Barack Obama: America’s Boabdil
It’s all over; the Capitulator-In-Chief has spoken. Under the guise of compromise, this embezzler of hope, and promiser of change, has left a ransacked, powerless American super-majority without its tattered symbol: the American Dream. Yes, Obama has, on his own, “negotiated” a treaty, or rather terms of surrender, for his party in Congress.
Granada had its Boabdil… and America has its Obama. Boabdil surrendered the last bastion of Moorish domination in Europe, the Kingdom (Emirate) of Granada, in 1492, to Ferdinand and Isabella, signaling the beginning of the new Spanish empire, just seven months before Columbus would set sail for the Indies, and the subsequent European sacking and exploitation of the indigenous peoples inhabiting the so called “discovered” American continent. Obama has surrendered the remnants of a dying American Dream to the military-industrial-capitalist elite that keeps 80 percent of the American citizenry under its ruling thumb.
But Boabdil had little choice given the manifold number of Christian forces besieging Granada. Obama, from the onset of his presidency – and for all the problems the nation was having – politically was starting with a silver spoon in his mouth: working with solid majorities from his party in Congress, while owning the bully pulpit of the White House which offered him the opportunity to educate the public to the truth… and to shame any obstruction by a vitriolic Senate minority when using the undemocratic rule that prevents full-proof passage of legislation without a 60 percent majority. Obama failed miserably by not exercising his power to bring change to America, whether through a lack of vision and skills, or through misguided, some might say treasonous, advice. This week we are witnessing the last surrender in the two-year-long series of capitulation or compromise.
Yesterday, December 7, anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor 69 years ago, Obama, like Boabdil did half-a-millennium before, surrendered the welfare of America’s lower and middle classes – instead of the keys of Granada – to the party beholden to the elite: the GOP. What FDR said about December 7, 1941 and the attack by the Japanese task force, found an echo Tuesday with the surrender without much of a fight of our Capitulator-In-Chief, Barack Obama: “A date that will live in infamy”… redux.
Obama and those in his party, who insist on self-poisoning with masochistic pseudo-compromise, starting with Vice President Biden, keep flying a self-preservation political PR campaign giving them credit for obtaining concessions for middle class America after the shellacking the Democrats received during the midterm elections. But results from last month’s elections had little or nothing to do with the country turning right as much as it was a referendum on Obama and a Democratic Congress. In truth, it wasn’t so much the success of Republican loyalists and their Tea Party cohorts, but absence of support from the base that got Obama elected… now discouraged by his deeds.
Economic giveaways included the extension of the Bush tax cuts to all, sure to continue redistributing wealth from the poor to the rich – a two year moratorium sure to become permanent; and the taxing of estates worth more than $5 million at a rate of 35 percent, as the Republicans wanted, instead of a $3.5 million threshold with a 45 percent rate. As a concession, Republican leadership offered to allow an extension to already expired unemployment benefits. Not a laughing matter, but our conservative society apparently was ready to throw the unemployed in the streets as knackered human rejects without voice or vote! All in all, the package agreed to by Obama could possibly add close to another trillion dollars to the deficit.
As Obama was about to take the reins of the nation three years ago, he gave in to the Pentagon in matters of war (Afghanistan and Iraq); soon thereafter he gave in to Israel, and a compliant State Department, in matters of peace (between Israel and Palestine); and now he is giving in to the Knights and Squires who make up our economic elite. Americans appear to be castrated of idealism, viewing war as necessary evil happening someplace else… only concerned with a diminishing standard of living, acting as if victims drugged in uncharitable consumerism.
According to legend, as Abu’abd-Allah Muhammad XII, our Boabdil (a Spanish phonetic corruption of his Arabic given names Abu Abdullah), was marching towards exile with his royal party, he looked back at his beloved city from a rocky promontory and started to cry; and that his mother came to him and said: “Thou dost weep like a woman for what thou couldst not defend as a man.” This “Moor’s last sigh,” as the spot is now known, should be an inspiration to Obama for the remaining two years of his one-term presidency.
This president of the United States, for all his articulacy and general likeability, lacks two fundamental attributes in political leadership: vision and courage. Obama has lectured the nation on both virtues, but as his record makes crystal clear, he has domain over neither. This last round of incompetence has sealed Obama’s fate as irrelevant and should be a wakeup call for Democrats to demand from the precinct level on up a new party leadership that might afford them a chance to keep the White House in the next presidential election; people such as Russ Feingold, or Dennis Kucinich, or a dozen other lesser known politicians with mind and heart to bring about much needed change in America. Progressives… a far-fetched idea, I know!
Perhaps we, Americans, are finally getting our long-in-coming just deserts!
© 2010 Ben Tanosborn
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|Liaquat Ali Khan|