The suffering that has been inflicted on African-Americans for centuries in a stain on the moral conscience of our nation. For countless millions of men, women and children to be yanked away from their once homes, treated as chattel and deprived of their human rights is a scar that continues to impair the descendants of America’s holocaust survivors. The rise of Obama and the election of the “first black president” was supposed to represent a symbolic gesture of reconciliation and a move forward into a new era of post-racial Americana. This was the narrative that catapulted an unknown quantity and a bit player in Chicago politics to soar above the political stratosphere and capture the presidency.
Alas there are narratives and then there are back stories. Consider this missive page one of Obama’s back story. You see, it takes a truly malicious mind to take the pains of an oft injured and maligned people and use their struggles to impose yet more harm upon them. I know this article will induce agita upon the legions of Obama’s loyalists and some will try to discount what I write as some “right wing hit piece”; which overlooks the fact that I ran to be Obama’s delegate and was once one of his biggest supporters. The truth is that none of us really knew Obama when he launched his campaign; to this day, very few know his past and even fewer know what he stands for. Obama is a billboard who morphs into whatever personality is needed at the time—he is a political actor unlike any we have ever witnessed.
It was this ability to conform on demand and contort his disposition at a whim that made Barack the perfect candidate to foist the biggest deception on the public in the history of America. I’m not saying this for effect nor am I reverting to hyperbole; aided by perfectly produced rallies, well-timed one liners, scripted speeches and a smile that could sell a Frigidaire icebox to Eskimos, Obama pulled off the seemingly impossible. It was all a reality show; we were hooked the minute he said “Yes We Can” as we signed on without reading the fine print. The Obama campaign was awarded Ad Age’s Marketer of the Year award in 2008; Barack was a rebranding strategy concocted by Wall Street and powered by corporate media.
What Obama rebranded were the immoral and repugnant policies of Bush and the criminals who preceded “Dubya”. After corporate larcenists on Wall Street and Central Banking capos at the Federal Reserve destroyed our economy and stole the life savings of tens of millions of Americans, they knew that they were facing an imminent insurrection once the people realized just how much they were fleeced. The gig was almost up; the time for reckoning was upon our nation. What was needed more than ever was a grand diversion, a way to misdirect the anger of the populace by letting them vent through symbolic votes and the empty theatrics of ballot boxes. But 2008 was not just a regular election; we were facing the implosion of our economy. A bigger hoax was needed than the tried and true farce of “voting the bums out!”
In stepped the man with an exotic name and big ears. What better way to let people think that change had arrived than by selecting a man who was radically different than Bush. Where Bush was an inarticulate oaf, Obama was a polished orator. Where Bush represented the lily white legacy of entrenched politics, Obama represented a supposed outsider. This is how cyclical change works; every four or eight years we are presented pre-selected candidates who are radical departures from the status quo in order to give us the perception that things are going to be different. It’s all slight of hand; the personalities we keep being transfixed on are nothing but thespians on stage. Behind the curtains, U.S. foreign and domestic policies remain as constant as the Rock of Gibraltar.
Yet, given this shell game that is our politics in DC, what Obama accomplished in 2008 and throughout his administration stands out for its sheer malignant brilliance. Barack conned me and countless millions of Americans into voting for an empty suit who talked a good game while enriching his corporate benefactors. Obama was nothing but a grifter who sold dreams to his followers and manipulated the hopes of the downtrodden and dejected in order to gain the White House. One of the very first meetings Obama had at the White House was with an array of banking executives where he hosted the thieves on Wall Street for a state dinner instead of locking them up in the gulags. Obama conspired to protect the very same criminal enterprise that committed the biggest heist in the history of humanity.
“My administration,” Obama noted, “is the only thing between you and the pitchforks.”
When people tell you who they are, believe them. This is an advice given by Maya Angelou that many of us should have heeded when it came to Obama. Barack was telling us all along that he was a front man and a smokescreen for his oligarch masters. He was nothing but a step and fetch it tool of multinational corporations who used his cool demeanor, his perfected cadence, his color and his million dollar smile to commit a trillion dollar shakedown. Not one of the Wall Street executives who bilked investors, workers and the wider public went to jail; instead the same banks that were at the epicenter of the financial meltdown were given over $12 trillion as Obama committed the biggest wealth transfer in recorded history.
Through it all, he shucked and jived while playing the part of a smooth talker. It was his charisma and persona that hid the true insidious nature of his policies. We thought we were voting for change; what we got was the same and then some. Obama was a charmer who brilliantly presented snake oil as an elixir. His followers, myself included, drank it up as we let a cult of personality get in the way of discernment. For our troubles, we got the change we have been waiting for—little did we know that the change would be nickles and dimes in our checking accounts. Obama was a browner and slicker version of Bush who used teleprompters to lull us while unleashing drones to bomb countless nations and entomb endless lives in Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and beyond in the name of capital piracy.
Obama took the mendacity of Bush and doubled down with his own malevolence. He continued Bush’s state spying and the nullification of our privacy by enlarging governmental intrusion. The Obama administration and Eric Holder’s Department of Justice gave cover to the continued eradication of the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. Where Bush began by enacting the Treason Act (otherwise known as the Patriot Act) using 9/11 as a pretext to slowly chip away at our rights, Obama took a hammer to our freedoms as he greatly enhanced the most onerous parts of Bush’s legacy and codified them through the courts or by fiat as it suited him. Be careful of leaders adored by the multitudes—tyrants are birthed through mass adulation.
Remember when we were outraged over the inhumane treatment of prisoners in Abu Ghraib and the tortures going on in Guantanamo? That was so 2000 and Bush ago! Obama set the precedent of extra-legally assassinating US citizens and combatants alike without so much as a hearing and based on innuendos. For this outrageous act of despotism, Obama was greeted with a collective hush and unbending adoration by the same people who feigned concern for decency when Bush was the one bleeding humanity. Obama’s abrogation of the Geneva Convention was barely mentioned by duplicitous corporate media “journalists”. Perhaps I should be a bit more lenient on the supposed “free press” given that Obama unleashed an executive blitzkrieg on the fourth estate as he ruthlessly persecuted whistle blowers and the DOJ harassed truth tellers from Assange, Manning to Snowden as a shot across the bow of anyone who dared to speak against the excesses of the permanent state.
Yet for all his pernicious policies, all pales compared to the way Barack Obama made it his sole purpose to reward the desperadoes who mauled our economy in 2008. To say that Obama was a Wall Street toady is a most extreme of understatements. Using pyramid schemes and monetary scams like Quantitative Easing, Zero Percent Interest Rates and a sea of bailouts, Obama shoveled tens of trillions of dollars to the moneyed gentry while giving the middle finger to the rest of us. He used the bottom 99% as sacrificial lambs in order to feed the wolves of Wall Street. Not only did Obama not end “too big to fail”, he actually augmented this “win win, lose win” paradigm by assuring the big banks that US tax payers would be on the hook and let the banking mafia gamble with free money. We are a nation that is held hostage by corporatism with Dow Jones guns pointed at our temples; if we do not assent to the wishes of Wall Street— BANG! Obama replaced the guns of Dow Jones and gave them bazookas aimed at our hearts. Fired up and ready to go indeed.
Saddest of all is that Obama was able to accomplish this level of fraudulence by treading on the pains of African-Americans and his most loyal supporters. He pretended that he was “one of us” and down for the cause when all along he was a wolf in shepherd’s clothing. He calculatedly took pictures with African-American grandmothers and young “black” kids to present himself as a redemptive story of hope and restoration. He was and is a charlatan who would go on to stick a knife in the backs of the very people he pretended he was for by implementing economic policies that shackled tens of millions of Americans into poverty and sentenced countless many into a life of hopelessness. The wealth gap exploded under Obama and continues to widen as the carnival barker and imbecilic Trump furthers the obscene economic polices of 44. Cyclical change strikes again! Trump is a more orange and less eloquent version of Obama.
I know some will ask why I bring up Obama given the current clown we have at the White House. I do so because injustice does not have an expiration date and because I realize now that policies are a continuum. There is the reason I wrote the previous article about our unhealthy addiction to the political reality show that is going on in Washington DC as we disregard the pernicious policies that both Democrats and Republicans are pushing— policies that are bleeding all of us irrespective of our differences. Obama does not get to prance into the political center stage, act like prince charming, exit stage left after enacting policies that transferred massive wealth to the few from the masses without being reminded of his malevolence.
Each time he gets $400,000 for a one hour speech from Wall Street corporations, just know that is his reward for being the feet washer of his plutocrat masters. It pays well to be a manipulative charlatan and the First Bank president!
Perhaps one day we will wake up and stop falling for these political slick talkers and the marketing ploys that keep being pushed by corporate interests upon us. Here is a good way to separate the fraud from the real; if you see political commercials on TV or politicians with ads on the internet, believe none of what they are telling you and please understand that they are selling you dreams. And when it comes to change agents, just know that they only let overseers in the master’s house.
As always, follow the money. The minute Wall Street interests and billionaires of any stripe or any side of the political isle start giving money to ANY politician on the left or the right, discount these people as frauds and mortal enemies of your interests. Let Obama be a cautionary tale going forward; do not fall for the rhetoric of two faced politicians, pay attention to their policies and heed who is financing their campaigns. #FirstBankPresident Click To Tweet
“Truth is powerful and it prevails.” ~ Sojourner Truth
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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.