In the Ground

by MISSY COMLEY BEATTIE

In 2009, my son went to Washington, DC. He was among hundreds of thousands swept to excitement by an unprecedented moment. I discouraged—didn’t want him on the road. Probably, had I been his age, 22, I’d have driven all night, too. It was one hell of a party.

On election night, 2008, a weeping Jesse Jackson was captured on film, his tears reflecting history’s sadness and future’s possibilities.

Festivities were heard around the world.

The party’s long been over for all but the uber-wealthy.

I am remembering Michelle Obama on the campaign trail, her admission and the criticism she took when she said, “For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country.” She prefaced this with, “People in this country are ready for change and hungry for a different kind of politics.

So many were expecting the change of which she spoke to be an improvement for the middle class and working poor.

So many were expecting a departure from the Bush/Cheney economic tyranny, militarism, imperialism, contempt for The Other, torture, and environmental devastation.

And then the excuses:

“He inherited a mess.”

“He needs more time.”

These tired justifications must be put to sleep.

Because we have seen the circus of the absurd, the standup tragedians, much emoting about entitlement programs, a president offering more to the shredder than was asked, and little mention of the costs of war, the number of countries with which we’re at war, and the trillions in stimulus money distributed to the personhoods responsible for toxins in the bundles.

The entitlement program needing the most excision is Bailing out the Banksters, corporate welfare, not safety nets that protect the most vulnerable.

Still left to manipulate is extension of Bush-era tax cuts (set to expire at the end of 2012) that hugely benefit those who hold black American Express cards. Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats are concerned that Obama may entice with hope and change, something from his pre-oath, transformational phase, to salvage his reputation, galvanize a progressive base, and use as leverage for less slicing and dicing of liberal priorities.

Don’t count on this.

The middle class is dying. Inequality is thriving. Obama is owned by Wall Street. Congress is owned by Wall Street. The system is working exactly as big capital dictates.

This is the New World Order.

The opportunists have erased all that early revelry, planned by the people, to celebrate the land of opportunity. Never again should young and old alike feel that inexorable rush of anticipation, compelling them to go, to travel to Washington, DC, in honor of someone whose pre-presidency promises seem trustworthy.

The “different kind of politics” about which Michelle Obama swooned is nada, zip. And the tear that rolled down Jesse Jackson’s face is a symbol of what could have been and isn’t. Hope has been laid to rest—the American dream lowered in the ground.

Missy Beattie lives in Baltimore, Maryland. Reach her at missybeat@gmail.com.

Will Falk moved to the West Coast from Milwaukee, WI where he was a public defender.

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
July 29, 2015
Mike Whitney
The Politics of Betrayal: Obama Backstabs Kurds to Appease Turkey
Joshua Frank
The Wheels Fell Off the Bernie Sanders Bandwagon
Conn Hallinan
Ukraine: Close to the Edge
Stephen Lendman
What Happened to Ralkina Jones? Another Jail Cell Death
Rob Wallace
Neoliberal Ebola: the Agroeconomic Origins of the Ebola Outbreak
Dmitry Rodionov
The ‘Ichkerization’ Crime Wave in Ukraine
Joyce Nelson
Scott Walker & Stephen Harper: a New Bromance
Bill Blunden
The Red Herring of Digital Backdoors and Key Escrow Encryption
Thomas Mountain
The Sheepdog Politics of Barack Obama
Farzana Versey
A President and a Yogi: Abdul Kalam’s Symbolism
Norman Pollack
America’s Decline: Internal Structural-Cultural Subversion
Foday Darboe
How Obama Failed Africa
Cesar Chelala
Russia’s Insidious Epidemic
Tom H. Hastings
Defending Democracy
David Macaray
Why Union Contracts are Good for the Country
Virginia Arthur
The High and Dry Sierras
Jon Langford
Mekons Tour Diary, the Season Finale, Mekonception in Redhook
July 28, 2015
Mark Schuller
Humanitarian Occupation of Haiti: 100 Years and Counting
Lawrence Ware
Why the “Black Church” Doesn’t Exist–and Never Has
Peter Makhlouf
Israel and Gaza: the BDS Movement One Year After “Protective Edge”
Carl Finamore
Landlords Behaving Badly: San Francisco Too Valuable for Poor People*
Michael P. Bradley
Educating About Islam: Problems of Selectivity and Imbalance
Binoy Kampmark
Ransacking Malaysia: the Najib Corruption Dossier
Michael Avender - Medea Benjamin
El Salvador’s Draconian Abortion Laws: a Miscarriage of Justice
Jesse Jackson
Sandra Bland’s Only Crime Was Driving While Black
Cesar Chelala
Effect of Greece’s Economic Crisis on Public Health
Mel Gurtov
Netanyahu: An Enemy of Peace
Joseph G. Ramsey
The Limits of Optimism: E.L. Doctorow and the American Left
George Wuerthner
Bark Beetles and Forest Fires: Another Myth Goes Up in Smoke
Paul Craig Roberts - Dave Kranzler
Supply and Demand in the Gold and Silver Futures Markets
Eric Draitser
China’s NGO Law: Countering Western Soft Power and Subversion
Harvey Wasserman
Will Ohio Gov. Kasich’s Anti-Green Resume Kill His Presidential Hopes?
Jon Langford
Mekons Tour Diary, Episode 4, a Bowery Ballroom Blitz
July 27, 2015
Susan Babbitt
Thawing Relations: Cuba’s Deeper (More Challenging) Significance
Howard Lisnoff
Bernie Sanders: Savior or Seducer of the Anti-War Left?
Martha Rosenberg
Big Pharma’s Profiteers: You Want Us to Pay What for These Meds?
Joshua Sperber
What is a President? The CEO of Capitalism
John Halle
On Berniebots and Hillary Hacks, Dean Screams, Swiftboating and Smears
Stephen Lendman
Cleveland Police Attack Black Activists
Zoe Konstantopoulou
The Politics of Coercion in Greece
Patrick Cockburn
Only Iraq’s Clerics Can Defeat ISIS
Ralph Nader
Sending a ‘Citizens Summons’ to Members of Congress
Clancy Sigal
Scratch That Itch: Hillary and The Donald
Colin Todhunter
Working Class War Fodder
Gareth Porter
Obama’s Version of Iran Nuke Deal: a Second False Narrative