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View Diary: On the false equivalence between "Obama rox" and "Obama sux" (295 comments)

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  •  It looks pretty entrenched, as far as i can tell (34+ / 0-)

    Almost all the comments so far seem to register a fair amount of certainty that the divide exists, that it is real, and that the most important thing to the commentor is insisting that the other side is wrong.

    Let's see, if Obama actually does rock, then this is the best we can do.  If Obama actually does suck, then we should damn well be working on what to do about it.  How about that?  Does that respond in some small way to the point you are actually making?

    I'll mention a common misapprehension.  To a person who is disturbed by the continuing entrenchment of executive privilege, making it about Obama is definitely antagonistic to their basic position.  Yet such a person may well criticize Obama's behavior by way of pointing out the dangers of having too much power concentrated in the executive.  Such a person would almost definitely be thrown in with the Obama sux crowd.  Rather than becoming involved in a discussion of executive privilege, such a person might well find himself clarifying how he feels about Obama.  I've seen it with my own eyes.  And in the course of this, if someone is making unsupported claims about how great Obama is by way of minimizing the danger of concentrating power in the presidency, then it is the rare person who would not respond by arguing that, no, Obama is not so wonderful that executive privilege isn't a problem on his watch.  This is but one example.

    Of course, there are those who have consciously personalized politics and made it about identity.  These are people who understand advertising and propaganda.  This is the kind of thinking that brings us Flo the Progressive Insurance girl and so so many other fake people designed to create a certain corporate image.  Some of us believe Obama is mere image, or as Pilger calls it, "brand Obama".  Does this make us Obama sux?  Well, those who seek to personalize politics, to engage identity politics would not have it any other way.  They can express hurt on behalf of Obama.  They can accuse others of being cruel to Obama or racist.  This is so much easier than accepting the terms of a more complex argument, an argument that goes closer to the heart of the mechanisms of secret governance hidden behind a contrived image.

    I'll mention in the context of propaganda that personalizing works, which is why it is done.  This is human nature, so it only adds to the self-blame so promoted by our culture to blame people for being affected by this tendency.  We are a social species, and it is natural for us to think in terms of humans.  This fact is being exploited masterfully, informed by decades of refinement by an advertising and political industry.  Please let's try to move away from personality politics, but let us also not blame one another for being human.

    In any case, parsing the details of a hopeless situation seldom leads to a productive outcome, which I believe is close to your main point.  Forgive the rambling here.  I'll end with a quote from Henry A. Giroux addressing his persistent prescription:  a new language not poisoned by militarization and assumptions that violence-based power and individual selfishness are the only possible organizing principles of society.  Imo, much of the discourse on dkos is embedded in such a context of cruelty, scorn, and blame, of which the sux/rox "debate" is a prime example.

    America's Descent Into Madness

    The American public needs more than a show of outrage or endless demonstrations. It needs to develop a formative culture for producing a language of critique, possibility, and broad-based political change. Such a project is indispensable for developing an organized politics that speaks to a future that can provide sustainable jobs, decent health care, quality education, and communities of solidarity and support for young people. At stake here is a politics and vision that informs ongoing educational and political struggles to awaken the inhabitants of neoliberal societies to their current reality and what it means to be educated not only to think outside of a savage market-driven commonsense but also to struggle for those values, hopes, modes of solidarity, power relations, and institutions that infuse democracy with a spirit of egalitarianism and economic and social justice. For this reason, any collective struggle that matters has to embrace education as the center of politics and the source of an embryonic vision of the good life outside of the imperatives of predatory capitalism.

    Secrecy is a hot bed of vanity. - Joseph Brodsky They who have put out the people’s eyes reproach them for their blindness. – John Milton 1642

    by geomoo on Sat Aug 17, 2013 at 04:31:20 PM PDT

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