Remember, Remember, Obama is Black
Today is November 5th. Bonfire day. It is a holiday about the absurdity of remembering.
It is a 400 year old symbol. Even in it’s origination it’s history is unclear. Were the bonfires to celebrate the King’s successful suppression of a political insurrection plot, or was the plot itself an inside job, orchestrated by the King’s men with the express plan to apprehend the patsy, Guy Fawkes, and reinforce the King’s power. And through the years the meaning gets more layers. In America the symbolism gets even more confusing (like when French Theory’s decontructivism came to America, but I digress).
So today is November 5th, Guy Fawkes day. Are we lighting fires to celebrate Republican victory or to protest poor voter turnout or let’s just have a bonfire, burn it all to the ground, it’s what the majority of the few people who voted decided they want. Storm the castle with pitchforks and torches and burn it down. Talk of an impeachment when what they seem to want is a lynching.
Or is President Obama actually quite happy that now he has a real enemy in a fully Republican-controlled Congress. It will be easier for him to have a public argument with this Congress. He’s wanted to rail against the Senate since he was a young freshman senator, but he’s had to protect Reid and the other Dems there, now, for his finale, the gloves can finally come off.
Rachel Maddow is so excited to cover this mess, and the likely increase in presidential vetoes and the expected circus. She was almost gleeful to report even before the election that this battle royale was set to begin. So is it really an insurrection or all a government plot? Who cares, light the bonfire!
Black Agenda Report: “Zombie Politics Takes Center Stage After Midterms Debacle” by Robert Lovato, originally published November 5 at Latino Rebels:
What came to mind was the predictable triumph of what is known as “zombie politics.”
Zombie politics are the life-sucking, heartless and unimaginative feats practiced by McConnell, the Republicans—and the Democrats.
Lovato links to his post from 2008: “Obama, Wright and Zombie Politics in Times of Empire“:
Clinton and McCain have birthed yet another member of the army of walking dead threatening our political system: the Obama-Wright Zombie (And no, the word “zombie” is not being used with any racial connotations or subtexts
But how can we have “zombie” without racial connotations. As Professor Lauro tweeted in response to Prof. Ilya Somin’s article in Washington Post “Ebola, political ignorance, and the undead“, Lauro tweeted:
Not one word about race and zombie‘s historical ties to Africa, though.
Prof. Somin concludes:
Too often, well-intentioned but ignorant humans are more deadly than even the most malevolent vampires and zombies.
Lovato concluding the 2008 piece:
While we can’t expect someone aspiring to to occupy the seat of imperial power to do anything but defend “American exceptionalism” and other Disneyesque myths designed to coverup the U.S.’s bloody history, we should expect Obama not to reproduce the lies and half truths about race, exploitation and violence that are a part of this history.
”Hope” can’t serve as a cover for violence; And talk of “change” shouldn’t magically transport us into a state of amnesia. Beware of zombie politics and the Svengali politics of Democrats and Republicans.
Now, contrast Lovato’s conclusion to his conclusion in today’s piece:
the Big Loser of last nights elections: the Scandal of No Political Imagination. … What’s actually broken is the political system itself, which has all the marks of a sci-fi corporate oligarchy controlling both parties. … the only votes that matter in an electoral system drowning in Big Dollars: Corporate Citizens.
Those of you demoralized by this situation as if you were someone saddened at the death of their favorite character on The Walking Dead might consider this: maybe it’s time to expand our ideas about what politics is, beyond the two-party electoral system dominated by corporations. … That we must expand our imaginations is the stuff of real heroes among the politically still-living among us.
See also Forward Times Online: “Black Political Zombies” by Jeffrey L. Boney:
Collectively, Black people have practically become political zombies. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a zombie is a “will-less and speechless human that resembles the so-called walking dead.”
You’ve seen that show called “The Walking Dead” right? When it comes to getting engaged and involved in the political process, it’s as if we are collectively walking dead.
I mean for real Black people, what is wrong with us?
We keep looking for someone to give us something, rather than creating a collective Black agenda and demanding every elected official take our Black agenda seriously, or suffer severe political consequences if they don’t.
Except is there “real Black people”? What does “real” mean there? Is it like “real zombies”? Is it a color or can it be a collective agenda? Might we better rally together as a multi-racial ideologically based collective? Why can’t we have reasonable discussions about political ideas instead of us-them demographics of color?
We all know some blacks are Republican, but still they are presented as exceptions that prove the stereotypical rule, see The Grio: “Black Republicans make history“:
Utah’s Mia Love and South Carolina’s Tim Scott certainly had a lot to celebrate last night as the results came in. The two black Republicans made U.S. history with their election victories.
Hello, we are all making history, particularly at elections, and even when you don’t vote it’s making history passively. Welcome to zombie politics. We can call the new politics whatever we want: Black, Green, purple, Tea Party, Occupy, Anonymous, Burning Men, whatever, but we need a new collective for the new times. There is no reason our politics has to be such a mess, we can agree on more than this. It doesn’t have to divide across racial lines, we can stop being zombies and create reasonable, just and fair solutions.
Ironically, what may be needed is precisely the ignorance that Prof. Somin wrote against. A “veil of ignorance” in a Rawlsian sense, could provide a frame for the new politic. It is a politics of originalist anonymity, and a protection for the weakest in the power structure. But it is an active ignorance, and it requires a kind of hope we seem to have forgotten.
Remember, remember the hope we have in 2008. How can we get that back? Let’s light a bonfire tonight. Let’s burn the old ideas, forget the racial differences and politics of hate, and long live the King, so that the American revolution need never end, because there are still more slaves to be set free.
If you can’t hear the people sing, it’s time for a new stereo, as trending at imgur: “Black Stereotypes”: