Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Pharaonic Splendor and Rorschachian Symbolique

An impromptu and overdue analysis of the several points of view expressed hereabouts over the past few....,

Gary Younge writing in monday's Guardian had the following to say about Obama;
Obama has himself created a new constituency that is expanding the Democratic base, just like Jackson did. Its roots are not in race, class or single issues but age and ideology. The bulk of his support comes from young and independent voters. In South Carolina, we will see if African Americans will follow. Politically, the connections are looser and far less radical; but electorally they may prove more effective.
The article covers a lot of ground and I will do it a jarring disservice by not attempting to recapitulate most of that terrain. I found it particularly interesting for a very specific reason. It has a quick and dirty synopsis of political group identification - past and present - and the extent to which the social networking structures comprising political group identity have shifted over time.

Personally, I don't believe Obama has created any new constituencies. Rather, I believe that Obama embodies a rorschachian ambivalence which enables a broad cross-section of Americans to project into him their own particular hopes and priorities. People see in Obama exactly and exclusively - what they want to see. To me, it is this and this alone that makes his candidacy interesting.

Ed Dunn wrote everything that Younge wrote in a tiny fraction of the verbiage;
Trust me, I know how much of an influence Harold Washington had on me as a child in Chicago when he won the mayor office. It made me feel like I can be anything I wanted to be if I put in work because I saw a Black man do it. Blacks are told all their lives what they can’t do, what they can’t be, they will get killed if they stand up for what is right and when I saw Harold Washington go for that mayor office, that was my hero. And if Barack Obama running for office, standing there on a podium talking about uniting America, moving America in the right direction makes him an inspirational hero to any Black kid out there, that’s the only real reason that matters why African-Americans should have unconditional support for the man. Let that man Barack Obama be a hero and inspiration to our kids, screw all that political, ideology issue nonsense you spouting that is just worthless rhetoric.

To me, it is not about the presidential candidates or issues I've heard the past 20 years such as taxes, abortion or moral values. To me, it is about correcting the economic failures of the Bush administration that may be irreversible and change the entire course of this country.

I think Congress as well as the President office need to clean house and get rid of the special interest that exploited the American economy into a zero-sum game theory manner.
Spoken like a veteran, veteran entrepreneur, and a patriot - I believe Ed sees the situation through a quintessentially American lens - "yes we can"!

The unabashed youngeian chorus came from MIB and Submariner who made no bones whatsoever about identifying with Obama, seeing their own values, perspectives, and group identification personified in Obama and just loving it;
Obama's candidacy doesn't represent change in the ideological, or generational sense. Instead, he projects a middle-class identity that's ignored by pols in both major parties. The Senator presents himself as 'one of us'; not as a benevolent elitist (Democrats) or a proto-fascist authoritarian (Republicans).

For argument's sake, accept my earlier analysis as correct. Wouldn't Obama then symbolize the power to change society for the better lies within each of us, as does the prerogative and direction of its use?

Perhaps my views are slightly Darwinian, but I believe 'change' is a constant to which the most intelligent people adapt quickest in order to survive, if not prosper, regardless of circumstances. In this respect, Obama is an idea in which each of us has a vested interest -- that jes grew a few of the Afrosphere is constantly talking about. And a radical departure from the standard ivory tower conceit displayed by our pols.
You hit the bull's-eye, MIB.

Barack Obama is the kind of politician that you and I won't see again until we're old men wearing Depends and bound to wheelchairs.

do Xyb0rg and Nulan really believe that Powell could add more to the
Pharaonic splendor or majesty of a Barack and Michelle Obama in the White House?

Spence brought the moral and reflective chorus;
i've been thinking about obama vs. edwards. as i noted early in the game there was a time in which you couldn't find the words "poverty" or "inequality" in obama's platform...where edwards began on these issues.

one of the things that left-leaning pundits noted in response to obama's approach was there has been no time in which bi-partisan agreement led to systemic change. rather a president RESPONDING TO A SOCIAL MOVEMENT ends up dragging the minority party with him...slapping them upside the head while doing so.

in all of the discussions about a black president, only one person has gotten to the crux of the matter--grace boggs. when we FIRST began to fight for beo's the idea was NOT that they be CEO's in blackface, but that they were the candidates who had the best chance of remaking society into something sustainable and humane.
with laserlike emphasis on what Obama has said and done - I suspect that if Prof. Spence engaged you in a socratic exchange on Obama, it might go a little something like this;
How many of you know Obama's record and positions?:

-- Supported the first Gulf War (See "The Audacity of Hope").

-- Supports not a swift end to the Iraq occupation, but only the withdrawal of "combat troops" by 2010 (most Americans in arms there are either mercenaries or support troops), and maintaining a strong military presence within Iraq of indefinite duration

-- Opposed Rep. John Murtha's 2005 call for a prompt withdrawal from Iraq

-- Called for the possible invasion of Pakistan (though he believes in "talking")

-- Repeatedly stated that all military options should remain on the table regarding IRAN, lending implicit support to the administration's belligerent stance

-- Has stated publicly that impeachment of either Bush or even Cheney is unacceptable. "Just, you know, vote the bums out," he has said (Google it) -- even when they are dismantling constitutional protections and rigging elections

-- Does not support universal, single-payer health care, and is campaigning to the right of Clinton and Edwards on this issue

-- Opposed the filibustering of Samuel Alito's Supreme Court nomination

-- Voted to renew the Patriot Act

-- Has received a "C/Underachiever" rating from CBC Monitor, putting him in the bottom third of Congressional Black Caucus members on voting record. By comparison, Harold Ford, Jr., William Jefferson, and Artur Davis got F's, while Maxine Waters and Barbara Lee got A's
If you support Obama, please ask yourself how many of these positions you agree with? (if I've put words in the good brother's mouth, I'm confident he'll correct me)

Then came the hardline from Mahndisa Rigmaiden and E.C. Hopkins - neither one of whom seemed to get particularly caught up in Obamathusiasm;
I don't trust politicians because they generally ARE NOT agents of change.

I think politicians are simply figureheads for a larger agenda over which they have no control.

I've developed macro-sociological beliefs that that have led me to be about as distrustful of the stated, prima facie intentions of our politicians as our brilliant sister Mahndisa is. And, I believe, in the long-run of twenty-five years or more, it really doesn't matter which politicians are put in the White House. I believe the U.S. social system has evolved so that only certain types of politicians are electable during any given social, political, or economic context, and that things such as who is/was the U.S. President for four or eight years are almost insignificant attributes of the social system.

The macro-sociological approach is a top-down, bird's eye, social engineer's approach. Its key weakness is it requires the thinker to use simplified abstractions, often based on ambiguous social statistics, which are often based on flawed data acquisitions. The individual or "Dunbar groups" (I'm using this term to indicate small social networks of approximately 150 folks who interact with one another regularly) of the society are often ignored in part or in full when this method is used to evaluate how a law or policy change will likely influence a social system.

So, I don't really spend much time thinking about whether Obama will change anything. I really don't believe Obama, or any other politician, can change anything, at least not in a truly iconoclastic or unpredictable way, that wasn't going to change with or without that politician. I believe the U.S. social system determines (or predetermines) who we, members of the ruled herd, can choose for U.S. President, and I believe it determines (or predetermines) the dynamics that almost all of us will erroneously perceive as significant, politician-led change. And, I believe the U.S. President plays only a minor role in this illusion, this stage production. The U.S. President will merely be a mask-wearer and an actor, someone thrown on the stage to play a part. The script, however, has been and will continue to be written by the power elite. And the power elite will continue to control the stage on which the U.S. President and the rest of us will deliver of performances.
I stated my position on sunday - and nothing that's happened over the intervening three days has caused me to change my perspective;
I sincerely believe that we American people will absolutely elect the leadership that we deserve.
The most interesting deliverable I anticipate from Obama's bid for the presidency, is that it will provide us with a rich, deep, and wide body of data more clearly delineating our just deserts as a people and a culture at the twilight of industrial civilization....,

Comes now Bro. Mahkeru to weigh in with a sentiment rather closely mirroring my own;

I personally believe that the American Power Elite, given the plethora of events it is struggling to control, is at one of its most vulnerable points in history. The missing element is a mass-based democratic movement, which can raise consciousness and challenge those vulnerabilities.

If a mass-based democratic movement does not emerge before the American superstructure begins to collapse, then I expect the Neo-Cons to have a free run to implement their fascist programs by deflecting attention to and blaming the “cultural others”—Blacks and Browns—for their demise.
I'm not so sure that they want a Darwinian threshing floor right here at home though Makheru. I believe that Pax America has not even begun to hit its true globalist imperial stride in the pending resource wars. It's going to need manpower in the millions to accomplish the force projection requirements of the next decade and beyond.