American politics is a distant, strange realm for me and I very rarely venture there, but as I watch the second swearing-in of the President of the USA Barack Hussein Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, I realised that being a good person and wanting to do good for your people and your country as a person and a politician, just isn’t enough and isn’t enough especially in the USA. As yet another inauguration day began and people started to fill up every space in the stands the bleachers and into the standing only sections; spilling so far back that it was clear that even though the event was supposed to be more low-keyed this was still going to be close in numbers to the first record crowd. It was nice to see white and black people standing next to each other, Jew next to Muslim and no one was killing anyone. I realised that all of these Americans had come to see a good man who they had reelected take the oath of office and to hear him speak to them and offer them a sense of direction and perhaps a ray of hope that things would be better this four years and that Republicans and Democrats would stop their arguing for argument sake and come together and pass the things that all knew were good for America.
I was forced to look back to the first election that saw Barack Hussein Obama become the first African-American President of the United States of America, followed, by the record-breaking attendance for his inauguration by very hopeful Americans from all stripes with the all of them putting their faith in Obama to fix what George Bush had broken, the economy and bring their children and love ones back from war. I remember the feeling even here in Canada of pride, awe and hope that the USA had turned a corner and were truly about to live up to the beautiful words in their declaration which says that, all men are created equal and that myth, that carrot dangled in front of every American called, “The American Dream“. The fallacy, that states that if you try real hard and work real hard, that every and any American can be anything they aspire to be. Yet maybe I am wrong and it is just that a dream not a reality, like equality and equal rights for all under the law.
Then came the negative news reports, the negative news paper articles talking negatively about Barrack Hussein Obama’s ethnicity and his color and references being made to his inability to get the job done based solely on those factors. For the first time in America the president of the United States was being called a terrorist because of his middle name, CIA and all of the other agency that checked out his eligibility to be the president were being questioned and the president was being accused of not being who he was and not telling the truth about his country of origin. It was the first time in American history that the president was thought unworthy an unqualified to hold his office by a significant number of the population and United States elected politicians based on the color of his skin and his perceived choice of faith.
The pictures in the press portraying the president and his wife as chimpanzees asking the question how would the economy be saved was not freedom of speech it was blatantly racist propaganda intended to undermine and reduce the popularity of Barack Hussein Obama. The picture of the president and his wife holding machine guns with rounds of ammunition strapped around their chests were not funny, or could it be looked upon as normal political satire by me, because I perceived them as deliberate attempts to get this president assassinated in my opinion. When one takes into consideration the events of 9/11 and the attitude and climate towards Muslims since that day and how all Muslims became suspected, or potential terrorists threats, what else could the people who published such trash been hoping for? The cries of racism were met with the same cynical response from white America every time a visible minority complains about racism and that is, “Toughen up stop being so sensitive.” I knew although enough young white people wanted change and he got the black and ethnic vote, that their was a large group of older white people and some very influential, very powerful white politicians who were shaking themselves awake after the shock of what had transpired; a black man had just be given a job that they considered to be solely the work of white people and something that they had been sure would not be possible in the USA. Immediately some Democrats and most Republicans began formulating a plan of action to isolate, discredit and hog tie this black man who not only had the audacity to run for president, but by some cruel joke got lucky and won the presidency of the USA.
These people called themselves Tea Party and a host of other names, got support from not only other ordinary Americans, but from a person who could have become the vice president of the United States of America had the Republican party won the presidential election and it was then that I questioned why in America today does the Republican party think that they have to be racists and that being racist is standing up for America? I had to say that looking at things from outside the box, it seemed clear that nothing that Obama wanted as far as social programming, such as funding for education, medical care for all, health insurance for all, tax cuts for the poor and moderate tax hikes for the wealthiest were going to happen. These programs were not going to happen because they were bad for America and for Americans; they were not going to happen because Barrack Hussein Obama was being put in his place and being shown that just because he was elected president in spite of his color and what they thought to be his faith he would not be allowed to function and would be rendered harmless and marginalised at all costs. This has been seen time and time again as the Republicans fought to keep health care reforms from happening, educational programs from being funded and even to this day fight to subvert the country’s economy by not allowing the necessary passage of monies to pay America’s bills, causing the much talked about and debated,”Fiscal Cliff”.
So as I gazed at the flag waving ceremony and hearing the same chants, I was not inspired this time as a Canadian and I was not in awe at seeing the large crowds that had come out, because the lack of political respect afforded Barack Hussein Obama during his first term as president of the United States of America proved that little has changed in terms of equality and the American dream as a reality for all of its citizens. So yes both Democrats and Republicans, chief justices and the media all showed up for a ceremony, a show to say they acknowledge that a contest to lead the country was won and that the country would accept that victory and work with this president to accomplish what was best for all of its people. This did not happen in Barrack Hussein Obama’s first term, instead he was undermined at every turn and I thought was treated in a manner that tried to make him look powerless, insignificant in a way that smacked of racism and that has not been seen before. I think that I will reserve my awe and praise for this gathering until I see how it plays out in reality and not just in lip service, but in respect and acknowledgement for democracy and the pursuit of happiness for all citizens of the United States of America. I noted the obvious thumbing of his nose by George Bush Jr. not attending and please spare me his father was sick speech, because I bet if a republican had won, he would have been there. Yes there were a lot of breaks to protocol, but it seems the only ones unjustified according to the press were the ones made by the president.
In closing I would offer up 4 opinions of mine concerning certain choices the president made that led to changes being made to protocol, or what is deemed normal for some folks and in keeping with history of presidential inaugurations. I make comment, because it would seem that the break from historical protocol seems to have some people either angry, hurt, or insulted; my comments / views are: (1) That in this day and age when everyone is entitled to worship the God, or Gods of their choosing, or no God at all for the press to make a big deal of the fact that the president did not specify to which God he was asking help from in his inaugural address is just silliness to me and for certain group of people to suggest that certain religious groups took offense without offering up the slightest bit of proof to back up their claim, or offering it as their own personal opinion, in my view is irresponsible and self-serving at best. It is said he broke with tradition and protocol with the content of his speech and so did his having Myrlie Evers-Williams deliver the inaugural prayer and I say good for him, maybe this is exactly what America needs; to break from tradition and protocol when they are obviously flawed and reek of prejudice and are counter to the professed to be true American way and American dream. (2) That some members of the press, the public and WordPress bloggers questioned why the president would choose to remove a minister who gave an anti gay sermon over 20 years ago from giving the prayer, I say that is why he had to do it; to show Americans that intolerance of others on this or any level is wrong and to do so has real life consequences. That Orthodox Jews and Christians found it offensive I say, “He was damned if he did and he was damned if he did not; so if you are going to catch hell either way, why not go with what you really believe in and do what you believe to be right and is consistent with your beliefs and values and those your country claims to support in principle. I thought he made the right decisions on both things. I say too bad if those 2 religious groups think that they and they alone have the right to be represented and their view respected in such national events. I say too bad he did not choose a Muslim cleric to do the prayer and take the oath on the Koran. I wonder what those oh so pious Christian Judeo tongues would be accusing him of then, because their tongues sure are waggling now. My point is that it just should not matter in this day and age, where people swear on the bible and then go out and do bad things, or people pray to Allah and then go out and do bad things. It is time to look at the person who keeps his or her religious beliefs unto themselves and goes out and does good for all, as a person fit to lead nations where multiple faiths are practiced without fear and protected under the law that is equal to all. (3) That this president would use this occasion to talk about equality and civil rights, seems very appropriate to me. I think if the press and people are honest for once, they will have to acknowledge and understand the underlying message. I think in terms of civil rights a lot of this country’s citizens and some important members of the republican party have proved that racism is not dead in America and that there is still a lot of work to be done, if the USA is to ever achieve its full potential as a country in all ways. I believe that going forward as a super power that claims to be fighting all over the world for these principles for all mankind to enjoy, that getting equality for all in the USA as a reality and not some distant far off dream, is the single most important thing that the USA needs to get right, before another bomb gets dropped by it anywhere in the name of human rights. (4) When I read a statement like in the article, “Obama’s Inaugural Prayer Asked For Blessings From Unknown Entity” where among other things statements like the ones listed below are made and seem to be inferring Obama had no right to make the changes to protocol that he did; that Obama was out of line not to have an anti gay minister give the inaugural prayer and infer that Obama is wrong to want equality for gays in all things, it becomes crystal clear to me why solving the equality issue in the USA moves at a snail’s pace. That somehow these things add up to and should be considered as insults to Orthodox Jews and Orthodox Christians to me seems self-serving, caustic and not very Christian at best.
From the article: “Obama’s Inaugural Prayer Asked For Blessings From Unknown Entity”
“The choice of Myrlie Evers-Williams, widow of slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers, departed from historical protocol. She was the first female and first non-clergy member to lead an inaugural prayer. She did so in the wake of Pastor Louie Giglio’s unceremonious removal from the dais after the discovery he had preached a sermon 20 years ago expositing the Bible’s position on homosexuality.”
“While it’s understandable that Evers-Williams would feel the need to temper her prayers, lest the current administration banish her from future public speaking engagements, her words represent a stunning departure from historical inaugural prayers and from anything resembling a Christian, Jewish, or even a generic Judeo-Christian prayer.”
- Watch: Obama’s Inaugural Speech: ‘Our Time’ for Changing Nation (abcnews.go.com)
- Hannity Interrupts Obama Inaugural Dance To Attack Him As Divisive (newshounds.us)