The recent Democratic National Convention was a demonstration of marketing at its worst, that is to say, at its greatest level of effectiveness. It was also an awful celebration of white washed history, dubious assertions and Orwellian levels of propaganda.
The best example of foolishness masquerading as substance was the overwrought reaction to first lady Michelle Obama’s speech. She gave what has become a traditional address asking voters to support the candidate because his wife tells funny stories about him which will make voters determined to vote for the good husband/dad/one time poor student who loves his country. The only difference between Michelle Obama and Ann Romney’s speeches was in the quality of delivery and fashion sense. Apparently there is still nothing like a beautiful woman in the right dress to make otherwise intelligent people lose their common sense.
Barack Obama and the first lady made the case for retrograde politics and quasi-fascist doctrines. Michelle Obama extolled the virtues of some strange and amorphous quality which she described as “the American spirit.” This spirit isn’t good for very much because apparently it inspired teachers in a bankrupt school district to work without pay.
If Mrs. Obama hadn’t looked so stunning and made such a wonderful impression, someone might have asked what can possibly be good about working without pay. That is called slavery and it is nothing that should be seen in a positive light. Teachers in a bankrupt school district ought to stop working and fight against the forces which would take money away from public education. But that is not the language that Barack Obama and the rest of the Democrats want to express at this juncture in history.
Instead we heard about how the United States is the greatest country in the world, and that it is considered great in large part because of the violence it perpetrates against people in the rest of the planet. The first lady was introduced by a woman who has four children in the active duty military. That choice spoke volumes about the Democrats and their awful and ultimately successful plan to out maneuver the Republicans as the party of proud imperialists.
It was difficult to keep track of how many speakers boasted of the assassination of Osama bin Laden. His name came up so often that if his ghost had appeared at the podium it would not have been shocking. The Democrats were not content to pound their chests over the extra judicial killing of a one time American ally, but the Mom-In-Chief, as she called herself told Americans that at least one blinded Iraq vets is so proud of his actions that he doesn’t really mind being maimed. Michaell Obama said that one of these “wounded warriors” told her, “I’d give my eyes 100 times again to have the chance to do what I have done and what I can still do.” It isn’t clear what that really means, but the effect is to make the listener happy that some other poor slob lost his eyesight is some far away part of the world. We ought to be horrified by war and our country’s role in advancing war at such an alarming rate. We should be horrified about what our country has done to Iraqis and about the suffering of Americans sent to do the dirty work. Instead we are told not to worry so much because the wounded are keeping a stiff upper lip when they talk to Mrs. Obama.
It was all so very sad to behold. Black Americans, once the most progressive group in the country, are so ecstatic that Barack and Michelle Obama live in the family quarters of the white house that they didn’t mind being left off the stage. Some black elected officials spoke, but for the second convention in a row, there was not one black person deemed worthy of being among the “real people” speaking in prime time that the Democrats endlessly brag about.
Ordinary white people went to the podium to proclaim their pride in being autoworkers or their thanks for the Affordable Care Act saving their life, or for Planned Parenthood or for a government which scoops up all of their children into the killing machine. Some of them told viewers how Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital stole their jobs. Surely there are black people who lost their jobs because of Bain, but they were not allowed anywhere near the stage.
The age-old dilemma is alive and well between black Americans and the Obamas. Getting the support of white people generally means distancing oneself from black people. For the first time in their history, black Americans have consciously and directly advocated being ignored. “He can’t win if he does anything for us,” many people will astutely observe, but the conclusion is anything but astute.
Black Americans have made the worst political deal in world history and now have nothing to show for it but a black woman in a lovely dress getting applause. The Democrats definitely won the propaganda war between the two conventions but that doesn’t mean that black people won anything. We won the right to subjugate ourselves for the second time for a still dubious reason. The self-abnegation and happy willingness to take a back seat for the sake of the happiness engendered by Obama’s presence as POTUS is very shameful and hopefully not to be repeated again. If the reaction to Obama would take place with any other black president, let us hope that Obama is not just the first black president, but the last one as well.