Thursday, June 5, 2008
To radical progressives and plain old cynics (lump me in), the nominatioin of Barack Obama as the party's candidate for President of these United in-geography-and-debt- only States does not mean the same thing as it does to many liberals and progressives. The average liberal, in my opinion, suffers from a milder case of delusion as the average conservative. They tend to (as we all do about something) mute their reality by pretending certain unpleasantries concering our nation either do not exist or don't matter as much.
Even so-called liberals still tacitly endorse U.S. imperialism when they support the military, even though they disagree with our invasion of Iraq. Most are ready to give support to a presence in the middle east, especially when it comes to the protection of Israel. Others agree with global capitalism, but just want to make sure at least a slice of bread is left over for indigenous people vs. the crumbs conservatives are willing to let the market dole out.
So for many liberals who can turn a blind eye to Israeli atrocities, who give lip service to U.S. expansionism and intervention (as long as it is a "benign" spread of democracy), and who think capitalism is fine and dandy as long as corporate CEOs don't make so much money that they can fill a mint, Obama's selection as the Democratic Nominee appears as a close first cousin to the second coming of Christ.
I was at the Excel Center when Obama accepted his nomination (even though Hillary Clinton was still in deep denial), and I too was moved and enheartened by his potential as a president.
But reality is a real downer--the next day, when I saw both he and Hillary appearing before AIPAC (the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee),it reminded me of the limitiations of the office of President. Both senators had to pledge their unwavering fialty to this powerful group and genuflect with obedience. In doing so, they have to turn a blind eye to what Israel really is--a terrorist state that uses the most despicable tactics to accomplish its goals (hmmm, sounds like the United States--maybe that is why the two camps are so buddy buddy?)
Take this snipet from a writer who was denouncing an article by The Times Online writer Julie Burchill who staunchly defended Israel:
TO DEFEND Israel today is to be either callous or wilfully ignorant. Had Julie Burchill bothered during her visit there to cross the few miles from Israel to Gaza or the West Bank, she would have seen such human suffering as to disturb even her frenetic adulation of Israel. She might have seen the daily lot of nearly three million Palestinians as they battle with army checkpoints, curfews, random shootings, arbitrary arrests and air raids. She might have found that the “superJews” she so admires humiliate and oppress Palestinians at a whim: last year, at the Nablus checkpoint, a middle-aged man was made to strip, get down on all fours and bark like a dog before he could enter his city. Women in labour routinely wait at checkpoints until some give birth there and see their babies die.
Those that survive live a blighted childhood. Since September 2000, Israel has killed more than 660 Palestinian children and wounded 9,000 — such as little Iman, sprayed with bullets when walking to school in Rafah last month, even after she died. Thousands of children are traumatised by the daily horrors they witness. For a Palestinian child, life under Israeli occupation means turning 15 and seeing the army come to arrest you if you are male, or seeing your friends bleed to death because no ambulance is allowed to rescue them.
It is difficult to convey the scale and effect of Israel’s abuses of Palestinian lives through statistics alone. But these are horrifying enough: since 2000, nearly 4,000 Palestinians killed, and 30,000 injured; 400 were assas-sinated; and 25,000 homes were demolished. In addition, hundreds of acres of farmland were destroyed. No state on earth, except Israel, could get away with these atrocities, now routinely justified as “defence” against Palestinian “ terrorism
Yet, our shining beacon of new hope, Obama, has to promise to be a friend to a government that routinely commits these types of atrocities...
Obama is indeed a shining new hope, but in a world composed of dark sewers, that light has a lot of shining to do before it can shed light on the ugly reality of what it is we truly must overcome.