by Robert Wilkinson
I recently read an article in the WaPo about responses around the world to Obama's election. My impression is that his presidency is being met with virtually universal jubilation except for those who fear change or people of color. However, it seems there are a few flies in the ointment among the more cynical organs of propaganda, both domestic and foreign, concerning the process of American democracy itself. Can what seems to be happening REALLY be happening?
Since people from all around the world come to this site from time to time, and this issue deals with perceptions near and far about the nature of "democracy" and what Barack Obama represents in potential governance and the future of world affairs, I figured this was a good subject to discuss. It's definitely Political Physics at the intersection of Fate Street and Free Will Street on Eternity Boulevard for our nation and our planet.
The essential question this election has brought forth seems to be: Is the US still enough of a democracy to allow this apparently radical shift, where we break so definitively from past blunders and horrors and focus anew on solving problems instead of creating them? Has America actually elected someone who is willing to do this?
The article that inspired this column was written by Ann Applebaum, titled Democracy They Can't Imagine. When you're done here check it out. What she observed got me to thinking about what has been, what is, and what could be, and how to answer some very cynical people out there who believe that Obama is a prop, a front for PNAC, the NWO, the Zionists, or any other thing you want to call the masters of war and exploitation. He's also been suspected of being a designated scapegoat, put in place by manipulators to take the fall when he cannot quickly solve the economic mess that Dubya left our nation and our world.
That our world has been in deep despair at the destructive "chaotic radicalism" (look it up!) of many years of American mis-administration is obvious. And while it went to unbelievable levels of destruction and chaos under George Bush, the roots of authoritarian Amerika go back a long way, depending on who's telling the story. One person's liberator is another's jackboot.
In all fairness, imperialism is a global disease that goes way back, and so some suspicion regarding human saviors and liberators is understandable. Governments give us heroes, images, and rationales to justify doing what they want. Many bad deeds are done by those who are sold to us as good men and women, and we are all under pressure not to doubt official cultural messages as to what is considered good or bad.
People frame things they way they do based in what they know or believe, and there are many superstitions and illusions that are believed to be real. On the other hand, there are realities that will always be denied by those whose wealth and power depend on that denial. So things are framed in fear and illusion, and alternatives are denied when they don't perpetuate the wealth and power of those who have them.
First, let's address the gray men behind the curtain. Like most peace loving Beings on Earth, I also continue to be wary of the larger intertwined financial, political, and military forces in our country, since they have not done We The People much good. They are "the boys with the toys" of every country, and have no use for democracy and the public good, since it doesn't profit them directly, and ultimately undermines their power source, which lies in mindless manipulative destruction.
The global power players will continue the game until enough of us say "War No More." That's still a ways off. But for now, at least here in the US, while they hold a lot of power, they also are subject to the Constitution, an excellent (if sometimes imperfect) statement of the enduring foundations of democracy. I believe that single document guarantees that our version of democracy will succeed in weathering the storms and manipulations of the money changers' alliance with the war machine. Money and guns are strong, but ideas are stronger.
Barack Obama has said many things, some of which are to be expected, while other things truly seem to mark a break from the renegade nation Amerika recently became. Can he really pull them off? Was this multi-cultural, multi-racial, highly educated and intelligent human being actually elected on his own? Could it be that this man is nobody's fool and nobody's servant except We The People?
Let's be honest. We all serve somebody. We all live within a larger social matrix with its rules and consequences. And nobody gets into office in the US without money and the willingness to both take orders and compromise with others. I suspect this is also true around the world, whether in a democracy or another form of government.
So Barack Obama probably does serve some interests that do not have clean hands. If he didn't he would not have gotten nominated or elected, since those with the wealth and intention always have a say in who occupies high office in any land. However, to say the he serves only them does a true disservice to what I observed regarding our most recent "experiment in American democracy."
One thing has always been true in our elections. Our particular version of American democracy seems in many ways more of an unpredictable mess than others. That's because it's always evolving, driven by the American spirit of believing in "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," and shaped by both internal and external forces of changing times and conditions. As a young nation we still cling to some illusions and make mistakes, but also in our optimism have hopes unclouded by the cynicism (and realism) of older nations who also suffer under their own illusions.
Like many other nations, our elections have been subject to manipulation by prevailing (if temporary) forces. However, unlike many other nations whose elections are rigged, over the past 30 years in American politics when the scamming has reached its limit, there has always been a form of counter-movement to push the electoral process into newer forms. Whether originating in external events, internal debate, or both, these counter-movements drove the process past any previously known assumptions.
That is the power of an unfettered press, guaranteed by the Constitution. Though Mainstream Media is controlled by corporate powers, the American public is driven by the need to know "the news," good, bad, and irrelevant. This has spawned tens of thousands of reporters, both amateur and professional, spreading stories through any and all means possible about endless subjects.
This sort of media saturation results in all kinds of things, both good and bad, which accounts for part of the messiness of the process. But with the intensification of the ability to spread information and images around the world at record speed, it naturally yields the benefit of very little escaping notice sooner or later.
This revolution in ways, means, and content of information sharing on a global scale has resulted in a real media revolution in the past few years. This is why the manipulations in the political process cannot escape notice for very long, and the news spreads fast once they are discovered. (What is done to stop them is another matter entirely, and not so quick as spreading the news.)
I believe that every presidential election since 1980 (with several egregious examples before then), as well as every Congressional election since 2000, has been manipulated through a combination of anti-democratic methods. There have been some incredible behind-the-scenes fraud, lies, and manipulations, though arguably none so widespread and coordinated as those since 2000.
And yet, as each election was stolen, a public outrage arose to argue against those methods. One example in recent history has been the disastrous touch-screen voting machine scam which sparked a movement for openness and accountability. Another was the answer from We The People to firmly counter the straw man of "voter fraud," proved to be nonexistant but used by manipulators to attempt to deny people the right to vote. There are others.
This last election brought forth a counter-movement from millions to the manipulations of previous elections. The Internet has changed the way politics is done forever, and has become the gathering ground for those who want to become educated and active as forces for positive change. It's hard to manipulate things when millions are working against all the forms of manipulation. That's what happened, however perfectly or imperfectly, in Election 2008. It's the direct reason Barack Obama got elected.
Many of the doubters in America cling to a belief that he is a tool of the powerful and a face and/or placeholder for the gray men behind the curtain. This overlooks the fact that change originating outside of any system usually provokes nasty reactions from the system. Therefore any true change in direction toward a better future must start from here and now and assist the system in recognizing that it's in its best interests to adapt and move into that change.
Most foreign cynicism seems to be coming from those with no history of democracy, or who are basically undemocratic in their bias. The criticisms from provocateurs in Russia, China, and the jihadists originate from those with much different political histories than the US and methods of governing that have no basis in modern democracy. Of course it is in the interests of those who do not value democracy to cast public doubt on Barack Obama's stated intention to begin a new course for the nations.
Given the larger transformational forces at work globally, I believe most do hope for a time when things are not so brutal, so chaotic, so uncertain, and so difficult. Barack Obama has seemed to grasp this global desire and cast himself as willing to show the world a new way to govern and do things on our fragile planet.
Is he perfect? Is anyone? If we're all smarter, more capable, aware, and skilled together than we are separately, then he seems on the right track, as he is a consensus builder and willing to tap any and all resources at this disposal to start America moving in a different direction. Even if the same military-industrial complex exists and is doing business somewhat as usual, over time we should see a shift in trajectory of where the time, energy, and money is going.
This is the long term promise. We know we must deal with severe environmental issues, since the world economy depends on the environment and some measure of geophysical predictability and stability. We know we cannot continue to do business as we have, and what one nation does affects other nations more obviously now than at any time in history.
Thanks to the Internet, the world is now wired virtually instantaneously with each other. We are evolving a new sense of time, space, matter, energy, reality, and how to relate to All-That-Is. This is an amazing moment in the evolution of humanity and our world, since we've reached the logical limit on our old way of regarding our material creation.
While Barack Obama may or may not fulfill all that he intends, one thing is sure. He is the harbinger of major change, and his vitality, intelligence, reasonableness, and cool assuredness are just what our nation and the world needs after too many years of useless, mindless destructive behavior that left widespread chaos. Hopefully his election permanently ends the "dumbing down" of the presidency that began 30 years ago.
Enough people knew we needed a new idea and mobilized to elect him president. While many things will stay the same, many more will change forever. He certainly raises the bar on what we have come to expect from "a leader." That alone makes it worth the effort.
© Copyright 2009 Robert Wilkinson