“Fancy meeting you here!”



Waiting in the airport at five am for the first flight out to Atlanta, my brain is not generally in top form.  That is my only excuse for how quickly and completely i was sucked into CNN’s rendition of todays campaign non-event.  In addition to hearing the rumors that Clinton told Bill Richardson that “Obama can’t win,” I leaned several things. 


1) Through the thick fog surrounding my consciousness, I believe that I heard the phrase “CNN means politics.” I found this concept and tagline unexpectedly terrifying.  If this is politics, I’m the Tooth Fairy.


2) Obama’s candidacy has been a major boon to Black commentators willing to denounce Obama. Also, it has been a boon to black commentators who support Barak Obama. About 70% of the commentators who talked about Clinton’s statement were Black, even if none of the hosts were.  This had the effect of both making me notice how white TV normally is and of making me suspicious that CNN is trying to pass off the false notion that Black people are divided on the the question of whom to support for the Democratic nomination. They are not.


3) A super-delegate from my district, the not-infrequently-sleazy Ed Towns,  is supporting Clinton, despite the fact that the district, which includes the first or second largest urban concentration of Black people in the country (Atlanta is the other one), and possibly outside of Africa.  Brooklyn (and Queens) went overwhelmingly for Obama, but our reps are backing Clinton. There have, it seems, been protests.


If you are regular reader, you are aware that I am not an Obama supporter. I may have even said “I don’t even really give a shit about Obama.”  This remains strictly true. While Obama is cute, and a capable of writing his own speeches (a skill that impresses in the realm of presidential candidates, but is the minimum standard for entry into world of high school debate), nothing about his neoliberal economic program, aggressive imperialist posturing nor his tactically demonstrative support for apartheid in Israel warms the cockles of my anything.  


Further, I believe that anyone with politics to the left of Richard Nixon is completely wasting hir time considering or trying to redeem the Democratic party as something other than cleverly organized surrender of any social forces for progress (the working class, the Black, Chicano, Feminist and Queer Movements, etc. ) managed by a rotating team of the most unbelievably spineless lickspittle lackeys. 


Which is to say that I like HIllary Clinton even less than Barak Obama.  It never ceases to baffle me that some of my favorite  feminists  believe that a victory for Clinton will be a feminist victory.  I disagree; a victory for Clinton will be a victory for the oligarchy and a return to the antediluvian patriarchal practice of rule by kinship.  If Hillary Clinton is feminism, Eva Peron is the Tooth Fairy.


But none of that is really the point of this post.  My point is that if I were the among the leadership of Democratic Party and intent, as I would be, on encouraging people to hang on to the last shred of suspended disbelief they have in the notion that they live in a democratic republic which has at least one democratically organized major political party, I would not, I repeat, not, try to game the system to thwart the Black vote. Nor would i let anyone else engage in this foolish behavior. 


I say this , in part, because the last two elections have had major instances of of Black disenfrancheisment through fiat, through legal technicalities and through outright cheating. The last two instances of this were atrocities, but Republicans were clearly most responsible ( even if it is also true that Al Gore, John Kerry and John Edwards were amazingly willing to sacrifice their own personal interests to those of ruling class–and white–solidarity).  A third round of this nastiness, taking place inside the Democratic Party, and requiring the complicity of large portions of the Congressional Black Caucus seems like a bad strategy fo mobilizing a tired, overworked, beaten-down but temporarily hopeful base.


Mrs. Clinton, whatever else you may be, you seem to be a very saavy woman. I ask you; You think Barak Obama can’t win? Ok. I have my own fears about the depth of American racism, its true. Maybe white voters really can’t go there. That would be tragically blatant but unsurprising.


But can you win?  No. Not a chance, I suspect, if you have to throw over Barak Obama and the democratic will of your party’s rank-and-file and Black voters to do it.  




On an obliquely related note, today is the 40th Anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.  While King was just one man, and part of a larger movement, the aniverssary his death has a lot symbolic resonance. It seems like a good time to reflect on the real meanings of “Hope” and “Change.”  King died supporting the struggle of Memphis’ Black sanitaiton workers, planning a Poor People’s Campaign and denouncing American Imperialism in Vietnam.  He never got to finish all that and we never got to it either.


The good guys have been mostly losing ever since; the Democratic party has become increasingly conservative, and we all work a whole lot more for less money. Its high time we turned that around. Barak Obama deserves to win the presidency, if any of them do, but even if he does, he’s not going to do any of that for us.