by William Skink
The legacy Obama will pass to the next president is an executive office that has never been more lethal and dangerous for citizens and non-citizens alike. Claiming the right to execute citizens without due process (and an innocent teenager who should have had a more responsible father), not to mention that war on whistleblowers Obama has waged, dusting off the espionage act for a 21st century crackdown on honorable, courageous people trying to warn us of the corruption and criminality, the executive branch of the US government has become even more fascist-friendly and ready to roll than it was under George Bush.
Despite this legacy, Obama still stands before the world and uses his oratory skills to mesmerize people into starry-eyed complacency. On Facebook, Obama’s speech at the UN–especially the story about a refugee child–got the attention of the leadership of the Montana Human Rights Network. I couldn’t help myself, and stated that I found it difficult to take the words of a terrorist-arming war prez seriously. I got this comment in response, which I appreciate:
…yes Obama is in so many ways a President of war. He is so so so far from perfect and I have many issues with his foreign policy, neo-liberal economics, etc. And, yep thanks for the reminder of the role he directly plays in creating the situations that drive many people to fleeing- war/free-trade… It’s so hard to be pushing him from the left when we are faced with the overt racism/xenophobia of the GOP right now. Obama is a seriously amazing orator and these words and his story telling about 6 year old Alex’s compassion was powerful, but thanks for reminding me not to be blinded by his words so much that I am not critical of him. I think I will do both, which is hard- inspired and critical….
People apparently need to be reminded that the overt racism/xenophobia bubbling up in the body politic is a direct result of neoliberal economics and interventionist foreign policy. There are a few places where a reminder isn’t necessary, like Consortium News, which featured this response to Obama’s speech at the UN. From the link:
But the speech took on a surreal tone when contrasted with the reality of Obama’s eight years in office. Listening to the thoughtful elements of his address, some might have wondered why the President hadn’t acted in accord with these concerns throughout his two terms in office.
Instead, Obama was a president who bailed out the bankers and jailed the whistleblowers. While the Wall Street bankers whose reckless behavior crashed the world’s economy skated from accountability (along with Bush administration officials who rationalized torture), Obama used the Espionage Act more times than all his predecessors combined to prosecute people inside the government who tried to expose wrongdoing.
Obama was a president who upheld the neoliberal economic order; signed a bill that would allow the military to make arrests on U.S. soil; engaged in his own disastrous “regime change” in Libya; and supported the establishment of a Salafist principality in eastern Syria that would turn into the Islamic State.
He was a president of drone strikes against civilians; and coups in Ukraine and Honduras; a president who continued NATO’s march to Russia’s borders; oversaw vast illegal surveillance of American citizens and a president who backed a global trade deal, the TPP, that will complete the corporate coup d’état (though he bizarrely said at the U.N. that it would protect workers’ rights and the environment.)
Obama’s presidency has been a disaster for this country, and for the world. Whether it’s Trump today, or Cruz tomorrow, the executive office has been firmly prepared for an authoritarian demagogue.
So here is my parting shot for the hope-killing neoliberal prez preparing to lame-duck himself into his federally protected, post-presidency life. While Obama talks pretty at the UN, this artist has the O-Bam Blues. Enjoy!