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Glen Ford: Obama, Fat Tuesday & The Big Hangover

Glen Ford: Obama, Fat Tuesday & The Big Hangover

Obama, Fat Tuesday And The Big Hangover

A Black Agenda Radio Commentary
By BAR executive editor Glen Ford

Introduction: There was more symmetry than coincidence in the intersection of Fat Tuesday and Super Tuesday. For Black folks, both were celebrations without substance. The good times rolled in a devastated New Orleans, while the empty promise of "change" galvanized African Americans to turn out in overwhelming numbers for a candidate identical to his opponent in all things substantive. ObamaL'aid was consumed in even greater quantities than any inebriates New Orleans could supply. Any analysis that concludes Obama's issue-less contest with Clinton amounts to a "movement" is as vacuous as describing the Mardi Gras as evidence of people "on the move."

"It is understandable that folks imbibe large quantities of ObamaL'aid in anticipation of experiencing the 'dream' so long 'deferred.'"

For an overwhelming number of Black folks, Fat Tuesday and Super Tuesday were the same in both coincidence of date and emotional impact. Both were welcomed as causes to celebrate for celebration's sake. The Mardi Gras in New Orleans was no doubt a joyous occasion, as usual, to "let the good times roll," this past Tuesday - despite the fact that the Gulf region has been sucked into the bottomless Black Hole of Disaster Capitalism, from which it will never return in the absence of a broad and sustained people's movement.

In the rest of the nation on Tuesday night, African Americans celebrated Barack Obama's "Big Mo" - his truly amazing momentum towards capturing the Democratic presidential nomination. The white elite have caught the flavor and the fever, as well. Carl Bernstein, of the Watergate journalism team Woodward and Bernstein, quoted Black luminary Vernon Jordan as saying, "It's hard to run against a movement," as an explanation for Hillary Clinton's inability to crush Obama. But of course, the Obama campaign is not a movement - it's a parade, a corporate-engineered, multi-million dollar enterprise that promises Black and poor people virtually nothing of substance, just like that of his opponent, Hillary Clinton.

Obama puts on a far better show than his political twin, Clinton; his float is the gaudiest in the line of march. Barack's parade crews throw the plastic dubloons and beads farther and with much more enthusiasm than Hillary's - but the trinkets come from the same manufacturer: the corporate wing of the Democratic Party. After the parade is over, both crews will park their flatbed trucks and disassemble the colorful facades in the same grimy industrial zones.

"The Obama campaign is not a movement - it's a parade."

Black folks have been waiting - forever - to see one of their own crowned King of the national Mardi Gras. Who can argue in the presence of such pent-up desire? Yes, an Obama victory would bring "change" of a kind - a change of complexion in the Oval Office. And, as the prospect of this cosmetic change becomes more and more plausible, it is understandable that folks imbibe large quantities of ObamaL'aid in anticipation of experiencing the "dream" so long "deferred." But dreams and Mardis Gras end with the rising sun and the familiar clanging of the real world. In that real world, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are the same political animal, by every substantive measure. Both would increase the suffocating military budget, strangling any possibility of rebuilding New Orleans or any other American city. All their promises of domestic renewal - expressed or wishfully imagined - are as fleeting and phony as the masks on the faces of the characters on the floats on Canal Street, New Orleans, on Fat Tuesday.

A Mardis Gras parade is not a movement. Corporate electoral campaigns are not movements. ObamaL'aid just gets you drunk. For Black folks, this may be a very long binge.

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford.

Original Source: Obama, Fat Tuesday & The Big Hangover


More BAR Stories:

Congressional Black Caucus Grades Plummet On War, "Terror" And Trade Bills
By Leutisha Stills, CBC Monitor
Votes on three bills have plunged the Congressional Black Caucus to their lowest collective grades yet, according to the watchdog group CBC Monitor. For the first time since the CBC Monitor began tracking the voting behavior of Black members of the U.S. House, no member scored higher than 80 percent. The "tripwire" bills showed great fissures in the Black Caucus on so-called Free Trade, willingness to cave to the Bush administration and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on funding the Iraq war, and by a bill that threatens a witch hunt in search of the sources of domestic "extremist belief systems" and violence-inciting "propaganda" on the Internet.

The Friends of Fat Albert Wynn vs the Vast Left Wing Conspiracy
By BAR Managing Editor Bruce Dixon
A lifelong Black progressive and a groveling tool of corporate power face off on February 12 - a test of the power of the people to evict those who subvert their fundamental interest in peace and social justice. "Fat Albert" Wynn, the mis-Representative from Maryland's 4th Congressional District and supplicant to Big Business and nuclear power money, has stooped to describing challenger Donna Edwards and her supporters as a "left wing conspiracy" arrayed against him. But Fat Albert's desperate contortions cannot shake his past, especially his status as one of only four Black Caucus members to support War Powers for George Bush and the Republican bill on bankruptcy that has now come home to roost with millions of mortgage holders.

Freedom Rider: Conyers Must Decide
By BAR Editor And Senior Columnist Margaret Kimberley
The best of icons risk losing their luster, no matter how well-deserved, if they falter at the gates of greatness. Rep. John Conyers, the Dean of the Congressional Black Caucus and Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, resists all pleas that he begin the process that could lead to impeachment of George W. Bush and/or Dick Cheney. Although the evidence of their criminality is overwhelming and both are held in widespread contempt by most of the population, Congressman Conyers appears to fear impeachment more than the consequences of his inaction to the nation and the world. "Those Democrats, especially those on the Judiciary committee, who oppose impeachment must themselves be opposed."

Minimal Differences Between Clinton, Obama
Review the NAACP's Questionnaire and a Legal Scholar's Study of Candidates' Campaign Stances
The NAACP and noted legal scholar Vernellia R. Randall have released, respectively, an exhaustive questionnaire on the Democratic candidates' positions on issues important to African Americans, and a thorough analysis of how the presidential aspirants' stated policies will impact the legal standing of Blacks. Obama and Clinton's positions are remarkably similar, most often nearly identical in content, if not style. This is not surprising, since both draw their advisors - the people who actually responded to the NAACP and framed the responses on legal issues - from the same corporatist wing of the party. BAR invites its readers to review for themselves whether there's a "dime's worth of difference" between the dueling political twins.

Over Five Million Dead in Congo? How Truth is Hidden, Even When it Seems to Be Told
By Keith Harmon Snow
Genocide in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) - and on the entirety of the Africa continent - is the direct result of deliberate policies by American and European governments and the multinational corporations they serve. So-called "relief" agencies that make a pretense of counting the dead are often themselves creatures of the very corporations that have set countless militias and neighboring client states on successive rampages of slaughter and ethnic cleansing - all to protect the business of extracting the riches of Congo. Many, many Nuremburg courts could be filled to capacity with American and European luminaries guilty of crimes against humanity in Central Africa, yet the corporate, racist political culture insists African "savagery" is to blame for the ongoing holocaust.

Haiti Genocide a la bonne femme
By John Maxwell
France's Marie Antoinette is said to have proclaimed, "let them eat cake," referring to the bread-starved peasants of her country. In Haiti, the rural and urban poor subjugated by the United States, France and United Nations enforcers have been reduced to a diet of mud cakes - a menu of death. "The Haitians," says the author, "are giving new meaning to the phrase 'dirt poor.'" The yellow clay's nutritional value is almost nil, providing only the temporary illusion of escape from starvation, while "your flesh melts away." A tiny elite, totally reliant on the Euro-Americans for their vast wealth and privileges, converts a proud nation into a death camp in which the inmates are reduced to consuming their own, sovereign soil.


BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at

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