Published in Issue 262 of The Black Commentator on January 31, 2008
By Larry Pinkney

It’s strange sometimes how things occur. Nevertheless, what goes around will always, ultimately, come around.

A very short while ago I sat staring at the contents of a package I had just received from the US Department of Veterans Affairs. It was a certificate with the US eagle and concomitant coat of arms emblazoned in gold at its top, which read, in relevant part, “The United States of America honors the memory of” my late father “in recognition” of his “devoted and selfless consecration to the service of our country in the Armed Forces of the United States.” It was signed by the current President of the United States.

As I stared blankly down at the awarded certificate and thought of my deceased father, the tears swelled and streamed down my face and I wondered how many thousands of sons and daughters of US armed forces Black American veterans had received such certificates honoring their fathers or mothers. I thought of the pain, futility and the utter horror of combat and of war for the masses of people. And then, like a lightning bolt, the thought struck me that some in this nation are actually seriously considering the candidacy of Barack Obama to be President of the United States and concomitantly Commander-In-Chief of its potent Armed Forces.

This is a man who has enjoyed the fruits of America at the blood and expense of Black Americans and others, but who has paid virtually no dues.

This is a man whose father had also enjoyed the fruits of university schooling in America but subsequently returned to his native Kenya.

This is a man, who also like his father before him, neither served in a branch of the US military nor in any organization in America opposed to US military adventurism.

This is a man who as a deeply corporate military industrial complex US Presidential candidate, has called for “unilateral” US military actions in other nations. [And why not? After-all, his father, himself, or his wife and children were not and will not be the ones killing and being killed.]

This is a man who, in Chicago, pretended to support the human rights of the Palestinian people but who is now known to be a huge supporter of the apartheid Zionists and their powerful and insidious political lobby in America.

This is a man who dares opportunistically to feign admiration for the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., but does not share the collective memory, pain and deep concerns of Black America, other people of color, or even of numerous white Americans for that matter – in the ongoing struggle for equality and justice in this nation.

This is a man who has de facto contempt for the past supreme sacrifices made by thousands of activists from so-called “militant” organizations such the Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU), the Student National Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the Black Panther Party (BPP), Students For A Democratic Society (SDS), the American Indian Movement (AIM), the Revolutionary Action Movement (RAM), etc.

This is a man who is silent about the need for reparations for Black American descendants of slaves and the genocide of the indigenous so-called “Indian” peoples on this continent. He is the consummate opportunist who, in reality, cares nothing about the horrors inflicted upon Black, Brown, and Red peoples in this nation, and has repeatedly signaled that he plans to inflict even more “unilateral” military horrors upon various nations and peoples of the world.

This man, Barack Obama, is but a more articulate, younger, and shinier version of the current and infamous US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, adorning himself dangerously and abundantly in superficiality and double-speak.

Times are perilous and how deeply I fear for my Black, Brown, and Red sisters and brothers. Indeed, how I fear for America as a whole, and the peoples of the world. It would seem that the US imperialists of the corporate and military elite may have at last found a black face. Unfortunately, for the moment at least, some of the American people might very well be blinded by the lightness of this black face, until such time as the horrors really begin to sink in. But will it be too late then?

Unlike Barack Obama’s father, we Black Americans did not come to this land by choice, nor do we as a people enjoy white skinned color privilege as did Barack Obama’s mother. Thus, it would be the height of insanity to believe, in any way, that Barack Obama himself, by virtue of his ethnic background, genuinely relates to, cares about, or even understands the complex social, economic, and political challenges faced by Black or White Americans, much less those faced by Brown and Red peoples in this nation and around the world. He has no collective memory of the whips, chains, and lynching nooses as do we Black Americans. This is why he can so easily call for “unilateral” US military action in other people’s nations while simultaneously and hypocritically mimicking and invoking the legacy of the brutally slain Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who would have been horrified at such a notion. This kind of Obama insanity is immensely dangerous to all Americans be we Black, Brown, Red, Yellow, or White; it is a real threat to peoples of the entire planet. It is horrifying to imagine what Barack Obama would do as Commander-In-Chief of the US Armed Forces, with or without Congressional approval, and the support of the elite of the corporate military/industrial complex.

Moreover, since Barack Obama has no qualms about “unilaterally” militarily attacking other nations, there is absolutely no reason to believe that he would be self-constrained from ordering that Black, Brown, and Red peoples right here inside of the US be viciously attacked via “police actions;” and quite frankly, lots of white Americans themselves might not be that far behind from being sacrificed, especially if they dare to try and get in the way of Mr. Corporate – “unilaterally” attack them – Barack Obama. Remember: What goes around comes around. I am reminded of the lyrics to the old song, “Smiling Faces Sometimes” by the group Undisputed Truth, and the maddening old song, “Won’t Get Fooled Again” by the group The Who. The question still is: Will we be “fooled again” in America, this time by a “smiling face” of color? The stakes are incredibly high.

We Black Americans have often and generally been so physically and emotionally brutalized in this nation that we sometimes vicariously tie up our hopes and dreams with others who appear to have somehow accomplished that which we ourselves have not, due to systemic economic, social, and political oppression. This is a fact that has not escaped the attention of Barack Obama and his political advisors/handlers from the corporate military/industrial complex. Thus, his game is simple: Play on the unfulfilled hopes, dreams, and needs of Black people. Sell the people a pipe dream in order to attain your own personal goals. This is what I refer to as political pimping, and this is precisely what Barack Obama and his advisors/handlers are doing, not only to Black America, but to the nation as a whole. Through the use of double-speak, Barack Obama keeps the people from seeing who and what he really is. No friend of Black and disenfranchised people would have, in any manner whatsoever, praised Ronald Reagan. Yet, that is precisely what Barack Obama did: He praised – apartheid “trickle down economics” -Ronald Reagan, who was economically, socially, and politically the enemy of all middle class, poor, and disenfranchised people, including (but not limited to) the unemployed, under-employed, single mothers, and youth. Ronald Reagan caused enormous pain to the masses of Black people. Yet, through the use of double-speak and the consistent support of much of the US corporate “news” media, Barack Obama bamboozled the people and to this day has not been made categorically and seriously to answer for this outrage of praising one of the worst enemies of Black people in the 20th century. Instead of stopping and eliminating the actual “excesses” of the infamous US government sponsored (and ongoing) COINTELPRO activities from “the 1960s and 1970’s” to illegally “frame, discredit, imprison, and murder” Black political activists and others inside the US, Ronald Reagan increased such activities nationally and internationally, including the horrendous and bloody “Iran Contra” debacle. Nevertheless, this is the person who Barack Obama cynically chose to praise! What an insult and smack in the face to Black America, and indeed to all of America and the rest of the world by Barack Obama!

To Barack Obama I repeat the still very relevant and powerful words of Malcolm X: “You have to read the history of slavery to understand this. There were two kinds of Negroes. And the house Negro always looked out for his master. When the field Negroes got too much out of line, he held them back in check. He put them back on the plantation. The house Negro could afford to do that because he lived better than the field Negro. He ate better, and he lived in a better house. He lived right up next to his master…He ate the same food as his master and wore his same clothes. And he could talk just like his master – good diction. And he loved his master more than his master loved himself…He never wanted his master’s property threatened…That was the house Negro.”

Judging from, among other things, how Barack Obama has already sold out the human rights and legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian peoples to corporate Zionism, it stands to reason that he will also sell out Black America, our Brown and Red sisters and brothers, and indeed the whole of the American people, to the corporate and military elite. It’s really just a matter of time, but sooner or later the people will see, and when they do, may heaven help him. Some folks presently may be imprisoned by Barack Obama’s double-speak rhetoric, but as Ho Chi Minh so aptly put it: “When the prison doors are opened then shall the real dragon fly out.”

Times are perilous brothers and sisters. We must use serious and consistent critical thinking. Our very survival is what is at stake now and in the future. If we are going to “keep it real,” and we must do this, it cannot be superficial. It must be the “real thing.” “Ain’t nothin’ like the real thing.” The Democrat and Republican parties are not the real thing for the masses of people and neither is Barack Obama.

Larry Pinkney is a veteran of the Black Panther Party, the former Minister of Interior of the Republic of New Africa, a former political prisoner and the only American to have successfully self-authored his civil/political rights case to the United Nations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. In connection with his political organizing activities, Pinkney was interviewed in 1988 on the nationally televised PBS News Hour, formerly known as The MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour, and more recently on the nationally syndicated Alex Jones Show. Pinkney is a former university instructor of political science and international relations, and his writings have been published in various places, including The Boston Globe, San Francisco BayView newspaper, Black Commentator, Intrepid Report, Global Research (Canada), LINKE ZEITUNG (Germany), 107 Cowgate (Ireland and Scotland), and Mayihlome News (Azania/South Africa). He is in the archives of Dr. Huey P. Newton (Stanford University, CA), cofounder of the Black Panther Party. For more about Larry Pinkney see the book, Saying No to Power: Autobiography of a 20th Century Activist and Thinker, by William Mandel [Introduction by Howard Zinn]. (Click here to read excerpts from the book.)


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