BARACK OBAMA: MISSIONARY OR VISIONARY?

By Uli Schmetzer

         November 2008 - After the U.S presidential election an excited white youth summed up his euphoria when he blurted into
the camera:

           
“For the first time I am proud of my generation.�

           He hit the nail on the head.

            Until that vote there was nothing to be proud of. His generation, our generation, had elected a liar and intellectual
lightweight to the White House – twice. The ‘free’ world heeded the man’s fake call for patriotism and the defense
of our lopsided culture and we sustained two wars of which at least one is nearly impossible to justify. We allowed a cartel of oil
barons and smug financiers to create a ‘phantom’ boom economy’ and when their house of cards collapsed the U.S.
administration and the rest of the world bailed out the gang of crooks by passing their debts on to the taxpayers.

            Most likely the election of Barrack Obama will not bring the ‘change’ he adopted as his slogan or break the
stranglehold the rich have on the poor. It will remain however as a symbol of human dignity and racial equality.

           
The vote has been a revolution of a kind, as a dream come true, as a causeway between white and black, a
blow against racism, a warning to the mighty and arrogant that Peoples’ Power is not dead, not even in
America, true democracy can resurface and sometimes succeed, can give people hope as it did a century ago
though these hopes may be dashed as they were then, and are likely to be dashed now.
          
            Obama, the neo-elect, remains as much a prisoner of the gnomes of Wall Street as are his grass root supporters. By
the time he takes office on January 20 next year his predecessor, President Bush, will have left little, if anything in the U.S.
treasury after offering his ‘gang’ a 700-billion dollar bailout without conditions attached.  Like the old colonial masters
who took all the gold, all the jewels and anything of value before handing over their colonies to ‘democracy’  the new
President is likely to find his country not only devastated by the disastrous experiments of neo-liberalism and deregulated
banking but with an empty treasury.

         
It would require radical personnel changes to offer an alternative to the private greed of an America which
has boasted for generations that anyone can succeed when in fact only a handful still do, an America which
constantly boasts to be the greatest nation on earth yet has more poor and uneducated citizen per population
then any other developed nation.

           Most of us were carried away by an election fought for the first time also on the Internet where millions contributed not
only their thoughts but small cash donations to finance almost half of the Obama election campaign. We were moved by the
young Afro-American’s magnetic oratory with its rhythm of a negro-spiritual transformed into a political manifesto, a worthy
sequence to Martin Luther King’s ‘I have a dream.’
           
                    
May be only later we realized Obama’s ‘changes’ or ‘dreams’ sounded like a Santa
Claus wish list – racial equality, education for all, health care for all, housing for all, no more poverty, gradual
withdrawal from the Iraqi war, dialogue not threats and the icing on the cake: Peace and goodwill for all mankind!!!!

                  After the tears, the joy, the hopes we woke up next day to the reality of an America where the face of
the President changes every four or eight years but not the faces of the system he represents, a system whose
representatives guide the leader of the free world along the priorities chosen by those tycoons who financed his
election and control the propaganda mill that spins out deceptions and create the bogeymen and rogue nations
we can then blame for our problems.     

          Sadly we find Obama’s transition team is already studded with faces from previous administrations, staunch
followers of the neo-liberal economic policies of the Chicago Boys, those Boys responsible for the privatization of all public
wealth, the discarding of millions of workers onto the garbage heap of the unemployable, the enormous gap between the have-
alls and the have-nots, the crash of financial manipulation schemes. They are the culprits that excluded millions from private
health systems and private schools they cannot afford and left the elderly without pensions because their funds evaporated in
the risky financial gambles of fund managers.

       
These are the men and women who will guide the young American president down the same path his
predecessors walked.

            These same faces, most of them Clinton lackeys, have staunchly supported Israel’s occupation of Palestinian
territory, defined the war in Iraq as necessary, the transition of capitalism into omnipotent corporatism as a natural Darwinian
evolution of the survival of the fittest. The same evolution theory gives the U.S. military muscle the right to impose Washingtonâ
€™s rules and Washington’s will on anyone it chooses or anyone who dares challenge American commercial interests, a
challenge usually defined as ‘undemocratic.’

           On the list of this come-back squad is transition White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, the champion fund raiser for
the Clinton and the Obama campaign, defined as ‘a shameless neo-liberal’ who thrust NAFTA down the throats of
environmentalists, a man always cozy with big business and a staunch Jewish advocate of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian
territories. A close White House adviser during the Clinton years he has made sure recently no Democratic House majority will
change America’s objectives in the Middle East which, of course, coincide with Israel’s objectives.

             Transition chief is John Podesta, another neo-lib and Clinton’s White House Chief of Staff which makes it almost
look like a third Clinton term is in-the-making. There are candidates like Paul Volcker, former chairman of the Federal Reserve
the man who raised interest rates in the 1970s and 1980s which allowed the capitalist elite to maintain the value of their assets,
an economist who supported Henry Paulsen’s bailout package last month. He is tipped to become Treasury Secretary.

               There is Richard Holbrook, a possible secretary of defense, who despite a U.S. ban engineered U.S. arms shipments
to Suharto, arms the Indonesian dictator used for his genocidal annexation of East Timor. And there is Madeline Albright,
possible foreign secretary and a great promoter of crippling sanctions on Iraq which killed or maimed hundreds of thousands
and who replied when asked about this high cost in human lives: “But the price – we think the price is worth it.�
              
               Not one of those touted as possible cabinet members, whether John Kerry, Robert Gates, Robert Rubin (a champion
of deregulation which allowed financial wiz-kids to become ‘creative) or discredited economist Lawrence Summers deviate
from U.S. policy in the Mid-East or embrace a new deal back home.

            
In the end U.S presidents are the accumulative products of their advisers.

            Woe for those Presidents who baulk at the advice of their advisers and the shady forces behind these advisers.
America is a country where a white man in the South still snaps into a TV camera when asked why he didn’t vote for
Obama: “I hate niggers.� In that country it is not hard to find some misguided fool to sacrifice himself for ‘the cause of
white America.’

             Barrack Obama will not be allowed, at least initially, to change entrenched privileges, whatever his vision of ‘changeâ
€™ may be. Just like Bill Clinton (who seems to have become somewhat of a mentor to the young U.S. President) Obama will
pay constant lip-service to ‘changes’ during his tenure but will probably make little or no progress in implementing them.
The wall of entrenched mercenary interests in the U.S. is thick.

           Already the neo-president has told his supporters his ideas need time to materialize. And with an eye to a second term
in office he has warned the ‘change’ may not happen in his first four years. But how long will those who shelled out their
five dollars for his campaign wait for results without taking matters into their own hands?

           
In fact this new president has gained one powerful ally: The recession.

           It may hit so hard and reach so deep, that even the gnomes of Wall Street will have to duck and accept, at
least temporarily, a New Deal just as they did in the 1930s when public anger rattled at their doors.

           It is the recession that could kindle the popular revolt to sweep away an outdated neo-con economic system and
replace it, hopefully, with a fairer and more egalitarian distribution of wealth.

          That remains our next great dream following the stunning vote that took an Afro-American to a White House built two
hundred years ago by black slaves. (ends)
      .