I certainly wasn't planning on talking about the election, but then I ended up listening to this whole post-primary discussion on Uprising Radio, where Nativo Lopez, president of the Mexican American Political Association (MAPA) and executive director of Hermandad Mexicana Latinoamericana started gushing about Barack Obama. When the host, Sonali Kolhatkar, pointed out that Obama has little to say about race, gender or the prison industrial complex, Lopez implied that Obama shouldn't be held to higher standards regarding race (no mention of gender), and that Obama's appeal lies in the fact that he's a “transcendent person of color” who "talks about race by not talking about race." Lopez added that Obama's appeal among rural and southern voters, and his "50-state campaign," exposes the lie that "only on the coasts do progressives exist."
I'm particularly wary of this doublespeak coming from liberals and progressives. First of all, Kolhatkar never said anything about holding Obama to a higher standard than anyone else, but merely meant to point out that you basically need a magnifying glass to find the differences between Obama and Clinton's political platforms. So, if Hillary Clinton is a Republican with a liberal pedigree, what does that make Obama?
Obama's "transcendent person of color" status is exactly the type of image that plays well, not only with (white) progressives, but with conservative/liberal voters who want so much to believe that racism is over, who cares about the fact that unarmed people of color are routinely gunned down by cops or used by the millions as enslaved labor in US prisons -- if you just pull yourself up by your bootstraps you can be anything in God Bless America. This same mythology is what allows George W. Bush to hire a "diverse" cabinet of warmongering thugs, many of them no doubt "transcending" race and class and gender in order to occupy the world and plunder indigenous resources.
Obama's rhetoric around healing the world one empty inspirational speech at a time seeks to camouflage his useless political program of pandering to the status quo -- no meaningful changes in US healthcare, a permanent presence of US troops in Iraq (whether you call it occupation or inspiration), little shift in the military/prison industrial complex. At least Clinton, with her influence-peddling tough-on-terror rhetoric, appears more honest about her goals.
The liberal/progressive mania for delusional thinking at election time reminds me of all that push to "get Bush out" by voting in billionaire John Forbes Kerry, or more “effectively,” Bill Clinton, who dismantled welfare and brought us gems like NAFTA. If progressives want to choose the lesser evil, that's a position to take, but to claim that an insider politician backed by every establishment figure he can get his hands on is going to heal anything besides his own hemorrhoids is dangerous and embarrassing.
Mattilda blogs at nobodypasses.blogspot.com.