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Unpopular Ideas

Ramblings and Digressions from out of left field, and beyond....

Location: Piedmont of Virginia, United States

All human history, and just about everything else as well, consists of a never-ending struggle against ignorance.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

He Never Promised the Rose Garden

As I have mentioned before, the noted historian Barbara W. Tuchman wrote a book called "The March of Folly," in which she dealt with the phenomenon of how national and other kinds of leaders consistently will do things that are against their countries' or other entities' own best interests.   But that deadly quirk is not at all confined to kings, presidents, prime ministers, popes, and what-not, and today we can see that threatening to happen with ordinary citizens in droves, in the runup to the elections next year, on all sides of the U.S. Racial Divides.

One case of this exists in how -- besides a number of others who had formerly professed to be on his side -- B. Obama seems to have run afoul of a certain number of his supposedly fellow Rainbows (i.e. "black people") who now are vowing to do him and by extension the Democratic Party some dirt by staying home during the voting next year and thereby they figure they will "get even" with the President and his party.

Why?  For not exactly following in Martin Luther King Jr.'s footsteps when it came to leading Rainbows to "the Promised Land," as King vowed to keep trying to do during his very last sermon, back in 1968.  (Even these Obama Antis could sense meanwhile that an industrial strength "Putney Swope" flip was completely out of the question.)

In that era when people all over the South and also in parts of the North were marching and getting beaten and arrested in droves and even dying in the struggle to obtain for Rainbows the right to vote for anything and anybody at all -- a right that was freely available to the worst so-called "white" hoodlum slobbering in the gutter, merely because of his melanin count -- this attitude of vowing to forgo voting purely out of spite of some kind would have been seen among the Rainbow educators in the institutions that I attended to be the height of ignorance and stupidity.   But alas I am not allowed to say that myself, openly and frankly.  It would make somebody mad, with a vow to get even once over.   So that Tuesday a year from now these misguided souls intend to sit at home on their fat behinds and not vote, and the Devil take the hindmost -- which that horned entity will surely do, to the great, oily gratitude of those eternal pre-Fascists, the Teapublicans.

It's very disheartening.   Such non-keepers of the faith, as the late Adam Clayton Powell would say (a 1950's in-your-face Harlem Rainbow Congressman, though if a person was to see his picture or hear about his many escapades, this man would appear to have been the twin brother of Erroll Flynn instead), such people thereby show their deep ignorance of what voting is all about.   They actually think that by voting they are doing the Democratic Party a favor, along the lines of giving a sweating marathon runner a drink at about the 18th mile, when the reality is that it is the Democratic Party that is doing them and their interests a favor by so much as existing and doing the hard and steady work that they do.   Disgruntled progressives and liberals may huff and puff all they want, but the Democratic Party, for all its faults, is still the only force with a chance of slowing down or halting the Republican leading of the American electorate down the primrose path to a condition so tawdry and hateful that the country would be lucky to get out of it by means of another civil war..

It's not easy to start or to maintain a viable political party.  At least in the U.S. it isn't.   If it were easy then there would long since have been a third and truly progressive party, and maybe not one but a number of them.  Even the Tea so-called Party over on the other, dark side of things, is not really a party.   They have no chairman, no presiding committee, no organization to speak of.  Instead they are merely a nasty attitude and little else.   They sneakily claim to be independent of a political party, but the truth is that they didn't just pop up out of nowhere.   Their faces would have been familiar among the same old, endlessly angry and resentful Republicans of all the past modern eras.  Therefore they are just some sort of excrescence on the G.O.P. -- a malignant growth on the rectum of the Republican body..

The fact is that if people had been looking instead of just assuming, they would have noticed that, as far as I know, Obama never promised to be King's spiritual successor, and for several reasons.

The first is that he probably knows his limitations, and he's been trying hard to keep them concealed, among them the fact that he is no sort of a real leader.   He isn't iron-jawed and resolute enough.  He is much more a constantly laidback professor given to saying, "Now, now, people."

Another is that Obama's familial legacy has no sort of tie-in with the American Rainbow's experience of all the injustices that they have sturdily endured.  He can rely on his physical appearance, and he can play basketball every Thursday and profess to be naturally and fully tuned in, but that kind of grounding in the rigors of the past is something that either you have in every one of your cells or you don't, and it's just impossible to fake. 

A third reason is that if he had promised to pick up where King left off, he would never have been elected President in the first place, and that only follows because U.S. Presidents are supposed to see to the interests of all the various groups in the country and not just one -- a principle that the G.O.P. has consistently ground underfoot whenever their turns came.  And though people may routinely keep referring to him as the nation's first "black" President, I think it was generally recognized but left carefully unsaid that B. Obama is very much his mother's child and hardly at all his father's, and for that reason he was considered acceptable.

One of the hard, cold, and enduring cruelties of American life is that whereas a person of European descent can enjoy the luxury of taking Tuesday election days off and staying home and scratching his butt and drinking beer with a clear conscience, because his rights are always going to be preserved despite all the vapid screaming to the contrary, a principled Rainbow always has the obligation to pick himself up from any normal sloth and go out and vote.  Essentially, unlike those in the dominant group, in at least this respect he is literally forced to do the right thing, and that's not all bad.

Similarly the drive to keep Rainbows as a group confined to the back of the bus is still so massive and ongoing that neither B. Obama nor any other President of color can  have the option of being another Martin  Luther King, for reasons already mentioned, and at least for the time being.   The best he or she can do is to try to block the eternally attempted rollbacks of the gains already made, while slipping in some new advance every now and again.  And when there are other very big issues, of which B. Obama has more than his share to face right now, that tends to be stretched out to being very now and again.

A big consolation is that it ties in with the John Henry folk verse that goes:

      I was born one morning about the break of day.

      I picked up my burden, and I walked away.


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