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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 5/17/13

Barack Obama--and the Sick, Twisted Dynamic of Racism

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Let's face it, history is not a fit subject to teach children. As Stephen Dedalus memorably remarks in James Joyce's Ulysses, "History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake." Besides the lasting trauma we'd induce by giving kids even a faint glimpse of the Goyaesque horror history so often is, their inexperienced minds and undeveloped personalities simply lack the vocabulary of human twistedness (above all, one's own) needed to grasp history's perverse essence in any depth. So we teach kids a cartoon version of what actually happened, and for many adults, that's all history ever seems to remain.

Sadly, many of my fellow adults of the U.S. political left--I think particularly of Obama-loving Democrats--seem afflicted with the same cartoonish version of recent U.S. history as ten-year-old grade schoolers. Or perhaps more relevantly (and worse), as those supersized ten-year-old grade schoolers--themselves like living cartoons--who form most of today's political right. Though "lefty" and "righty" cartoonish narratives soon diverge radically (loudly to clash   in what I like to term "idiot wars") , their central figure--as hero or villain respectively--remains Barack Obama, our first African American president.

As may shock my leftward brethren, my own preferred Obama story cleaves far more closely to a drama of villainy, but one subtler, darker, and far more twisted than our benighted innocents, left or right, could imagine. See, it is indeed a story of racism, but NOT of the lasting blow Obamaheads feel their hero dealt racism by his elevation to our nation's highest office, and certainly NOT of the garden-variety Neanderthal racism motivating Obama's cartoonish (yet dangerous) right-wing opponents. No, my story is of elite white opportunists--liberals if need be, but among the staunchest foes poor blacks ever had--who can sniff out Uncle Tom potential when they see it. And of that deeply twisted Uncle Tom, Barack Obama himself, who though far brighter than his literary forbear, allows himself, as manipulated manipulator, to play out his race's most despised role--and cynically expects no one to pull the curtain on his act.

But above all, it is a story of America's enduring, deeply entrenched background racism, not just of morally benighted whites who can't stomach for one second a black man as president, but of stereotyping PC liberals unable to fathom that a black (or more precisely, mixed-race) man might experience temptations--some quite foul--very much like their own. Nor how his less creditable motives would leave him almost guaranteed prey--and given the institutional nature and awesome power of the office he was pursuing, PREDATORY prey--for a deeply entrenched white-power elite hell-bent on ruining the lives of all but themselves. Nor, finally, how the idiot racism of right-wing "haters" was probably even desirable from Obama's standpoint, providing perfect cover to yield to the fouler angels of his nature while PC-liberal supporters, rushing to defend their embattled underdog blackamoor, circled wagons to rationalize his every move.

This, in outline, is the sick, twisted dynamic of racism that's allowed Barack Obama to emerge as the fiercest enemy to the progress of own his race--and perhaps of every other.

But for every outline, they're must be some detail, or else we're just reading the Cliff Notes. Now, the detail on what makes Obama ripe prey for our times--and our times ripe for his preyed-on predation--could doubtless fill volumes. And lacking his black--or better, mixed-race--experience, I'm hardly the best-equipped chronicler of this darkling tale. Were it not for my one-time futile romantic interest in a mixed-race woman, very much in Obama's talented, charming, physically attractive, and steely-willed genre, I wouldn't dare speculate on his inner sanctum. But my own brief glimpse of a world of upward striving I found at once sympathetic, alluring, and--to my own sheltered Irish Catholic experience--deeply scary, has perhaps provided me a clue into Obama's fateful encounter with Penny Pritzker, his nominee for Secretary of Commerce--and the "detail" of my story.

Now, veteran, respected investigative journalist--and self-promotional genius--Greg Palast refers to Penny Pritzker as Obama's "fairy godmother." That's totally in line with Palast's catchy style--and certainly catches a significant portion of the truth. But I'd like to suggest that in a nation that has known (among others) both Richard Wright and William Faulkner, something far more significant (and kinkier) is going on here; if we ask the relevant question in terms of that "kinky prude" Henry James, whether Penny and Barack "did it," everything I know about human nature tells me that they HAVE. See, in Barack's case, it's a "Giant Steps" question of upward mobility; in Barack's and Penny's case, a matter of "forbidden fruit;" and in the case of that ultimate (and deeply experienced) Catholic diagnostician of kinky attraction St. Augustine, a question of "the glamour of evil." Perhaps I'm projecting, but I sure as hell know what in Barack's and Penny's cases I would have done.

But despite the National Inquirer attraction of the question of whether Barack and Penny "did it," the ultimate point to which we must cleave fast is confirmed-sinner Augustine's stress on "the glamour of evil." Here, even if their sexual relations were Platonic, I think there's absolutely zero question that Barack and Penny "did it"--and we're ALL screwed as a result. See, despite the limited truth Greg Palast offers us in speaking of Penny Pritzker as Barack Obama's "fairy godmother," I suspect what Penny most deeply and wholeheartedly offered to Barack was a "vampire's kiss"--and Barack as aspiring vampire was easily seduced. It's HARD to be a very talented member of an aspiring minority--particularly of that aspiring minority of mixed-race persons neither comfortably black nor comfortably white--and an overture from an all-too-established "made" member of the white hierarchy has to be the ultimate in kinky seduction. Not only does Penny provably rank among the richest of the rich, but she has provably screwed your black race--and in race-conscious America, being mixed-race ultimately translates into being black. What better proof that one transcends the category of "typical n-word"--along with the perverse kinkiness of screwing "one's one kind"--could be offered? All this kinky seduction, along with endlessly ample means--and plutocrat introductions--to pursue one's personal ambitions. How could Barack NOT have been seduced?

So, in sum, Penny Pritzker saw a deeply attractive, deeply talented fellow vampire on whom to bestow her "vampire's kiss." Moreover, he carried the forbidden-value of being--despite the talent and attractiveness that marked him for your vampire's kiss--one of your plantation slaves. And Barack Obama, already sensing how much he transcended those dumbass "field niggers" (indeed, he was half white) was eager for that vampire's kiss. If this were simply the sanitized Hollywood version of Breakfast at Tiffany's, we'd accept the feel-good liberal version of Barack Obama and ignore Truman Capote's novel. But like Holly Golightly, Penny Pritzker is hardly so innocent, and we can't ignore what she really does in that powder room. And so, if we really care about what happens to our deeply imperiled (former) republic, we must demand that both Penny Pritzker and Barack Obama BOTH "take a powder."

True Blue Democrats are the ONLY progressive political movement deeply attuned to what's happening in the powder room. Check us out at .

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Patrick Walker is co-founder of Revolt Against Plutocracy (RAP) and the Bernie or Bust movement it spawned. Before that, he cut his activist teeth with the anti-fracking and Occupy Scranton PA movements. No longer with RAP, he wields his pen (more...)

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