Can every Obama-loving adult, who has experienced and believes in life outside the United States of America put down their Kool-Aid and consider this: there is very little integrity attached to the office of the President of the United States (Potus) and the position of the First Lady of the United States (Flotus) regardless of who is occupying them?
Granted, it’s a big deal that a black man, a black woman and two black children live in the house reserved for the supposedly most powerful person in the world and his family. But there certainly is no beautiful symbolism in the fact that the White House was built by slaves — just a reminder of the despicable, yet to be dismantled, foundation on which today’s Super Power rests.
Sure, we cried that day in 2008 when Barack Obama was sworn in as president of the country many of us think of as partly ours. And true, it’s nice to have a balanced and stable person keeping the nuclear codes (if that ridiculous arrangement is even true).
Certainly, Donald Trump is a misogynist racist capitalist on steroids and it is unlikely that the world, if he were to become president of the United States, would not become a worse place faster than under any other candidate. But still, let’s try to keep some of our integrity. Let’s admit that as things have turned out, we (and by ‘we’ I mean ‘they, who can vote’) don’t have a choice right now.
Just like the French Left had to vote right, for Jacques Chirac, in the final round of the 2002 presidential elections in France, or accept the right-wing Front National’s Jean-Marie Le Pen as their president, all fairly reasonable Americans eligible to vote will have to go with Hillary Clinton, lest we’re all quite fucked (and by ‘we’ I mean ‘we, who cannot vote too’).
Had Michelle Obama communicated that in her speech endorsing Clinton this week at the Democratioc Party’s national convention, she would have acted with integrity and respect for herself and the people she was addressing. Grown-ass people, know that Clinton was not just ‘traveling the globe to keep our kids safe’ (and by ‘our’, well, you know what I mean).
Had she spoken with integrity, Michelle Obama would have refrained from mixing tear jerking liberation discourse (using her own daughters for the cause) with sentimental war talk. Maybe then it would be harder to think of Michelle Obama as just a better dressed and generally more pleasing demagogue than Donald.
If we admit that the endorsement speech was not only just a tad less trite than the one Melania Trump’s speech writer partly stole from Michelle Obama’s, but also disrespectful, hypocritical and dangerous, how can we complain about the banality and demagoguery of others?
It’s safe to say that no one can come out of the White House with their integrity intact. It is also clear that presently there is no other choice but to go for the person who seems least likely to kill as many people as possible. But while setting the bar so low, let’s at least admit that’s what we’re doing (the ‘we’ and ‘they’, ‘ours’ and ‘theirs’ is a blur now, please deal).
Apart from the difficulty to acknowledge one suffers from cognitive dissonance, there’s no good reason for dishonesty. In fact, if we have any ambition to change the world for the better, let’s at least try to call bullshit when we hear it. Let’s not glorify a speech that celebrates black lives in America, while implicitly crapping on brown lives elsewhere. Who believes that trigger-happy racist American police officers do not think that they are keeping the world safe? Who disputes that their priority, just like Hillary Clinton’s and Michelle Obama’s, is their (non-black) children? Who, among us, thinks that is okay?
In many ways, we have come surprisingly far, despite generally settling for little in terms of leadership quality and integrity. What if we, going forward, raised the bar just a bit, by cutting the crap, denouncing demagoguery and started behaving like thinking responsible, sometimes pragmatic, human beings instead of star struck idiots?