U.S. Politics

Not Voting for Obama
We’re Not Even Buying a Voting Ticket to the Show

By Ezili Dantò

I speak my heart on this. In 2008, Ezili’s Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network (HLLN) supported a vote for Obama, not because we entirely believed the Obama fairytale. (See, “The America I Know,” 2008.) We supported a vote for Obama in 2008 for both pragmatic and idealistic reasons. But more so because eight-years of Bush and the application of the Wall Street de-regulation excesses left under from Bill Clinton and others had reached a crescendo point that was shockingly, brutally horrible and demoralizing for the entire world.

But we also campaigned and urged a vote for Obama, despite his apparent selection by one-percenter forces, because the symbolic victory and metaphoric narrative of “The Whitehouse: From Sally Hemings to Michelle Obama” was a powerful and compelling vision we wished to participate in bringing to a reality for the human race. That sentiment was expressed in, “I Don’t Know this America...But I’m Most Happy to Meet It.”

So, Ezili’s HLLN actively campaigned for getting rid of the Republicans that had presided over the 1991 and 2004 unconstitutional regime changes in Haiti. We campaigned so that Obama would give Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Haitians, end deportations, stop unfair trade, promote democratic elections in Haiti, value and invest in the Diaspora remittances for reform in Haiti, instead of tied-aid to NGOs, end the U.S. occupation of Haiti behind UN guns, provide relief to Main Street in America, universal healthcare, social justice, stop torture, end the resource wars abroad. (See “Towards A New US-Haiti Partnership: What Haitian Americans Ask of the New U.S. President and Congress.”)

Instead, for instance, it took the earthquake which ended the lives of 310,000 Haitians before Barack Obama deigned to give limited TPS and stop deportations. Then less than a year later he re-started deportations even with UN-imported cholera ravages and failed aid to the earthquake victims. But Obama would soon destroy even the tiny scraps of good he brought with TPS by unleashing Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton on Haiti’s head for the duration, not to mention the Bush-Clinton partnership for earthquake “relief.” 

We then wrote our dissent. “Give us 100 right-wing Republicans to face any day. Keep the namby pamby Democrats or progressive left selling their constituents out in the name of some mythical, so-called bipartisanship. They are the worst and most dangerous enablers of neoliberal globalization masturbating on the poor’s imposed pain, poverty and suffering.” (See, “Obama’s Offered Hope Is Sweatshop Slavery.”)

Today, any politicians who uses the word “hope” and “change”—as in, “I am the change you’re looking for”—is unable to waste our time with U.S. perverted elections whatsoever. The whole system is corrupt. Integrating with injustice is no longer an option. Obama was the straw that broke the camel’s back for us. Truly, his tenure has hurt our hearts in so many ways. Not least of which is the fact that a Black man has become number one superpower overseer of the profit-over-people paradigm. 

Ezili’s HLLN will not be supporting voting for Obama. We suggest conscious folks nix the political theater of the Republicans and Democrats, concentrate on local self-reliance, local community building, local people empowerment, local building of relevant educational, healthcare, local food sovereignty, local production, local work and local communication self-sufficiency infrastructures. Don’t count on any government to “save you.” Not happening folks, not with perverted electoral politics, whether you’re in U.S. or Haiti.

The corporations have bought out the politicians and they’re about servicing Wall Street, giving corporate welfare, maintaining their jobs at all cost.  Obama’s betrayal of core justice values, cuddling Wall Street instead of making it accountable, just to get re-elected cannot sufficiently be offset by general fear of the Republican’s Supreme Court nominations. We must speak truth to power, live without fear. And the Supreme Court has presided over a judiciary that disproportionately favors the wealthy, puts more Black men into the prison system for non-violent crimes like being addicted to “inhaling” than anywhere else in the world.

Moreover, what’s the Supreme Court done for Main Street lately anyhow? Or, to preserve its objectivity, its reputed sacredness? Like the Democratic and Republican members of Congress, the folks at the Supreme Court are a reflection of the times. They have simply become an arm of the global corporatocracy, giving more human rights to corporations than to human beings. Supreme Court appointments are simply not a sufficiently important issue to vote Democrat.

The old dog—“vote-for-the-lesser-of-the-two-evils” argument—no longer has traction and won’t hunt. People, of all ethnicities, are tired of dealing with evil, period. If being a “pragmatist” or a “realist” means choosing only amongst evils, count us OUT. 

The US-Euro pragmatic philosophy has a place, brings lots of comfort, but it is also responsible for the myopic resource wars and prevalent loss of the human soul amongst the schooled peoples worldwide, not to mention the rut and perennial impasse we’re in with perverted U.S. electoral politics. Fact is, the U.S. voting rights our Ancestors fought and died for, are redistricted out of legitimacy at the whim of the more wealthy and more powerful. And that’s LEGAL!

I am envisioning another world. Not integrating with injustice.

Obama betrayed the American voters who expected he would not gut the U.S. Constitution. But he has. And some of us here at HLLN are lawyers.  This writer herself is a member of two U.S. State bars where the oath I made was to protect the U.S. Constitution. Moreover, as a born-Haitian who spent what seems a lifetime advocating against the U.S. destruction of legitimate elections in Haiti, against the U.S. and its wealthiest’s support of apartheid and ethnocide in Haiti; against U.S. destruction of the 1987 Haiti Constitution with illegal U.S. regime changes in Haiti; as an advocate who has had to deal with the poor Haitians’ indiscriminate Indefinite Detention simply because the U.S. and Haiti’s repugnant undemocratic forces suspect these poor voted for and supported Lavalas, I find nothing redeeming about the constitutional lawyer, named Barack Obama.

It’s simply unforgivable on so many levels that Barack Obama went further than George W. Bush in denying human rights and social justice to U.S. and world peoples, like Haitians. Under the Obama tenure, indefinite military detention of U.S. citizens is lawful in the land of the free and the brave and Haitians are saddled with George Bush and Bill Clinton to help us become more of a democratic and stable Black nation! Susan Rice takes over the role Colin Powell played for the Bushes while Cheryl Mills is out there pushing the Duvalierist agenda in Haiti previously championed by Bill Clinton’s commerce secretary, the late Ron Brown.

Yes racism against Obama exists. No doubt. But, Obama ruined his own integrity by betraying the hopeful world who wished respite from empire’s invasions, narcissism, resource wars, denial of social justice and land-grabs behind the do-gooder facade. Obama especially betrayed the weary American people who voted for him. Yes, Obama probably will win again over Romney. The powers that be are very satisfied with the pretty Black-family mask of U.S. imperialism and Americans, of all ethnicities, are programmed for the fairytale narrative and for suburban amnesia; would rather have comfort than liberty.

Obama will most likely win again because denial is easier than the hard reality of Obama’s betrayal of Main Street and championing of corporate welfare for Wall Street. Under Obama, like it was under Bill Clinton, the one-percenters continued their white supremacist and land/resource grabbing invasions and betrayal of Africa, continued the perennial U.S. war in Haiti, against the poor worldwide, against countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, et al . . .

Obama did not bring American soldiers home but started other wars. Both parties are the same. And, in a world of infinite possibilities we choose not between the lesser of two evils. In fact, those of us who are not into denial and work at the human-rights front lines prefer to face the Republican snake head-on than the confused and gutless Democrat chameleon whining about being progressive when they are NOT.

There’s no difference between the two U.S. political parties, except one is more direct in their tyranny against the most vulnerable amongst us. The other hides behind pseudo-liberalism and gives us Clintonesque deregulation, NAFTA unfair trade and loss of U.S. jobs, gutting Glass-Steagall to serve the Goldman Sachs cadres, Welfare-to-Work when all work has flown overseas where U.S. superpower might makes sure there’s no minimum wage, no human rights, unions or respect for Black and Brown life.

Whoever is in charge of the profit-over-people paradigm, Democrat or Republican, Ezili’s HLLN will be confronting 24/7. Full time. Frankly we prefer watching the Democrats in the opposition to the Republicans opposing everything that they sat by and watch Obama preside over. There’s much less emotional tie-in for me there. If that means facing Romney, so be it.

But there are other choices, like everyone NOT showing up for this theater and nullifying the elections. Envision that. A courageous electorate that stops believing things must stay as they are with the duopoly. Just imagine it. Yes indeed I am a dreamer. Nothing changes without risk. Pragmatism is just a cop-out. Since it doesn’t matter who we vote for, best to make a statement. I think that’s pragmatic. More so than voting for Obama, the more effective evil.

ChickenBones: A Journal, May 2012