We are on the cusp of a symbolic gesture meant to appease the public and perpetuate the farce that we the people are in charge of this nation. The symbolism I am referring to is the changeover in power—out goes Obama and in comes Trump. In other words, meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Now I know that this statement will rouse the emotions of partisans on all sides; liberals will be outraged that I dare compare the new oaf in chief to the man who had so much “style and grace”. Likewise, conservatives will be in a tizzy that I dare contrast their “working class hero” to Obama who they see as an elitist snob.
In reality, both Obama and Trump are just mirror reflections of the same beast. It’s sad, we as a people are so caught up in politics and cults of personalities that we fail to see the forest for the trees. Meanwhile, as we gaze at the navel of politics, the trees keep being felled as more and more people are being pillaged and pummeled by a corporate chainsaw that has unleashed monetary terrorism on us all without regard to the endless labels and isms we append to ourselves. We keep fighting about policies as the powerful laugh at us rightly; politics is for useful idiots because politics is nothing more than a diversionary tactic meant to hide the hands of the real bosses who are running this nation and truly destroying this world with their avarice.
We have become so programmed to follow politics and nod to the utterances of authoritative figures that we dismiss the most clear-eyed analysis of anyone who is not part of the status quo as conspiracy theorists. We at once rebel against the powerful yet we keep bowing before the alter of the rich all the while refusing to listen to divergent ideas. We have become a nation of automatons who bash on the “other side” while praising our side for displaying the virtues of courage and “truth-telling”. This is how co-victims of this economic warfare that has been unleashed on us destroy each other while the 1% live lavishly at our expense. We turn to politics to solve injustice but it is the very same politics that is perpetuating and purveying injustice as they fracture us in order to subdue us into a state of stasis and dependence.
For too long, I was part of this fatuous circus. I identified myself as a Democrat watching endless hours of Rachel Maddow, Chris Hayes, Joy Reid, Chris Matthews and the rest of the liberal lackeys on TV, online, and in print. The rich irony of it, as I was parroting the talking points of the liberal elites, I was concurrently mocking and dismissing conservatives who were doing the same thing as they ingested the bunk being fed to them from the likes of Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbuagh and the rest of the conservative hacks. I never saw my own hypocrisy; I was too busy pointing fingers at republicans to realize that I was a clown in the same carnival I was deriding.
It was not until I got mugged into reality that I woke up to the deception of this entire God-forsaken system. Years of pursuing degrees and credentials yet it was skid row that educated me more than any professor at Johns Hopkins. What I see now with the wisdom gained from becoming a statistic of this economic war that has been declared against the people is the sheer insanity of our political system. Hindsight is 40/40 and clears cobwebs better than Hoover; I look back at the times I was an Obama “hopemonger” and the endless efforts I invested to get Obama elected and shake my head in disbelief. Obama came in promising “hope and change”; an abject fraud, he just tinkered around the edges and fed all of us to the wolves of Wall Street.
For years I blamed Republicans for the gridlock, excusing the intentional impotence of Obama while blaming the GOP. What I see now is the reality of it, the paralysis in DC is on purpose so that each side can blame the other side for nothing getting done. But notice how both sides keep snapping to attention when it comes to either bowing to the wishes of their billionaire benefactors or, as happened recently, implementing the National Defense Authorization Act. That act had a doozy of a provision in it, it gives the state (our federal government) the ability to monitor and censor “fake news” which is a euphemism for suppressing free speech. As we bicker and squabble about politics, both sides are slowly squeezing away the pretense of freedom we are sold with each successive year.
I am not writing this from a partisan perspective, I really hope you reflect on the words I am going to write next and for God sake take off your partisan goggles. Stop praising Obama for “style and grace”, pay attention instead to the policies he enacted. Don’t regurgitate the dogma of politicians and vacuous pundits, instead assess the facts for yourself. Before you say “well Obama had eight years without a scandal” repeating MSNBC sophistry, ask yourself what is the definition of scandal. Isn’t it scandalous that Obama shoved $14 trillion plus to crooks on Wall Street who collapsed the economy in 2008 while letting tens of millions lose their homes? Isn’t it scandalous that his administration declared war after war throughout the Middle East and “Africa”—dropping over 20,000 bombs in Syria alone. Isn’t it scandalous that he expanded state spying on citizens and worse yet set precedent of extra-legally assassinating American citizens without a hearing or habeas corpus? This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Obama’s duplicity and double-dealing ways.
The sad thing is that “conservatives” reading this will be clapping with glee at what I wrote above but then will blanch at what I am about to say next. How is Trump a hero of the working class again? The same Trump who screwed more people than Hugh Hefner and Nero combined as he endlessly declared bankruptcies to avoid paying the same working class he slithers his malignant tongue to blow deceptive kisses to. The same Trump who was best buddies for decades with Killary Clinton; you don’t have to believe me, Google Clinton and Trump and let pictures be the evidence of Trump’s two-timing ways. The same Trump who was a flaming “liberal” as he stood for abortions, gun-control, and a litany of “progressive” ideals not because he believed in them but because political expediency in New York City—a deep blue city—required that he feigned liberalism in order to rent-seek and line his pockets.
Obama and Trump, and by extension Democrats and Republicans, are no different than one another. Theirs is not about political courage but about political calculation ,triangulation and leveraging people to elevate themselves. Obama seized on the anti-Bush zeitgeist to feed false hopes from teleprompters to his devotees and Trump is doing the same now. The entirety of our politics and our economic system is poisonous and toxic, these politicians in DC and barons on Wall Street are furtive shapeshifters who don’t have a principled bone in their bodies. Yes I’m talking about your favorite politician whoever that politician is; always pretending to be outraged, peddling grievances and stoking anger all the while working in the same system they are pretending to be against. I am caught in between bemusement and indignation on a regular basis as I see these prevaricating shysters from the most liberal to the most conservative snakes take to social media to rant and rage as if they are helpless to do anything about the very outrages they pay lip service to.
One senator can grind the wheels of government to a halt if he/she chose to for example. Not only can they filibuster, Senators can use blue-slip vetoes and endless procedural tactics to stand against the unjust policies they pretend to wage a jihad against. Instead, these jackals on all side take to Twitter and Facebook to drone on and on and put on a show of shock, shock as if they are Captain Renault from Casablanca. What a bunch of pricks; the whole lot, this is a reality show and all of them are actors in the biggest deception since the once bitten apple. And we, the people, keep falling for these antics and theatrics to our demise. I could cite endless examples, from Chris Dodd and Barney Frank who shepherded a bill that was supposed to end “too big to fail” only to bail out after passing the legislation as Dodd became a lobbyist and Frank joined the board of a too big too fail bank. Meanwhile too big to fail was never addressed as the systematic risk that nearly destroyed this economy beyond repair still festers. Wait until the next business cycle comes full circle and another recession hits, 2007/08 will look like child’s play. Patriotism and politics is for the people, profiteering and policies for the powerful and the two paradigms shall not meet—ever.
Stop fighting about politics and instead pay attention to policies! I will keep repeating this mantra for the only thing that matters is policy whether these policies are monetary, fiscal, domestic, or foreign. Policy is where the rubber meets the road; politics is nothing more than a side-show and catnip meant to distract us, the people, from the true source of economic inequality and social injustice. Shed political labels because these labels are the very source of divisiveness that give allowance to class-ism, racism, sexism and the endless isms we are drowning in. Until we shed our political blinders and see the system for what it is through the lens of the very things we have in common, then this farce of a government and the powerful on Wall Street will continue to ramrod us and bleed us into a perpetual state of economic anxiety and uncertainty.
The problem is politics and the ideologies we are wedded to. We keep putting dogma above the one thing we all have in common which is humanity. Ideology gets in the way of our common interests. Yesterday, I posted an article on Daily Kos about John Lewis and whether he is carrying water for the Democratic party. I criticized him without reverting to ad hominem, to be honest I tried my hardest to be deferential given how I now view him. I do not expect anyone to agree with me 100%, but neither did I expect the animosity and hatred I received from the crowd at Daily Kos. See for yourself the level of contempt that was unleashed just because I had the temerity to question their belief system (refer to link HERE). Not only did I incur the wrath of “liberals, shortly thereafter I was banned from Daily Kos and my account disabled. This is the same crowd that rages against the close-mindedness of “conservatives” as they applaud their “liberalism” by annihilating dissent and those who think differently. When it comes to ideological hacks and shills, if you diverge even an iota from their partisan agenda, you will be tarred and feathered as a self-hating, sold out uncle Tom. As if I can’t have an opinion of my own and I’m supposed to be a toady of the liberal elites because of my skin color. The folk at the Daily Kos and the alt-left in general are no different than the crowd at Breitbart and the alt-right in this respect. They don’t see humanity, they just see ideology and anyone who does not toe their fanatical lines has to be dealt with using fiery rhetoric and hatred befitting of a KKK rally.
This insanity has to stop; we keep treating politics and these politicians as if we are cheering for contestants on America’s Got Talent. Meanwhile, Republicans and Democrats alike are colluding with their corporate patrons on Wall Street to bury us in debt and envelop us into perpetual dependence through fiscal schemes or monetary theft. The founders of this nation rebelled against the British crown because of taxes, the taxes back then were a slap on the hand compared to the whack on the heads we are getting now as we are being bludgeoned through a combination of taxes, fees and inflation. This is the reason that the bought and sold media is feeding us unending sensationalism and outrage and why our politicians are becoming more infantile by the day. The more we are treated to outrage, the more we are distracted while a cabal of hyenas on Wall Street and those who control the global currency by means of Central Banks are able to turn us into slaves of the system and servants of their fraudulent benevolence.
Political myopia on all sides is leading to self-nullification. We are letting carnival barkers, from pundits on TV to zealots at the margins of power, enable and empower politicians on both sides of the isle to pass and enact laws and policies which are gnashing at the American dream and hemorrhage hope from the entire globe. So as some cheer on the incoming Trump and others are saddened by the outgoing Obama, I hope the rational people in the middle—the reticent majority—start to speak up and assert ourselves. Our government has been hijacked by corporate fascists who see all of us as nothing more than assets and liabilities on their balance sheets. We have become a nation of 50 franchised states and if we don’t unite to break this paradigm soon, this paradigm will break us and we will finally find equality at the bottom rung of society. Poverty and hopelessness do not discriminate based on the labels we keep putting before our common humanity. #ObamaTrumpMyopia
I too was once part of the circus (this is me in 2008 when I was an Obama loyalist who fell three votes shy of being his delegate); politics no more, my ideology is the humanity we have in common.
Originally from Ethiopia with roots to Atse Tewodros II, Lij Teodrose is a former community organizer whose writing was incorporated into Barack Obama's South Carolina primary victory speech in 2008. He pivoted away from politics and decided to stand for collective justice after experiencing the reality of the forgotten masses. His writing defies conventional wisdom and challenges readers to look outside the constraints of labels and ideologies that serve to splinter the people. Lij Teodrose uses his pen to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak truth to power.
Latest posts by Lij Teodrose Fikremariam (see all)
- Ethiopia’s Choice: Poverty through Grievance or Prosperity through Unity - September 9, 2019
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- A Matter of Life or Death: We Cannot Afford to Ignore Mental Illnesses Any Longer - August 17, 2019