Friday, January 29, 2010

Obama’s State of the Union Speech: An Oscar-Worthy Performance

by Kam Williams

“No question, now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which."
--George Orwell, Animal Farm

The novel Animal Farm was crafted by George Orwell as a dire warning about the potential abuse of power through the manipulation of language as a subtle means of mind control. The cautionary tale’s prophetic message was that the masses might be very gullible to the seductive rhetoric of a charismatic visionary capable of masking more Machiavellian intentions. Listening to President Obama’s soporific double-speak during his State of the Union address the other night reminded me of the climax of Orwell’s chilling morality play, when the animals belatedly wised up too late to differentiate between their newly-elected leaders and the evil exploiters they had sought to replace.
In the case of Obama, there had been many telling signs from the very beginning that he was a conservative in progressive’s clothing. When he praised Ronald Reagan and criticized Affirmative Action in his best-seller…When he said he could no more disown Reverend Wright than his racist grandmother only to distance himself from the controversial minister a month later when it became politically expedient to do so... When he opted out of the public campaign finance system after pledging to abide by the federal spending limits...
The worst was when, shortly before the Presidential election, he supported the billion-dollar bank bailout based on outgoing Secretary of the Treasury Hank Paulson still unsubstantiated claim that otherwise Western Civilization would collapse. There was never really a question of liquidity but one of greed, entitlement, and a lack of faith in the free market.
Nonetheless, Obama’s yea vote rewarding failure and subsidizing mistakes exposed him as a useful idiot, a corporate tool more concerned about the plight of Wall St. than Main Street, his stern talk about passing stricter banking regulations notwithstanding. (Where are they?) Since his supposedly heartfelt determination to come to the rescue of working-class people was never accompanied by his taking steps to implement any tangible relief measures, then his true intention ostensibly was never to do so. After all, he had no problem handing the banking, automotive and insurance industries additional taxpayer funds as his first order of business as Chief Executive.
Thus, the actual Obama economic philosophy can best be described as the privatizing of profit and the socializing of risk. Yet, with his approval rating sinking to a new low, the black community remains his most staunchly loyal constituency. Can anyone explain to me why, when this is the demographic he takes most for granted?
We urgently need help from the White House, not another speech from a smooth-talking snake-oil salesman, a year after Wall St. got theirs. I suspect that African-Americans continue to sit patiently because he’s black and can mimic Martin Luther King’s incantation when delivering false assurances that health care, education, housing and jobs are high on his agenda.
There is little hope, if we are so naïve as to allow Obama’s ethnicity to trump the cold, hard truth that he’s simply decided to throw the poor under the bus. What is the purpose of authentic human interaction if we are willing to reinforce the color line even to our own detriment?
What’s the State of the Union? It’s in the hands of an unprincipled, drive-by president who’s playing the black community so well that he deserves an Oscar, not a Nobel Peace Prize.

Kam Williams is a syndicated film and book critic, and a member of the NJ, NY, CT, PA, MA & US Supreme Court bars.

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