A Dysfunctional Democracy

This article starts out as a garden-variety the-Republicans-are-inept-and-so-are-the-Democrats that you and I have both seen hundreds of times before. In fact, we have heard it so many times before that it is easy to become inured to these tales of woe. It is only on the last page of the article - page 3 - that we begin to see something new - something that actually justifies this n-th edition of the same old, same old.

In what must have seemed like a dream to the author, he returns us to the world of the late 1990s, back when Bill Clinton was in office as President of the United States. From there, he recounts a few tales of just how the US was viewed from around the world back then. And while we were obviously not universally loved - see, bin Laden, Usama - there were enough positive poll lines in nations all around the world that most countried viewed us in a positive light. Not easy to maintain a global jihad against the most popular kid on the block and so UBL and his homies were run out of Saudi Arabia and then Sudan, before coming to rest in Afghanistan. From the remote hinterlands of a war torn nation, UBL was able to conceive and execute the attacks of 11 September 2001, but as he looked around on 12 September, the odds of his survival must have seemed bleak. Instead of united the world in opposition to the US, the attacks united the world in support of the US. Okay - that link was from a military alliance, you might expect their support. How about this one?

So what happened? Well, we have all had a chance to see this crazed president take the support the world offered us and told them, "thanks - but no thanks". This article lays out the support the world has for us now: Jordan, Egypt and Russia - which used to either be comfortably within our sphere of friendly nations - now cannot even allow themselves to be seen with us; Pakistan and Turkey find themselves reconsidering just how much they ever really liked us; China shoots down satellites (how does that missle defense system look now?).

Bush has been a travesty for our country; it would take the reincarnation of FDR to restore our nation to prominence in the world.

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Damn! I was hoping to stay out of this for awhile

So, the author of "The End of Blackness" now deigns to tell us the difference between black and "black". And while I have endlessly delayed reading this book (really waiting for the avalanche of parallel books from other cultures to sweep the market; still waiting for that The End of Jewishness to reach the charts), I have to say that her division of the descendants of slaves from modern day immigrants to the US from Africa is perfectly appropriate and really nothing earth-shattering.

One wishes that the writer had taken time to visit MOAD - perhaps it would have enhanced her descriptive metaphors.

But what this commentary does highlight - inadvertently, of course - is the author's own rejection of Pan-African philosophy. This is not surprising from again - the author of The End of Blackness. While one rarely hears white intellectuals posit the wholesale rejection of Western thought such as from the Age of Enlightenment, it seems as though the best way to be published as a black author today is to reject the very concept of collective black action, as though it is okay and perfectly appropriate for white people to establish social organizations and communities, from which they proceed to act in their collective interests, but for black people to embrace Afrocentrism or express any inclination to form social collectives violates some principle of "individualism" that must be the basis of all Black success. It is as though there is this coterie of black authors who somehow figured out that Ayn Rand was really talking to us.


Dickerson cannot unequivocally support Barack Obama because she is uncertain about the necessity for collective black action. This causes her to hesitantly crab walk toward what his candidacy means at the same time as she skitters away from the very idea of why she as a black pundit must have an opinion on a black presidential candidate. Only when the scales fall away will she be able to see that the Obama candidacy is an unalloyed good - for black people and all citizens of this nation. It is precisely because Obama is a member of yet another migration from Africa (back to MOAD) that his story can be one to lead us all away from this endless game of musical chairs that has ensnared former slaves and former slave owners for these many centuries.

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Madam Speaker, the State of our Union is . . .

What tripe. What if the President gave a State of the Union address and nobody came? I ceased watching these events back in 2004 and I kick myself for taking so long to awaken to the reality of this presidency - and the signs were all there from the beginning: faith over evidence. At the very start of this reign of Bush the Second, he has chosen to ignore things that do not conform to what he believes: stem cell research is bad as an embryo of 12-weeks has as much a right to live as a person of 30, 40 or 70 years; hybrid cars are not the way - hydrogen is the path we must trod; treaties - even those written in his lifetime - are too ancient and creaky to underpin our nation's defense (what must he think of some rickety documents like the Declaration of Independence?); and the one that surely must be thought of as Belief Zero - if Bill Clinton did it, it must be wrong.

It is from these beliefs - those of a man who has a surety of self that is supremely uninformed by his own record of achievement - that we have arrived where we are today: 3000 of our citizens killed in one day from an attack by an organization that until 12 September 2001 never received more than passing attention (next time you hear anyone complain about the Clinton Administration response to the attack on the Cole; ask them what the Bush II Administration did?); 3000 of our soldiers dead and tens of thousands of them gravely wounded in service of a war against a man (Saddam Hussein) and a nation (Iraq) that had neither the intention nor ability to attack our nation and still today - 24 January 2007 - the man who struck the gravest blow against our nation that has ever been struck walks the earth as free as the day he was born. Almost 2000 days have past since that fateful day. Scores of children have been born into this new world - the world created in the aftermath of the events of 11 September 2001. How they must walk around and think that as it is now it has always been an forever shall be: airplane passengers treated like criminals simply for wanting to fly and color-coded messages that tell us how fearful we should be on any given day. A world in which the adults talk of never-ending war and then tell their kids that violence is not the answer. Our actions are leading us further from the goals in which we profess to believe: Peace on Earth and Goodwill toward all Her People.

When will we arise from this nightmare, shake loose the cobwebs from our minds and venture forth with the confident stride of our ancestors, as opposed to these timid steps that keep us within the limited visibility of our "leaders"?

I should make this clear: I was against this war in Iraq before it started; I am against it now; I do not support expanding the war with a "troop surge" and I certainly do not support increasing the field of battle by attacking Iran and/or Syria. I lived and worked in NYC back in 2001 and I was their on that day. I want those responsible for that attack to face justice. Last I heard, the whole world believes UBL to be living on the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

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