Friday, January 27, 2017

Manning Up

     This morning, Chelsea Manning, the imprisoned whistleblower who had called out our military's barbarism in Iraq through a series of videos disseminated to Wkiileaks, penned an op-ed today in the Guardian. Entitled, "Compromise does not work with our political opponents. When will we learn?", she laid out the Obama administration that had pardoned her in its final hours.
     It's inartful and reads like a dry book report but we can forgive Manning for this as she isn't a professional journalist or writer. What is important are the point she makes in pinpointing exactly where Obama went wrong from the gitgo and never stopped doing- Compromising with the radical right wing, especially with the Teabagger Class of 2010. Manning details the biggest major instances of Obama reaching across the aisle and trying to work with these lunatics and having his hands chopped off every time.
     Manning begins with health care and Obama's signature domestic legislation, the ACA. She states,
For example, when it came to healthcare reform, Obama opened the debate starting with a compromise. His opponents balked. They refused to move an inch. When he would push for the concessions they asked for, they only dug in deeper in opposition. Even when he tried proposing a bill that had been proposed by opponents years earlier.
     Absolutely, spot-on correct. In fact, she mirrors the late Howard Zinn who wrote in The Nation at the very end of his life when asked for his thoughts on Obama's first year as President, "On healthcare, for example, he starts out with a compromise, and when you start out with a compromise, you end with a compromise of a compromise, which is where we are now." Later in his assessment on Obama's first year performance, Zinn concluded with, "Obama is going to be a mediocre president--which means, in our time, a dangerous president--unless there is some national movement to push him in a better direction."
     That movement, obviously, never came and this brings us to Ms. Manning's article today. And she channels Prof. Zinn by beginning her peroration with, "The one simple lesson to draw from President Obama’s legacy: do not start off with a compromise. They won’t meet you in the middle. Instead, what we need is an unapologetic progressive leader."
     It's OK to say it: Obama was a failure. Unfortunately, many of us can't bring ourselves to admit that because that would mean all the ballyhooing on social media and at the dinner table, all the hours, money and time spent on his campaigns were all for naught. And millions are still hung up on the useless factoid that Obama was our first black President and, well, that means he couldn't've been anything less than great. Because we're post racial, right? Hence, all the idiots on Twitter and Facebook who from Inauguration Day on switched their avatars to pictures of Obama or the First Family.
     Unfortunately, the movement the late Prof. Zinn wistfully dreamed of in the last days of his life took Obama in the other direction. And then, last Nov. 8th, enough of us voted our conscience only we were channeling that of the KKK and ultra right wing nationalist movements that gave Trump their hoarse, full-throated support that Trump, for the most part, refused to disavow.
     Manning was spot-on in her appraisal of Obama's miserable, neoliberal failure masquerading as a progressive legacy and it shouldn't matter a roach's shit if Obama commuted her sentence or not. The very fact that he pardoned Manning in the final hours of his administration (while pointedly not giving similar mercy to Ed Snowden), after leaving her to rot in prison for seven years, when he had no political capital left to lose shows what a craven, neolib cunt he truly is. Commuting Manning's sentence doesn't make her any the less correct.
     Manning could've gone on and on citing Obama's endless acts of cowardice going back to the campaign trail almost a decade ago, such as him throwing the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, his pastor, beneath the bus when the Reverend spoke the truth about our history being based on slavery and racism. Obama dropped out of his Trinity Church and joined another.
     When Jailbird Jimmy O'Keefe and his edited videos made ACORN look worse than it was and leading us to believe he wore a pimp costume while speaking to ACORN officials, Republicans used O'Keefe like the useful idiot he was and defunded ACORN. And Obama let them. When Andrew Breitbart, who no doubt would be in Trump's White House now instead of Steve Bannon if he was still alive, released another heavily-edited video making Shirley Sherrod sound as if she was a racist, Obama stood by and did nothing and said nothing in her defense when she was fired.
     When Van Jones was railroaded by the right wing and was forced to turn in his resignation letter, Obama took it without making the slightest effort to stand by him or talk him out of resigning. When he nominated Elizabeth Warren to head up her own CFPB and Republicans wouldn't let her out of committee, Obama stood by and did nothing and nominated Richard Cordray, instead.
     Again, Obama always was and always will be a cowardly cunt to Republicans, Toby to the radical right wing. He gave them everything they ever demanded of him and they took everything with all the gratitude of antebellum plantation owners getting served a mint julep by a house nigger. He never learned. He never called out the Tea Party movement for the pack of spittle-flecked racists they are but he had plenty of criticism for the Occupy Movement and even had the nerve to compare the teabaggers to them. While authorizing lots of oil and gas drilling rights in the worst places and at the worst times (such as right after the Deepwater Horizon explosion that killed 11), Obama saturninely stood by and didn't lift one finger to support the Lakota Sioux in their opposition to the DAPL.
     One more time: Obama was a craven cunt who got the dry heaves at opposing the right wing, the ultimate Uncle Tom and he never did a blessed thing for the liberal/progressive movement save for middling, incremental and meaningless measures disguised to look like actual progressivism. The only hope he ever instilled was the kind he engendered on Wall Street. The only silver lining to Trump's inauguration is that Hillary Clinton never got back in the White House and that Obama is finally out of it.
     Oddly enough, even though Manning never once mentioned his name, a certain serial Tweeter had to get in on the act first thing this morning when he should've dispatched FEMA three days ago to the Southeast to coordinate with first responders after tornadoes killed at least 20:
     Shorter Donald Trump, presumptive POTUS: "Only I can call Obama weak because I'm a fellow President."
     Which is all you need to know about his priorities.
     Like the eagle in the lead image, we need to look at ourselves long, hard and without mercy if we're going to determine the strength of our national character. Or are we going to be like the proverbial frog in the boiling water, taking Trump's fascism when it gains steam until it's too late for us to jump out of the cauldron?

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