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The Obama I’m FOR vs the Obama I’m against

July 16, 2012 By: Theoblogical Category: Occupy Theology, OWS, Theoblogical

I will vote for Barak Obama,  but I have trouble these days calling myself a “supporter”.  I explicitly deny that designation when it is suggested that I am.  But I find it hard now because of the way he handled the banks,  the way he has extended and built upon the “security” measures undertaken in the Patriot Act,  and the way he has “held back” on a full-throated , tireless advocacy for a Works Program which is so obviously needed.  I recognize that their are political barriers.  I recognize that “reaching across the aisle” can (or should)  build some common ground that will result in ,progress being made.  But the outcomes and the politics of the great recesssion have made it disturbingly clear that the financial elites are calling the shots.

I read “Confidence Men”,  Ron Suskind’s account of the economic team around Obama,  and the numerous conversations with advisors with Obama and other members of the  economic team,  and it painted a not-so-impressive picture of the weakness of Obama’s economic policy moves and efforts,  up to a point where it was widely known and expected that the bankers were expecting the hammer to fall on them when Obama called them to a meeting early on, just after the crisis hit.  They were all in a state of “bracing for the hammer”.  What they got instead was an assurance of support from Obama.  I already had my doubts,  given the lack of significant steps to hold the banks or SOME of them accountable.  This account had the effect of sinking my remaining threads of confidence  or hope that remained afloat.

And the GOP that is fighting anything and everything Obama does or tries to do (whether it be piecemeal or more substantive) ,  they have long ago crossed the line of any sign of integrity or showing any intent  to actually serve the people.  They have shown they are willing to go to any length to “defeat Obama” rather  than to do anything which would help Obama improve the economy.  It’s the politics of destruction ,  “our way or the highway”.   But Obama has not been strong in the face of this.  I keep hoping he would,  in the very least,  make us of the bully pulpit to lay out what he believes is needed.  In the wake of what I learned about Obama and his economic team,  and their refusal to lower the hammer  on  the banks when he had a clear mandate to do so,  I am now doubtful of just what those desires really are;  whether he really does desire to do what it takes to help us defeat the stranglehold the elite have over this economy.  Or is he himself now IN that stranglehold?

This is not the Obama I voted for.  The one who promised a severe challenge to the “way of  Washington”;  an end to the stranglehold of special interests,  and even that Obama that seemed to be coming straight down a road of a social justice Christian tradition.  I find it difficult if not impossible to see that Obama anymore.  I’ve had some friends tell me that although they intend to vote for Obama this time (usually always because the alternative would be much worse,  and bad things would come of it much quicker)  , they will no longer support the Democratic party  if the next term didn’t bring a very different Obama.  It’ll be third  party time.  It’ll be serious challenges to the present system of  representation,  and the safeguards needed to protect it from being blown away by financial interests.

I’m thinking that’s where I am too.  If nothing can get done in 8 years to make a dent in what has been wrought on our economy by the corporate take over of our politics,  then its time for a new process.  With Citizens United allowing unlimited propaganda to be dumped on the American psyche  (and don’t be naive, people.  Advertising WORKS, no matter how you may insist you;re not swayed by it,  it  works,else they wouldn’t be continuing to pour money into it.  The  effects are subtle,  and largely imperceptible. And somehow the Supreme Court has overlooked this ; or,  more accurately and/or likely,  they HAVEN’T overlooked it;  they are in cahoots with the aims of Citizens United),  given all this,  our “process” is truly screwed.  It no longer sounds  convincing to say “vote and make your voice heard”.  It all comes off sounding like false piety.

more from #MLK and the #OWS via @tikkunonline by @bescofield

January 15, 2012 By: Theoblogical Category: Occupy Theology, OWS, Theoblogical

Be Schofield’s article I blogged about earlier includes this assesment of MLK’s “final campaign” (the Poor People’s March)  :

King had developed several goals in his final campaign, which may or may not inspire the OWS movement. He had hoped the Poor People’s Campaign would achieve direct employment through a massive public works program, a guaranteed annual income, funding for teaching and education and adequate medical care for the poor. King also said, “We need the equivalent of Medicare for housing.” It’s simple: jobs, income, housing, education and the elimination of poverty.

http://blogs.alternet.org/speakeasy/2011/10/25/just-camp-here-and-stay-dr-king-and-the-occupy-wall-street-movement/

The events in the ArabSpring got me asking “how long before we have ours in the US?”  The answer appears tohave been about 7 months,  as Sep. 17 is marked as the start of OWS.   In August,  I ordered a book entitled :  The Last Crusade:  MLK , the FBI, and the Poor People’s Campaign by Gerald McKnight.

I suspected that this would be a point of theological impact that would be a likely focal point since MLK gave us such a historical precedent to the powerof non-violent mass movements.  On the secular front,  this would be a new chapter in Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States: 1492-Present

I had also been moved by the actions of Wisconsin against the “Scott Walker regime” that was  aprt  of a nationwide GOP effort to cut the support out of the possible sources of resistance to even further curtailing of People’s rights.

The above  quote’s expressed desire that a “Works program”  be set in motion also makes me desire a look into the details of FDR.  I have read some  of the desires of Obama to draw some remedy models from the Works program begun in 1933 (and subsequently squelched and defunded by “austerity measures” in the conservative backlash that followed).  I have read about Obama’s historical interest and admiration for FDR in Ron Suskind’s book “Confidence Men”,  in which I am about halfway.  Pretty fascinating read based on Suskind’s many in depth interviews with numerous members of Obama’s “advisory team”,  both those on the cabinet level and those on “the outside” but consulted.  It has given me some small measure  of attenuation to my criticisms of and frustrations with Obama,  but leaves me still disappointed that he wasn’t stronger.

Much more to come. Lots of people talking MLK and OWS today.  Check out the posts at occupytheology.org  (which is a special section of this blog with a custom post type of occupytheology,  which in turn posts automatically to my twitter account for occupytheology.  It’s all “theoblogical”.