Saturday, January 23, 2010
....so Obama isn't the messiah?
a week or so ago i saw this video by the Sons of Malcolm about Obama and pretty much how they don't like him. and i've been having somewhat of an ongoing conversation with my bestie Yvette about people who support him, people who don't, what his presidency means for people of color and whether or not its actually something to celebrate. so i've been thinking about what i think about him and what is presidency means.
up until about 2 months before the election, i was still deciding whether i was going to vote or not, and if so, what candidate i would root for. i was on political forums constantly discussing the ABUNDANCE of problems with the United States, with the actual voting process, with the candidates, and the common disconnect between what the candidate says and what the candidate ultimately does. when there are so many limitations, issues with media coverage, and financial situations candidates have to face in order to even get their name on the ballot, then in what reality is this considered democracy? it isn't. its some diluted, edited by-product of democracy. so for some time i wasn't going to vote at all. i felt like it was pointless, at at best, it was giving approval of a faulty voting system that is in desperate need of a reformation.
but, sometime in the middle of these discussions, i was thinking that none of this is going to change in this one election, so its best if you just vote for the candidate (those that have the minimum monetary means, have filed their petitions, met their state requirements for being on the ballot, and has made their faces known through proper media coverage to the majority of the american public...)that i most agree with. and considering that the democrats and republicans like to bulldoze any other party in the election, theres really only two individuals who actually have a chance of winning. this causes many people, myself included (at the time...) to vote for the "lesser evil". when it gets down to just two candidates, i think most people have given up any chance of voting for someone that will be the change this country really needs (and not the "change" on the back of bumper stickers and posters, but actual change)and just vote for whatever candidate they think will fuck up the country the least.
and i voted for Obama (for Edwards in the primaries, although i would have loved to see Dennis Kucinich win...). i voted for him because i agreed with him on healthcare, i agreed that we needed to get our troops out of the middle east in a timely fashion, and i agreed with him on reproductive rights. i also considered the way he spoke about respectfully encouraging dialogue between the United States and Iran (mainly because i thought it showed the way in which he will deal with other countries). i even campaigned for him. at the time, i lived in Pensacola, Florida, and they had an Obama Headquarters there for him, and the community college i went to had a club called Students for Obama that i got really involved in. we did cookouts on the campus, giving people info on him and informing them about early voting, and where to vote. at the headquarters, we went on foot door to door to the houses of individuals that voted democrat in the past or in the primaries and reminded them of early voting, the last day to do so, where their district votes at, and offered them a ride to the booths on the last day of election if they so needed it. i was even there at the Civic Center when Michelle Obama came to Pensacola and made posters that decorated the walls and stage. i put up a poster of Obama in my apartment window and wore an Obama/Biden '08 pin on everything i wore. i was all for Obama. but was i caught in the hype; in the togetherness blacks were feeling at the time?
i would say no. i had clear cut reasons why i voted for him, and that was that. but i cannot say that it wasn't something more when he won than just another candidate winning. i felt, at the time, that this was a step in history for all people of color that have been oppressed in this nation; it was a "fuck you!" to any bigot that still thought of us as less than and less intelligent.
but why? what did his win actually mean to race relations in this country? how many bigots think differently now about people of color than they did prior to November 4th? what has changed since he won? what kind of change did we expect that never came? how many of us were expecting a revolution?
its been a year since Obama has been in office, and what can we say has really changed? are we still in the middle east fighting a pointless, unnecessary, destructive war that has no positives? yes. do the majority of us still have shitty or no healthcare? yes. is there still racism, bigotry, and discrimination? absolutely (some have even argued that Obama's win made race relations worse because now, bigots who voted for him or showed respect to him after his win now act as if they can say any racist comment and then balance it out by saying how much respect they have for Obama). do blacks still possess the highest unemployment rate in the country? yep. do people of color now feel as though our voices are heard just because we have a black president? no (not most of the one's i've spoken to anyway...).
my friend Yvette, who i think really grasps the situation, has said that it doesn't matter if he's black-if he's not doing anything for people of color and ignoring racism, problems of capitalism and patriarchy, and doing nothing to progress this country, then he's no different from any other white man who doesn't get it. it isn't just enough to be a black president. theres so much more to it than these types of superficial aspects.
we cannot just follow any man or woman with dark skin that says they're here to make a change in the system. you have to actually do it.
and thus far, he has not.
comment. think. criticize. register to vote. don't register to vote.