Wednesday, November 5, 2008

What are we celebrating?

"Democracy will not be free until the last representative is strangled with the entrails of the last voter."

What are we celebrating?
Are we celebrating that our electoral process turned a community organizer into an elite-pandering war hawk?
Are we celebrating our compromise on our principles?
Are we celebrating the victory of a daydream over a nightmare?
Are we celebrating the surrender of individual integrity to communal passions?
Are we celebrating our failure to collectively create systemic change?

It's not about pessimism, it's about imperialism.

We are celebrating the spectacle of managed democracy, and by association we are celebrating the reality of globalized exploitation and permanent war.
We are celebrating a new color of settler colonialism.
We are celebrating a more sustainable rapaciousness.
We are celebrating a margin of victory over fraudulence at the price of a surrender of a democratic process.
We are celebrating our historic transformation from principled idealists to prevaricating apologists.

It is not a time to celebrate.
It is a time to think deeply, a time to get serious.



Anonymous said...

damn quincy, for a musician u sure can be tone deaf.

Quincy Milo said...

Dispatches from Hampshire College:

There is danger in identity politics. They allow us to dismiss the feelings of others because of their identity, in this case the color of their skin. It allows us to get caught up in communal politics and psychology at the expense of our critical intelligence.
What am I talking about?

Last night, while white and black Americans paraded around campus chanting "Obama", our Pakistani and Palestinian friends were, well, I don't want to speak for them, but I'll just say less than enthusiastic and a little frightened. If there was a line that divided our campus last night, it wasn't a color line, it was a colonial line, with the West on one side and the Rest on the other.

Is it really just because I'm white that I don't care to celebrate Obama? Or could it have something to do with his war-mongering foreign policy, his awful health care plan, his apathy towards the continuation of economic attrition through trickle-down Reagonomics as evidenced by his choice of advisors, his support for the re-authorization of the Patriot Act, or his disgusting transformation from a community organizer to an overeager lap dog of the war and drug lobbies?
I've been reading the foreign press all morning, and I just can't reconcile this supposed outpouring of renewed love for America with the undiminished reality of imperialism, which Obama (correct me if I'm wrong) has only made promises to intensify.

I'm afraid that this is more complicated than white and black. It is historic that we have a man of color as president, but have we forgotten that he's in the WHITE house? Is the end of white supremacy? Or is it the multiculturalization of white supremacy?

Don't get me wrong; I'm down to celebrate that McCain and Palin won't be in charge. I'm also down to celebrate that no one was beaten up and arrested last night, which they might have been if McCain had been declared winner and there was rioting. I'm down to celebrate the unprecedented (in recent times) political engagement of youth and communities of color.
But, excuse me if this sounds racist to you, I will not celebrate Obama because he's a person of color. Nor will I celebrate Condoleeza Rice, Colin Powell or Clarence Thomas. There's a difference between challenging a power structure from within and being assimilated. Challenging a power structure from within is when you enter it on your own terms without compromising. (Chavez and Morales are examples.) Being assimilated is when you enter only on the terms of the existing power structure. What has Obama done? So far, it's a rhetorical question. Hopefully he'll redeem himself. Hopefully he'll get a chance to. Personally, I don't feel at all compelled to celebrate assimilation.

We can feel however we like, but we should know that when we celebrate Obama we are actively alienating in a pretty extreme way our friends whose countries Obama has threatened to wreak havoc on.