Shortly after Obama won the election he spoke at a rally in Grant Park, Chicago. After watching the event on TV, I wrote an essay entitled, “Chicago—the city where hope died and was reborn.” Rereading my remarks nearly four years later, I am both proud and ashamed. Proud because my words were among the most eloquent and heartfelt I have ever written, and ashamed because, I secretly suspected Obama’s impending duplicity and betrayal.
I thought if the Liberals would only hold his feet to the fire, there might be some chance for reform. Unfortunately this was not to be. Liberals, flushed with victory, only wanted to sit on their hands, happy to let their candidate lead them into the Promised Land.
I blame Liberals for these failures. Obama might have repudiated his Wall St. buddies, the military/industrial complex and responded in a progressive manner had his supporters threatened revolution. Sometimes frogs do fly and pigs grow wings. Many Liberals still refuse to see the fascist wolf in Liberal lambskin they voted for in ’08.
To the extent to which I was responsible for advancing this deception, including my Chicago essay, I am deeply ashamed. I wish I could return my vote and roll back the hours I spent on the phone working to elect this fraud.
Last Sunday nearly fifty veterans of our brutal wars in Iraq and Afghanistan threw away their medals in protest of the Chicago NATO meeting. By now the message has become amply clear; Obama never represented “a change we can believe in,” but only a continued suppression of our rights and a wasting of our wealth in pursuit of a brutal American imperialism.
I was in Chicago in 1968 at the demonstrations against the Vietnam War. The NATO demonstrations were déjà-vu all over again with police cracking heads with as much gusto as ’68. It is sad that this time the press seemed more complicit with the police. Fortunately streaming videos posted by the protesters served as a check on the police state, their violence against and entrapment of non-violent demonstrators. (Speaking of entrapment and spreading panic, does anyone remember Daley’s ’68 planted rumor that demonstrators tried to put LSD in the city’s water works?)
Resistance is the last vestige of hope for change in our country. I wish them well even though I suspect the outcome will not favor democracy. I also wish it were as effective to take back one’s words as it is to repudiate violence by returning medals given to honor those actions. Unfortunately our words ripple outwards affecting minds and hearts forever.
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|William A. Cook|