Was an invited guest on this radio programme broadcasting from Delray Beach earlier this week, and though I was requested to come on to discuss the issue of the Americans invading Syria’s borders, I was practically bushwhacked by another topic, one that I hadn’t given much thought before, but which turned out to be interesting.
There was a discussion between the host Roy Miller and 2 others, about the consequences of Barack Obama losing the election next week. At my point of entry, it was mooted that there was a high possibility of violence and confrontation in the streets of USA.
My response was that though there would be a high degree of disappointment and resentment, I didn’t think wide-scale disturbances were anywhere likely.
One of the guests pointed out that Americans were so looking for hope and change that an Obama loss would result in violence. Somewhere the possibility of assassination (god forbid) was introduced, what with the arrest of 2 white wing-nuts allegedly planning the mass killings of black children and culminating with the shooting death of the presidential candidate.
That apparently ratcheted up even further the visual of the mass burning of American cities. Me, ‘I doan theeeenk soooo’.
The latter nightmare is actually something that is keeping a lot of folks away from the polls. Many have confided to me that they fear such an incident and don’t want to be a part of it.
But should such happen, then its timing would determine the level of violent disruption. I would agree should such happen (and it leaves me highly queasy to even contemplate as an academic exercise) close to November 4, then there is a higher probability for violence… in black communities.
Not only do they have more invested in Obama, they have seem similar occurrences over a long period of time. Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, the jailing of those like Marcus Garvey, and the assassinations and confinement of other black power activists and leaders.
But we know what happens when mass violence happens in such communities… they are contained to that community and really, not many people in this society mind if the ghettos ‘burn baby burn’.
But as much as this might happen, I don’t think that it would be widespread or long lasting. Beyond the black community, many people would feel devastated, but the most that would happen would be a few demonstrations in some streets, some tears, a rush to the technological media (blogging, writing to editors, calling talk radio), symbols and outbursts of outrage, some black armbands… and back to work the next morning. Ok the 2nd morning after (I’m really getting to cynical).
But for my peace of mind, let’s forget the worst-case scenario and look at an Obama loss at the polls and the possibility of violence by his supporters.
The frustration of the black community would be significant but not overwhelming. Blacks are only about 14% of the US population and contrary to what Sarah Palin might think, we are not all cooped up in ghettos. And as per usual, the police have plans of containment. The mess wouldn’t spill too far, wouldn’t last long. All the black church leaders, the Sharptons and the Jacksons would be rolled out to pacify the black masses.
Would white people riot should Obama lose? I think not. The main reason would be that Americans have largely lost the ‘fire in their belly’. Henry Kissinger once wrote about the ‘American culture of avoiding hardship’, and George Bush once referred to ’country club democrats’ (quoting Kissinger and Bush in the same paragraph must represent a new low for me).
In other words, it is well recognized that activism and revolutionary zeal are sadly lacking in this society. On more than one occasion, I have asked “What happened to America’s real revolutionaries”.
The dumbing down of America has something to do with this loss, but another answer is that most have been seduced by the bling, and have to meet mortgage and car payments. Just an aside, was it I who said that “Hunger can start a revolution but not sustain it?”.
Years ago, there were massive demonstrations worldwide against the invasion of Iraq. There were large ones in Washington, New York and California, perhaps Seattle. But not many other places raised much noise.
I attended one in West Palm Beach in 2006 that gathered less than 200 people, most of them women and most of them middle-age plus. That is representative of today’s activists, old and fading. And them folks don’t throw stones and set fires.
I can imagine that many of Barack’s supporters wouldn’t get past the first Starbucks, “STOP VOTER FRAUD! STOP VO… HEY, LET’S GET A FRAPPUCINO”.
Perhaps its unkind of me to judge the American spirit so unkindly, but there it is. Many of us have been neutered.
George Bush and the neo-cons are still out to prove that they are willing to leave America as damaged as possible, for the next president. First it was Pakistan, now it is Syria, where US special forces crossed the Iraq-Syria border to allegedly kill ‘terrorists’.
As justification, American officials said that they were operating “…under an expansive definition of self-defense that provided a rationale for strikes on militant targets in sovereign nations without those countries’ consent”. Does this sound very much like the Bush doctrine of pre-emptive war?
Again this exposess the short-sightedness and hypocrisy of American officials. Not only because this is wrong and will be rightly condemned, but it will be used against other countries and eventually America itself. If you cross another man’s borders to kill someone, the least there is, is a case for murder, the most is invasion and war.
Since American illegal and immoral invasion of Iraq, at least 2 countries have invaded their neighbours citing ‘the doctrine of pre-emption’. One was Russia in Georgia. Can you imagine Cuba or Mexico unilaterally crossing American borders to even arrest a ‘bad guy’.
Unfortunately, in the debates, Barack Obama defended this policy which positions him right alongside George Bush and John McCain. One can only hope that this is election-speak and he will reverse himself if he is to direct America’s foreign policy.
Will race play a part in the election? Many say no (self-denial), I say yes, it will from open and deliberate to subconscious. Read this column “What? Me biased?” by New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/30/opinion/30kristof.html?_r=1&oref=slogin and take the test. You might be surprised.
In Westfield, Massachusetts, at a gun fair, an 8-year-old boy, fired a fully automatic Uzi at a pumpkin and ended up killing himself (I’m almost tempted to say, Pumpkin 1, Boy 0, but that might not be in good taste).
The father (obviously a poster child for stupidity) who gave him the gun, exclaimed “This accident was truly a mystery to me… a horrible travesty, and I really don’t know why it happened”. The father’s name is Charles Bizilj and he is director of emergency medicine at a Connecticut hospital. Anybody want to give him an answer, please feel free to do so.