Change . . . holy change! If only we could be blessed with a
light rain from the heavens that would wash away our prejudices, greed and
dissipating wastefulness. Cleansed, Americans could then become one whole
people instead of the many factions that now make up this nation of diversity;
diversity not just in people but also in rights, hopes and expectations.
Let there be no mistake, ours is a nation where indignation
and ill will run much deeper than we would like to believe, or dare broadcast
for everyone to hear; and it is these real life-size grievances never addressed
fully or with candor -- not just imagined ones -- that prevent us from attaining
national cohesiveness. Instead, all we have done from time immemorial is to lie
to ourselves and to others . . . just by adding patches. Ours has never been a
Fourth of July America, the one that our State Department sells to the world,
but a nation which has provided both: opportunity for some to realize a
so-called American dream and, for others, the condemnation to relive an
Patches that cover up the problems of race, economic
inequality and wantonly obscene self-indulgence are constantly being affixed to
the American psyche as if telling us all that everything is fine with no reason
to worry or complain. So truth is patched with lies time and again, as we are
all asked to join in that proud chorus of �God Bless America,� an America
that really belongs to a few, although most of us are deceived into adopting it
as our very own. And the bullshit builds up, as do the patches, until the
boiling cauldron overflows . . . then, the patches temporarily disappear and we
come to blows.
Last week the media did its thing, and presented us with a
reverend Wright made to look more like an irreverent Wrong exalting his black
congregation with a blasphemous �God damn America.� No American flag pin
adorning his clerical garb, just words of anger and rancor coming from his
mouth. An embittered Christian pastor who tells it like he sees it . . . and
that for tens of millions is really the America they live in and not the
mythical America that we seem to be patriotically proud of. By so doing, Rev.
Wright created political problems for a member of his flock, Senator Barack
Obama, and his quest for the Democratic nomination . . . and the chance to
occupy the White House.
Obama�s denunciation of Rev. Wright was one of form as well
as substance, but it did appear as a conditional denunciation to the existing
racial problems that still afflict this nation. And that is something that most
conservative Americans just don�t tolerate . . . it has to be an unconditional
denunciation, and total adherence to the philosophy that �America does no
wrong,� or it�s no denunciation at all.
Even if one questions Obama�s path and ability to bring real
change to America, he does appear as a person of reason and honor . . . unlike
most other politicians; and that, of course, will hurt his chances of being
nominated by his party; and, if nominated, of being elected. After all, he�ll
be portrayed as just a letter away from the founding father of Al Qaeda. The
lies and denigration against aspiring-president Obama will be in full force and
the fascist bloodhounds will be combing the woods and the marshes looking for
that half-Negro terrorist who dares tell us that we have racial problems to
solve. It has already started. In Sunday's local paper, The Oregonian, an uncalled for salvo was dishonorably
discharged by a reader: �Barack Obama stands by Rev. Wright with glee.
President he should not be.� Jubilant delight not from Obama but from the
Rovesque nincompoop who wrote such trash! But that�s what the senator will get,
non-stop, if and when he receives the Democratic nomination to run against John
Black rage in America is real, very real, even if it remains
patched. The American judicial-prison system is a disgrace, one which affects
blacks uniquely and disproportionately, as do other institutions. When
Mainstream White America, the America that controls power, fails to address
these problems, should people act surprised if criminal trials really become
political trials, such as O.J. Simpson�s or Mumia Abu-Jamal�s?
We have only touched on racial resentment -- which affects
more than just blacks -- but it applies with an ever-increasing force to the
broadening economic inequality and the accelerating disappearance of the middle
class. Racial and economic rage affecting the �Other America� is likely to grow
in the next few years, attaining super-majority status to demand drastic
social, economic and political change in this land of ours.
It is not double vision that makes us see two Americas . . .
it is only political blindness that makes us see only one. Distance between the
two Americas needs to be dramatically narrowed or we shall continue to remain
the United States of Resentment, and not the United States of America we should
strive to be.
� 2008 Ben
Tanosborn, columnist, poet and writer, resides in Vancouver, Washington (USA),
where he is principal of a business consulting firm. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.