“… like one
Who having unto truth, by telling of it,
Made such a sinner of his memory,
To credit his own lie.”
(Tempest, act 2, sc. 2)
Hypocrisy is a flattering tribute to power. Occasionally political power must pretend to take into account the other power from which (theoretically) draws its source. Hypocrisy is enshrined, for example, in the ample collection of superstitions of nationalism, duty to one’s state, allegiance to the flag etc.
Yet, sometimes hypocrisy reaches unexpected and noteworthy heights. Such was Obama’s recent declarations during a carefully choreographed “surprise” appearance at the White House. The objective of the surprise was to exploit politically the popular anger over the acquittal of George Zimmerman – the policeman who shot a “hoodied” black boy of 17, after a scuffle. The tragedy was unexpectedly useful to the apparatkit. It shifted the argument away from the disastrous economic apartheid of the majority of African American youth. Now it was a matter of race. But it was perhaps even more useful to the black apparatkit, as we will see.
Some readers may still believe that the inferences may be unwarranted – that the political aims of the declarations (by Obama and others) may be sincere. I like to think that no one any longer believes this. A huge, secretive and expensive apparatus exists to ensure that not one word is sincere. In the machine of government sincerity equates to stupidity. Disbelievers read Machiavelli,
“I can add colours to the chameleon,
Change shapes with Proteus for advantages,
And set the murderous Machiavel to school.”
unabashedly admits to himself the future King Richard III.
By saying “It could have been me 35 years ago” (meaning that he himself could have been a Trayvon Martin), Obama accomplished some important related goals. The remarks coincided with nationwide protests over the verdict. By speaking out on the subject, Obama appeared to associate himself with the victim’s family.
More importantly Obama diverted public attention towards race and away from the real issue behind the Martin-Zimmerman case, the class apartheid, the ever-rising poverty and ever-rising social inequality.
Obama, who runs the most gigantic killing machine on earth, dressing himself in the garb of a victim! It would elicit laughter were it not for the underlying tragedies of which the Zimmerman-Martin trial is but one symptom and not the most outrageous.
Most ridiculous is the representation of America as an “aggregate of communities” – a laughable attempt to cover up the ever widening class division in a society based on the principle that dog-eat-dog, the best rule of the marketplace.
Aggregate-of-communities my foot. It lumps together characters as the privileged multimillionaires (Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and Obama) with the masses of African-American workers hardest hit by the policies of the Obama administration.
After all, America has only anticipated by a few years the abandonment of formal apartheid, so as to secure a stronger foothold for economic apartheid – almost a carbon copy of South Africa.
Professor Cornel West is an example of coherence and dedication to the cause of freedom for African Americans and others. He even went to prison to protest.
Obama – Cornel West said – has been able to hide and conceal the criminalization of the black poor thanks to the “re-niggerizing “of the black professional class. “You’ve got these black leaders on the Obama plantation, they won’t say a criminal word about the master in the big house, they will only try to tame the field folk so that they’re not critical of the master in the big house.”
Coincidentally, on the same day of Obama’s mentioned remarks, the White House rejected suggestions that the federal government help the city of Detroit, forced into bankruptcy last week.
Hundreds of thousands of working people in the city, most of them African Americans, face further punitive cuts in public services, jobs and living standards. The Obama administration, which supplied trillions to the Wall Street banks and tens of billions for the auto bosses, offers nothing to the people of Detroit.
Ironically, the “overseer” of the bankruptcy, appears on television well attired in an Armani suit or similar, the epitome of Cornel West’s “niggerized plantation”. He tells Detroit city employees that they “must make some sacrifices”, which is double-speak for losing their pensions.
Of course no corporate channels or media deals with issues such as Detroit, because Detroit is the symbol and the consequence of the effective economic apartheid installed by the neo-liberal regimes.
Instead, the same media extolled Obama’s intervention in the Martin-Zimmerman case as an event of extraordinary political importance. The president supposedly gave a glimpse of his “innermost feelings”, demonstrating political “courage” and “moral leadership,” according to the pundits on the Sunday morning television talk shows.
What hypocrisy, what cynicism! This is a government that advocates to itself the “right” to kill its political opponents overseas, including American citizens, using drone-fired missiles. Over 500 children are reliably numbered as drone victims in Pakistan alone. Nor the memory is forgotten of that disreputable and disgusting M. Albright for whom the death of 500,000 Iraqi children, due to the US invasion and blockade, was “worth the price”.
Yes indeed – the chief that gives us a “glimpse of his innermost feelings” oversees a government that has legalized torture. And it was, it is, and continues to be, in the words of M.L. King, “the greatest purveyor of violence on the planet.”
In the play. Prospero refers to Antonio, his brother, who surreptitiously usurped the dukedom that belonged to Prospero.