“He was more emotional than I’ve seen him,” said Martha Joynt Kumar, a scholar of presidential communications from Towson University in Maryland. “He was very real, very genuine.”
Watching the speech on TV at a Washington restaurant — the major networks interrupted entertainment programming to show Obama’s remarks — Kumar said patrons had tears in their eyes.
“The nation stopped,” she said. “People stopped and listened and felt the tragedy.”
“We owe Ralph Nader and Cynthia McKinney an apology,” writes Chris Hedges in a March 1st Truthdig post. “They were right about Barack Obama. They were right about the corporate state. They had the courage of their convictions and they stood fast despite wholesale defections and ridicule by liberals and progressives.”
I would feel a lot better about this endorsement if, only a month ago, Chris hadn’t been calling for a wholesale retreat of the Left into a kind of granola-crunchy survivalism to wait out the impending, corporate dark age of tyranny.
Is anyone else reminded of Denethor at the onset of the Battle of Pelennor Fields in the LoTR III movie? “ABANDON YOUR POSTS!!! Flee…FLEE FOR YOUR LIVES!” No? Just me? Yes, well…ok.
In any case, as a Green I have to chuckle at the order of Hedges’ missives — declare the downfall of civilization, *then* admit the Greens were right.
I respect Chris Hedges, and his work, immensely. He has journeyed into some of our era’s worst conflicts and brought the stories back for any with the stomach to learn about the violence *we* inflict on the world. He is a steadfast opponent of American Empire and I do not dismiss his analysis, however dire, and I welcome his call to build an unapologetically oppositional, Left party/movement.
I read his column with some unease, however, because even though Greens saw Barack Obama’s neo-Clintonian, corporatist dick-move coming from years away, I take no pleasure in wagging my finger at Democrats who thought Change was in the air. From what I know of organizing, condescension is rarely productive.
Let’s build a movement, but I want to work with you in hope! Not despondency. As Doug Henwood wrote, disillusionment with Democrats can be productive for the Left, as many in my generation began their activism in the Clinton years. But as Greens we must work quickly to convert that disillusionment into motivation to build something better, before more of those who turned out for Obama turn off to politics completely. In the words of the Great Vonnegut, “You were sick, but now you’re well, and there’s work to do.”
And Mr. Hedges, I don’t want to hear in October of this year, or in 2012 or 2014, that immediate circumstances are so dire that we must rally back to the Democrats! That this time they really mean it. Let’s break that pattern of abuse.
Don’t sulk, organize!