?

In most countries, the exit polls are a very exact science - usually within 1/2 of 1 percent - that insure that votes are being fairly counted. Why - in 2004 - were we asked to accept a 4-point differential without question? And why - with the exception of Robert F. Kennedy Jr’s article in Rolling Stone - was there no major media coverage?

And let’s not even talk about the 2000 debacle, in which the U.S. Supreme Court awarded the presidency to George W. Bush, while blocking a recount which by all impartial estimates would have proved that Al Gore had won Florida, and hence the election.

So here we are. November 5. 2008. With the amazing Barack Obama … the first black, African-American President-elect of the United States. I have to ask, what persuaded the powers that be - the real powers behind the scenes, pulling the strings - to allow this?

Did our democracy just miraculously fix itself? Did the electronic voting machine
companies, which, as we remember, promised to deliver the election to Bush in 2004, suddenly put honesty above hackability? Were the vote caging, vote suppression, voter disenfranchisement, and other Karl Rove-style dirty tricks that worked so well for Bush in the last two elections just not good enough this time? Did the corporate media that reported on none of the above acquire a conscience? Was the organization that Obama built good enough, smart enough, big enough, and above all POWERFUL enough to stop them from stealing it again?

Well, maybe. I mean, the man won. And I think it’s great. Stunningly, amazingly great. And one of the MOST important things that his victory represents is what it means to the world. The entire planet looks to America for inspiration and leadership. They want so badly to have an America that they can believe in again… just like WE do. And having an American President with brown skin named Barack Hussein Obama might just take some of the fire out of the world terrorist movement. I think at the very least they (the terrorists) are going to wait and see.

All across the globe, in Africa, Indonesia, Japan, Europe, people are celebrating, breathing a collective sigh of relief, and most of all hoping that with this man things will really be different.

Think of it. After a guy who reportedly called the Constitution “just a goddamned piece of paper” we have a man who actually taught classes in constitutional law! Let us hope that Obama will work to undo the numerous violations of the Constitution that have occurred under Mr. Bush, many of them having been actually passed into law.

Let us also hope that Mr. Obama will recognize the need to show his country and the world that the extraordinary executive powers that were arrogantly asserted
by Bush and Cheney, mostly under the pretext of the “war on terror”, are in themselves a threat to our national security because they undermine the foundation of our constitutional democracy. He needs to disavow those powers and  return the government to its proper constitutional balance. And he knows better than most of us what that is supposed to be.

Barack Obama is an honorable man. Comparing him to what we have had for the last 8 years is like comparing intelligence to ignorance. Humility to arrogance. Honesty to utter mendacity. Compassion to indifference. And hope to despair.

He really made people believe in America again. That it CAN work the way it is supposed to. That democracy IS still real and alive. And people want SO badly to believe that. Here and all across the world.

And I think maybe the people at the top said, “You know what? It’s more important for America to be perceived this way in the world than it is for us to fix the election again and continue our right-wing fascist agenda. We got away with it twice. We made hundreds of billions of dollars. The wars are still going on. He’s not going to cut the military budget. We should be OK for a while. Three times in a row might be too much. There would be riots in the streets and we’d have to bring in the Army and it would make us look REALLY bad. Let the people have their vote… and let them have a real result… this time.”

Illusion? Reality?

I would SO much love to believe that this election signifies a true comeback for democracy and the beginning of the end of the dominance of rich, greedy white men. But I think that might be a little too much to hope for.

That being said, I am very happy to call Barack Obama MY new President.

As it did for so many others, it even brings tears to my eyes.

Because the last years have been so disheartening. And I want to believe again too.