The disproportionately Black Washington Mall crowd, their coats covered with Obama buttons, "didn't care what Obama did as president, they just wanted him to become president." These to-the-bone "Obama lovers...don't care that Obama pledged to use his political capital to change Social Security and Medicare, their only safety nets in an uncaring society." Unconcerned about the impact of their champion's specific policy positions, these legions of Black Obama followers happily and "loudly proclaimed themselves to be less important than one man's career success." Obama and his wife wowed the nation, and "just 72 hours after the new president took office, he started killing people" in Pakistan. [...] Black people will join white people in celebrating the power of the American state. [...] Seventy-two hours after the new president took office, he started killing people. [...] They didn't care what Obama did as president, they just wanted him to become president. [...] Gone are the days when black Americans could be counted on to oppose wars of aggression abroad and wars against people here at home.
(Black Agenda Report) By a twist of fate, this Obama critic ended up with a silver ticket, the least prestigious standing room ticket, for the presidential inauguration ceremony. I was among the crowd of nearly two million love struck Obama supporters. They hailed from every region of the country, but they were united in their love for Barack Obama.
The racial demographic was mixed black and white, but the black faces were disproportionately represented, particularly among the non-ticketed portions of the crowd. Their coats were covered with Obama buttons and they kept their heads warm with Obama caps and hats. Some pushed babies in strollers or senior citizens in wheel chairs, all amidst streets packed so tightly with pedestrian traffic that public safety was at risk.
Feelings about the new president are more than just positive, they are joyful, and not just among black people. The political clinical depression brought on by the last eight years cannot be under estimated. Humans want to be happy, and happiness experienced with large groups of other giddy beings meets fundamental psychological needs.
But just 72 hours after the new president took office, he started killing people. U.S. military drones killed at least 20 people in the Waziristan region of Pakistan, all in the service of the war on terror. Obama has spent many months saying he would do exactly that, even though the Pakistani government has repeatedly asked the U.S. to stop killing its citizens in a pointless effort to defeat the Taliban and al-Qaeda.
It is true that Obama signed an executive order pledging to close the military prison at Guantanamo and other detention sites within one year. It is also true that the Center for Constitutional Rights warns that it can be closed in a shorter period of time, and that closure without a return to civilian trials is a sham and a continuation of the travesties of justice committed by this country.
The celebrations surrounding the Guantanamo order should have been very short lived. While he gave with one hand, Obama took with the other. On Monday, January 19th, his last full day in office, George W. Bush asked a federal judge to stay an order forcing the government to release classified documents related to a warrantless surveillance lawsuit.
A few days later, President Barack Obama replaced Bush as the defendant in the case, siding with the previous administration's request to keep the documents secret and thereby preventing plaintiffs from making their case for redress of government wrongdoing.
None of these facts matter to the Obama lovers. They literally do not care what he does. Throughout 2008 the honest idol worshippers said as much. They didn't care what Obama did as president, they just wanted him to become president. Some reasoned, with some degree of a sad logic, that white people had ruined the world, so what would be so bad about a black man doing the same thing.
Others lied. They claimed that if they could just get their guy elected, they would hold his feet to the fire and demand a progressive agenda. Of course, very few of them actually meant what they said. Election night joy was followed by the joy of watching his transition take shape. As he chose one of the most conservative Democrats in Congress to serve as chief of staff and kept the same defense secretary who served under Bush, they were silent and demanded silence from others as well. So much for feet and fires.
The experience of personally witnessing this madness in action was both difficult and illuminating. Scattered boos emanated from the crowd as we heard the new president politely thank his predecessor by name. One black woman admonished her fellow celebrants not to be so rude. I felt compelled to speak up with this stranger and point out that booing was entirely appropriate. The not very bright woman replied that Obama would take care of everything, so there was no need for any of us to say a word or even utter one little boo to protest criminality.
This woman is not alone in her twisted thinking. For the first time in history, black Americans have willingly become accessories to their government's criminal activity and willingly developed amnesia about that history. Gone are the days when black Americans could be counted on to oppose wars of aggression abroad and wars against people here at home. Now that the president looks like them, he has carte blanche to do whatever he likes and he can expect nearly unanimous approval of any action he takes.
They don't care that he is asking John McCain for advice or that he replaces Bush in defending illegal surveillance on Americans. They don't care about people in Waziristan, or Afghanistan or Gaza. They don't care that Obama pledged to use his political capital to change Social Security and Medicare, their only safety nets in an uncaring society.
They don't even care about themselves. During the campaign they pointedly gave him permission to ignore them and their condition, all to help insure electoral victory. Black people happily threw themselves under the Obama bus and loudly proclaimed themselves to be less important than one man's career success.
They do care that a black woman is first lady and that she is now described as a fashion icon. They care that white people gush over her cute children. Some have even convinced themselves that a black president will improve the way they are personally viewed by most white people. The denial is boundless.
The Obama phenomenon will get much worse before it gets any better. If the sight of Barack and Michelle dancing at inaugural balls puts lumps in throats, what will happen when they meet the Queen of England or the Pope? What will happen when he appears on national television to tell us that he has decided to drop bombs somewhere in the world?
As happened with other presidents, his approval ratings will soar along with the body count he creates and for the first time, so will the hearts of black America. Black people will join white people in celebrating the power of the American state and will foolishly see themselves as having an interest in maintaining an awful status quo.
Sadly, this stratospheric level of support can only end if truly terrible events take place. It is difficult to contemplate what could be so bad that black people will awaken themselves from such deep, self-induced slumber.
Our numbers are currently small, but little by little, as the economy crumbles, or the war on terror spreads, new eyes will be opened. It won't matter that we are in the minority because minorities have always been in the forefront of making history.
Individuals must be ready to act as events unfold. The willingness and ability to see the opportune moment cannot be lost. That is the only hope for black people, the nation, and for the world at large. This is not the moment to worry about someone too foolish to boo George Bush. We must remain true to our convictions not only because it is the right thing to do, but because history shows it is the only thing that brings about true change. (source)