With allies like Cornell West and his apostle Tavis Smiley, President Barack Obama may be able to sleep more comfortably in a den of birthers. Those Negroes have lost their damned minds. The vitriolic attack on the first African American President by folks who call him “Brother Barack” is outright mind boggling. “The Obama Deception: Why Cornel West Went Ballistic” by Chris Hedges, could easily have been dubbed “Cry of a Madman.” It appears that Professor West is completely unhinged and throwing the toilet bowl at Obama in a public grown-up tantrum.
To understand the professor’s beef with the President, one only has to remember that there is a small clique among the African American leadership who, for its own self-centered reasons, maintains an ambivalent relationship with this President. It started very early during his candidacy when Barack was not viewed by those ascribed “prestigious” blacks as being “black enough.”
They viewed him with suspicion simply because he is the by-product of a Kenyan father and a Caucasian mother. Then, by virtue of having attended the best schools he was instantly placed in the anti-progressive and elite category. Simultaneously, his conservative opposition cast him as liberal, communist, anti-American and the great Satan:. the anti-Christ who was going to destroy America as they know it. Certainly, he can’t be all things to all men!
Interestingly, what the birthers and others of like mind have in common with the black ambivalent class is that they both seem to think that Obama is less American than they. To give West some modern relevance so as to underscore his subsequent “tragic descent” the writer noted that West was responsible for holding “65 campaign events for Obama.” West’s stunning reason for conducting those events was “he believed in the potential for change and was encouraged by the populist rhetoric of the Obama campaign.” If this was West’s rationale for supporting Obama and going out of his way for him, then the accomplished Professor West is a more simplistic and unsophisticated man than he would have us believe.
One would have thought that a “brother” who holds himself up to such high esteem would have based his support for Obama on more profound, core principles, as well as deeper, shared values; his love of country and his belief in something profoundly American. Alas, by his own admission he simply caught a ride on the change bandwagon. Actually, such action is nothing more than a disconcerting manifestation of a personality lacking in genuine intellectual substance.
In a racially charged and bitter uppercut, West describes Obama as “a black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs and a black puppet of corporate plutocrats.” This may sound highfalutin but it is calculatedly dangerous hogwash, not rooted in truth and fact. Obama’s relatively short time in office has shown without an iota of contrary evidence that he is prepared to spend political capital to fight against the corporate class and the Wall Street honchos. It is not accidental that the professor did not provide one shred of verifiable evidence to support such a baseless claim.
The undeniable truth is that when Obama took office the US economy was facing the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Unemployment was at a whopping 10 percent and there were dire predictions of another Great Depression. He also inherited two very costly wars that were not of his making. Through the quiet strength and sound economic policy of this President, the country has quickly moved from chaos and disaster, to stability and growth. The economy is rebounding slowly but surely, and there have been consistent job increases with unemployment, now reduced to about 9 percent. Every American knows very well that any Texan cowboy can shoot down the economy, but it takes many years to rebuild it. So, rebuilding has been gradual and painful but the alternative, had Obama not won the last election, could have been disastrous for America.
Contrary, to Professor West’s assertion that Obama is a Wall Street lackey, big business would have liked nothing better than to see his back. Millions in big corporate contributions were spent during the mid-term election in an attempt to derail the agenda of this president. If West wants struggling Americans to believe that this president is on the side of the big shots, he must not have been living in America in the last three years. This president has faced the most vicious and diabolical attacks since he took office, not because his detractors agree with Professor West and not because Obama thinks he is white but because they are sure that he does not represent the Wall Street crowd. Moreover, he stands out pretty tall as a positive African American male who has influenced and daily inspires millions of black people across the globe. His ascendancy to the most powerful office in the world sent a message to black people around the world that they are capable of ascending to the highest office in the world irrespective of skin pigmentation.
Unlike West, Obama does not have to wear his blackness on his sleeves. He is comfortable and accepts his blackness and genetic disposition as part of his strength. He does not cling to being a victim. He is the most powerful black man in America and indeed the world. One must wonder if Obama’s victory at the polls left West's clique feeling marginalized on the fringes of political power and authority. After all, for decades those fellows have tried to acquire power from the oligarchs and the corporate plutocrats and they have been woefully unsuccessful. Perhaps it was Obama’s strategy of not seeing America in strictly racial terms that was his greatest strength. Yes, it was his theme that there is not a “black America and a white America, but the United States of America,” that galvanized a mosaic of support.
Unprecedented millions of White Americans voted for Obama, notwithstanding the personal attitudes some may have harbored concerning Blacks. All knew one thing when they kicked aside the Republican Party: tomorrow’s America will not be great based on the pigmentation of its people, but on the quality of their character and the content of their education. Obama’s brilliance and strategic positioning made him a formidable candidate. He won the general election. Professor West’s withering criticism, far from demeaning the President, raises his stature. He is not a stooge of the right and certainly does not reposed in the back pockets of the left. He is his own man: black, bold, fit, elegant and proud. His fearless leadership sent America’s Most Wanted, Osama Bin Laden, to his grave. Obama is not one to focus on tiny pebbles and ignore oceans of possibilities.
West affirms in the same rant that Obama “has become head of the American killing machine and is proud of it.” Professor West's demented assertion is probably a warped conclusion from his own twisted and screwed-up logic. His moral outrage is simply a farce, for if he was confronted with an armed masked man at his door-step, I don’t think he would offer him a Budweiser. This unwarranted criticism coming mere weeks after the Navy SEALs blew the brains of Osama bin Laden and left him with the fishes, this mass murderer of more than three thousand innocent Americans, suggests that Professor West is out of touch with real American sensibilities.
The President took an oath to protect and defend his country and the American people, including Professor West. Did he expect the SEALs to read Osama his Miranda Rights? What kind intellectual who went to America’s best schools sits up high in his ivory tower and dreams up this world view? Moreover, the treasure trove of information found at the compound proves that Osama was obsessed with plans to kill Obama. But, in West’s cockeyed reasoning, Osama should have been given the red carpet. Give me a damn break! Osama bin Laden, who sent brainwashed suicide bombers to die, killing poor, innocent human beings everywhere daily, deserves to be killed more than three thousand times. No rational thinking person would dub the president a killer. Such thinking exposes an individual who is haunted by a vain sense of self importance.
For some strange reason, West believes that the only persons who understand the plight of the less fortunate and African Americans, are those who inhabited the bowels of the civil rights movement. Obama is perceived to be different from them because he was not part and parcel of that era. The truth is that by fighting for and passing healthcare legislation, a feat that eluded several presidents, Obama may have single handedly accomplished for African Americans, a tremendous legislative victory that will serve to complement the several achievements of the American civil rights movement, and the unforgettable marching in America’s streets. The fact that Obama was not around to march in the streets, does not take anything away from the value of his contribution. Martin Luther King would be the first to endorse this view. Just think of the millions of young people, especially African Americans, who can now enjoy the protection of their parents’ insurance, until age 26, or by simply staying in school. Like the Navy SEAL’s Operation Geronimo, that sent Osama to Hell, that was a historic and courageous victory for President Obama. It was a human rights achievement for this generation.
There was an honest admission by West that his rage against Obama was personal. He confessed that during the campaign he used to call Obama, but that Obama would never reciprocate. However, to his dismay, he found out that Obama found time to return calls of other individuals West deemed less significant. He said that he had received no tickets for the Obama Inauguration, yet the guy who carried his bags at the hotel had such tickets. Professor West almost lost me at that point, for he had previously bashed Obama’s elitism. Well speaking of elitism, rest assured folks, that Prince Williams’ hotel porter in London could never receive an invitation to the royal wedding! Professor West seemed to have a major problem with the fact that a little guy had a ticket to the Obama inauguration, but that the important West family had no tickets. Professor West ought to have viewed the little guy’s possession of a ticket as a good sign that the campaign had invited people of all classes to the inauguration. He attempted instead to cast Obama as one who is disloyal to his friends. Frankly, I found this to be petulant, puckish and woefully unbecoming of a man who wants
to be taken seriously.
After bemoaning that the little guy got tickets but not his family, West compounded his
confused reasoning with this remark: “I think my dear brother Barack Obama has a certain fear of free black men.” At this juncture Professor West seems to have lost all sense of intellectual sophistication. He is sounding more like a dispossessed hood rat standing on the street corner hurling insults. Like Judas, Brother West has concocted to sell out the President, but he is still clinging to the hem of his garment. Spitting more of his venomous poison, West says: “It's understandable. As a young brother who grows up in a white context, brilliant African father, he's always had to fear being a white man with black skin. All he has known culturally is white.” By his own admission, Obama is the son of a brilliant African father, yet in the same breath he reasons that his culture was predominantly white. Those who view Professor West as of sound mind and an intellectual giant are wondering what it is that the brother has been snorting. His mindless and irrational dribbling suggest that unlike Bill Clinton, he may indeed have inhaled.
West's solution for getting attention is for him and Tavis Smiley to engage in “civil
disobedience.” He said, “ Our last hope is to generate a democratic awakening among our fellow citizens...Tavis Smiley and I have talked about ways of civil disobedience beginning with ways for both of us to get arrested.” Did I just speak of West’s childish petulance and pettiness? Of course it is Professor West’s right to engage in any form of protest he deems necessary. But, this level of insanity requires clinical intervention to save the professor from himself. Does Sarah Palin come to mind somehow? The diagnosis, some say, is: “Barack Derangement Syndrome” and that puts him on equal footing with “Sister Sarah!"