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The Obama Win: Handle As Little and as Gently as Possible

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Both Sunday editions of the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times provided souvenir pullouts or sections for those wishing to have another item to commemorate this historic election.

Since Wednesday, November 5th, Obama supporters and those who realized the historic significance of Obama’s win have been buying up or grabbing anything with Obama on it so they can be sure they “remember” this moment forever and have memorabilia to share with their children and grandchildren later on in life.

The Tribune was aware of the fact that people would want to preserve this moment by hanging on to newspapers detailing the Obama win, and they included a section in the Sunday edition on how to keep newspapers “as good as new.”

For people with Wednesday editions of the Sun-Times or Tribune (Nov. 5th), the director of conservation services at the Newberry Library in Chicago suggested that those wanting to keep newspapers as good as new should: keep it in a cool and dry place, keep it in a dark place, keep it away from the sun (if on display), never put tape or sticky notes on the paper, and suggests that everyone understand plastic bags (even those that lock out the air) aren’t necessarily guaranteed to keep newspapers new.

Also, the Tribune encouraged people to check out the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC) and posted a link on their website for readers to go to.

The AIC suggests that those with newspapers handle them as little and as gently as possible, make sure hands are freshly washed, transport them in folders and remove individual items with both hands, and do not undertake repairs on your own. They also emphasize that choice of materials for storage of exhibition and storage is critical and therefore, mats, folders, and storage boxes should be made of cotton rage or 100 percent chemically purified woodpulp with an alkali reserve equivalent to two percent calcium carbonate and buffered to a pH of 7.5 to 10.

Many may heed the suggestions of the AIC when choosing to conserve and protect their gathered treasures from the past week. (The AIC website also offers ways to conserve and protect items other than newspapers.) But, unfortunately, it seems like some of the suggestions may be considered when approaching Obama and his administration too.

Progressives/liberals might worry extensively about mucking up or tarnishing a good thing. This may prevention action toward real change.

The climate of defensiveness and fear created by the Bush Regime, the most recidivist criminal regime in the history of America, has had the majority of Americans paralyzed and demoralized for much of the past eight years. And those who dared to organize against the regime always doubted their ability to actually achieve a victory because they knew Bush would never listen.

Now, progressives and liberals and other Americans think Obama will listen. And, if his transition website,, is any indication, they may be right that Obama will look to the bottom for ideas for changes to be implemented from the top.

But, it must be noted that Obama doesn’t owe progressives and liberals anything. Progressives and liberals didn’t put Obama over the top. The narrative will not give credit to progressives or liberals for giving Obama a win and the narrative will never properly show the role progressives or liberals played because it was always expected that they would vote for Obama.

Republicans, moderates, “centrists”, and so-called independents are who Obama owes because they were responsible for his victory.

White people and corporations---that’s who Obama owes. They were greatly responsible for his victory.

The Sun-Times on Sunday put the win into perspective saying, “None of this could have happened without white support.” And, “Obama needs whites to make the American Dream work for all.”

Progressives and liberals made few demands of Obama before the election and asked very few questions about his capitulation during his campaign preferring to believe the adage, “he’s just saying it to get elected”, and virtually ignore any of Obama’s shortcomings.

Obama didn’t earn the progressive and liberal vote and he didn’t work to earn that vote because his campaign knew progressives and liberals wouldn’t have the guts to risk their future by putting Obama’s future at risk by voting for Ralph Nader or Cynthia McKinney. (Don’t believe me? Glenn Greenwald showed how Obama could vote against progressives and liberals when the FISA Amendment came to the floor of Congress in the summer because they would not vote for John McCain.)

Since progressive and liberal voters were guaranteed to vote for Obama, after the primary Obama was free to practice the art of rhetoric accommodation and go about business as usual , which involved, according to the Sunday edition of the Sun-Times, a “cohesive” campaign that was “drama-proof” and had “discipline and consistency.” Such discipline and consistency, certain positions staked out right of center, and lack of discussion on key issues allowed for Obama to ensure that moderates, “centrists”, Republicans, and so-called independent voters would vote for him.

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Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof Press. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure." He was an editor for
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