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Why Obama Now

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Why Obama NoThere's a new video out “Why Obama Now” Check it out before reading further.

I will be so happy when this election is finally over and the BS fusillade ends. I have promised to cease any and all interest in national politics and other follies beginning November 7th, 2012. (Of course we know what happens to our best-laid plans.) For a more detailed description of many of the legal, moral and spiritual issues I have with Obama, you can check out my essay “Let’s Kick Obama While He’s Down.”

Lucas Gray directed this video. He is the son of (China Syndrome’s writer) Mike Gray.  I could certainly understand a media-savvy father’s pride in his son’s crafting such a clever piece of propaganda. I cannot imagine Mike Gray, the old radical shit-kicker I knew back in Chicago in the 60s and 70s, being proud of the message. We all change. A half a century is a very long time.

Video director Grey explains his effort this way:

“When the narrative began to circulate that Obama supporters were disillusioned and ambivalent about a second term, I decided to make a video to counter that storyline. I took myself out of the storyboard lineup at The Simpsons and Family Guy, and devoted the next 3+ months to making the campaign video that I would want to see Once I’d created all the assets, some friends were inspired enough to pitch in with some of the animating. I think of the result as a love letter to the textbook graphs of my youth, and to the potential for a beautiful future.”

Such touching idealism is almost enough to crack this tired old campaigner’s heart. Speaking of “…the textbook graphs of my youth.” Lucas Grey’s profile picture looks as if he is all of 12 years old (but of course most people I see in media production these days look pre-teen to me.) If Grey had spent at least part of his down time reading Chris Hedges, Cornel West, Noam Chomsky, Tariq Ali, and animating Obama’s record not his rhetoric, he might have come up with a decidedly different set of visuals—perhaps something more in keeping with the cynical satire of the Daily Show. It is good to hear Grey’s report of the continued ambivalence and disillusion of many Obama supporters. Sanity, do thy dirty work! It must be difficult even for the most brain-dead Obamacrats to hear the track of the video without reflecting in part on the irony inherent in many of Obama’s stated positions.

The video seemed creatively and technically as well made as anything I have seen on Jib-Jab (although not nearly as successful as the material from RSA-Animate), with an inspiring music mix and clever, frequently funny visuals. Unfortunately once I got the thrust of the piece, I switched off. I still have not sufficiently cultivated my gag reflex as far as being able to consume all the BS being generated in praise of our failed President. I did access the April 2012 speech Obama gave to the Associated Press luncheon that was used as the only narrative portion of the video.

There is little that any Liberal or Progressive can disagree with in Obama’s analysis of the economic proposals of his Republican opponent. Obama’s assessment of the strengths and benefits of traditional, well-regulated American capitalism could almost be regarded as Uncle Miltie boilerplate.

Obama’s impersonation of a Liberal Democrat always causes me, some amusement (even as I fight back the nausea). Obama is the number-one shape-shifter when it comes to promising change and reform and then either failing to deliver or actually moving the country away from those promised goals. I am assuming Obama is also speaking here for the Democrats and their failure (beginning with Clinton) to stand by the kind of regulations necessary to prevent exactly the Wall St. fraud, bursting bubbles and the economic meltdown that really began to manifest in earnest under Bush 43.

Obama should be careful about speaking ill of the unindicted advocates of deregulation and scam he appointed to serve key posts in his own administration. It was also amusing to hear him criticizing the Republicans for their support of pollution and abuse of workers and consumers. Here is a President whose record on energy policy, environment, labor rights, consumer protection, immigration and protection of whistle blowers has been dismal at best. Romney advocates honestly for these abuses while Obama, in characteristic duplicitous campaign mode, promises corrections and programs he has no intention of delivering—again.

Unfortunately Obama’s newfound progressive campaign rhetoric has not only confused his base but also has alienated the traditional one-percenters whose financial support must be counted on if victory is to be achieved. Somehow the Boardroom didn’t get the memo that: “Not to worry guys; Obama doesn’t really mean any of it.” As a result, the lucrative sociopath vote has aligned itself pretty squarely behind Romney who promises to deliver in months what the Democrat gradualists would take years to accomplish. What junkie could resist such a quick pure fix—even if it kills him?

Now most Liberals don’t even want to think about all the ways Obama and Romney are vehemently on the same page: Defense, Imperialism, caving to corporations and the One Percent, National Security, war on terror, war on drugs, persecution of whistle blowers, domestic spying, infiltration of moderate Muslim groups, violation of international treaties, continued loss of Habeas Corpus, drone deployment, clean coal, fracking, nuclear power, torture, government secrets, etc, etc.

I am not trying to minimize in any way how scary Romney is. If we still had a viable 4th Estate, the Republicans would be laughed off every bipartisan, respectable public forum they attempted to engage. This has nothing to do with denying them First Amendment rights. You are not allowed the freedom to lie unchallenged, in a free and open encounter. Of course Obama lies like a trooper too—just in a way that is able to duck under most historically ignorant people’s radar.

In a campaign where the dominant subtext is “The only thing we have to fear is a lack of fear itself,” Romney is telling us we need to fear everything from Socialism to PBS, while Obama’s only hope for reelection is to scare us with Romney. Would either candidate stand a chance against Rocky Anderson or Jill Stein? Who?

And here’s the real issue in this election, as both the Justice Party and the Green Party are aptly pointing out: We need a real shift in paradigm. (I hate that overused word BTW.) Both Obama and Romney are devoted advocates of a system that can no longer be tweaked into compliance with reality. Neither candidate seems to have noticed what most of the disenfranchised world feels and forward thinking visionaries understand: There is a perfect storm of humanity-induced disasters already swirling around us that the old dispensations are clueless to either mitigate or survive intact.

Our economic system, our agriculture, our carbon dependence, our growing world population, our disregard for the environment and our government of-by-and-for the corporate person cannot—will not—survive. Hearing both candidates prate on about the old platitudes of capitalism, unlimited growth, prosperity, war and our ability to overcome the difficulties we face with the same tired institutions in place, seems not only irrelevant but dangerous.  A vote for either major candidate this time is about as meaningful and as moral as voting for Mubarak in a pre-Arab-Spring election.

The only argument I might consider at all valid is the one that promises that Obama will take us to Hell a bit slower than Romney will. That’s not much upon which to base a campaign video, although I would love to see the groovy, dystopian, Sci-Fi graphics.

I’m sorry not to be able to share any of the customary Democrat campaign enthusiasm this time. I have been a fifty-year believer in all the old non-Dixiecrat, now obsolete, Liberal ideals of the Democrat Party. I have been a tireless worker in the campaign trenches for local and national campaigns. I even worked hard to elect Obama for his first (and hopefully last) election victory. Never again. This time I will not be voting.

With so much at stake, in a world sinking into chaos, participating in an election in which both sides seem to be vying for differing deck chair arraignments and who will be first into the lifeboats, just seems irrelevant and frankly criminal.


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