The Emancipation Memorial in Lincoln Park in Washington, D.C., portrays President Abraham Lincoln, holding his Emancipation Proclamation, with a freshly freed slave at his feet. The statue was erected in 1876 — and certainly is a product of its time.
We have bigger fish to fry than to worry about our public statues, I hear you whine.
You probably maybe are right. COVID-19 continues to ravage the nation because we are a nation of adolescents and thus couldn’t remain locked down for even three full months and so we reopened way prematurely, just collectively pretending that it was all clear; unemployment due to the novel coronavirus pandemic remains a huge problem; the cops, most of them white, keep killing black Americans (men, mostly) when a non- or less-lethal response was possible; and our long-standing problems, such as climate change, insane income inequality and the over-militarization of our nation, of course remain untouched under the “leadership” of the unelected and thus illegitimate “President” Pussygrabber.
But statues are part of the American culture, and it’s not only that Americans create the national culture, but that the national culture also forms Americans.
Generally speaking, a public statue is erected because someone and/or some event is not only to be commemorated, but is to be venerated. Most statues are not, of course, neutral, but are statements of that society’s highest values.
Therefore, it’s entirely appropriate that all public commemorations of the fucking Confederacy, including statues, be removed from public view. Treason, white-supremacist racism and slavery are not to be venerated.
I don’t maintain that all of the offensive and oppressive statues have to be destroyed, but they should be removed from public view. I’m OK with them being warehoused or placed in museums if they’re part of the history that the museum is telling.
But they don’t belong in the public square. All of us have the right to be out and about in public without our senses, our psyches and our souls being assaulted by symbols of tyranny, ignorance and hatred.
Abraham Lincoln, my favorite president, of course never owned a slave, but then again, he also grew up in poverty, and I’d like to think that he’d never have been a slave holder even if he had grown up in wealth and if his formative years had been spent in a slave state instead of mostly in Indiana and Illinois. (He was born in Kentucky, but his family moved to Indiana when he was a young boy and then to Illinois when he was a young man.)
Still, looking at Lincoln’s presidency, I think that on balance, given the steep challenges that faced him and how he fared with them, he is the best president that we’ve had.
(For the most part I agree with Wikipedia’s rather glowing assessment of Lincoln that he “led the nation through its greatest moral, constitutional, and political crisis in the American Civil War. He preserved the Union, abolished slavery, strengthened the federal government, and modernized the U.S. economy.”)
First and foremost, it portrays a white man as the slaves’ savior. Apparently, the white man never can lose; even though he enslaved abducted Africans in the first fucking place, he is to get kudos, too, for finally having set them free. Just: No.
I have a black co-worker who once blithely opined that Barack Obama was a great president because, among other things, she claimed, he “gave us gay marriage.”
Those equal human rights already always were there; they were just being denied to us LGBT individuals by an oppressive, heterosexist majority. Ditto for the slaves, of course: Their right to be free always had existed; it was just being denied to them by the tyrannical white majority.
In Obergefell vs. Hodges, the Supreme Court simply acknowledged where the majority of the American people already were — that it was past the time to stop shitting and pissing upon LGBT individuals — and codified it.
Ditto in the case of Abraham Lincoln. Many, many others, obviously blacks as well as whites (and others), fought for — and died for — the abolition of slavery. That fight culminated in the Emancipation Proclamation, but to act as though the Emancipation Proclamation came out of thin air — or even from one person — is to ignore blatantly the actual history.
The statue at the Emancipation Memorial keeps the white man above the black man — figuratively as well as literally. The spirit of it is that the white man freed the black man — as though an act of nature, instead of white people, had created slavery — and the shadow aspect of that is that because the white man retains the upper hand over the black man, he could reverse himself and reinstitute the slavery of the black man at any time.
The highest that “President” Pussygrabber ever garnered in Gallup’s regular presidential-approval polling was 46 percent — a high that he hit shortly after his inauguration and that he never matched again.
In December, Vox.com reported that Pussygrabber’s December approval rating in the mid-30s was the worst presidential approval rating at that point in a president’s administration since long before I was born:
(Keep in mind that Gee Dubya’s December 2001 approval rating was so high only because of the events of Sept. 11, 2001. Americans rallied behind him because they were scared and because they wanted revenge for 9/11.)
I might be more fearful of Pussygrabber’s fascism if his level of popular support weren’t so low. I don’t see Pussygrabber becoming Hitler 2.0 when he is lucky to hit even 40 percent in a nationwide approval poll (in no small part because Pussygrabber is an incredibly bumbling Hitler wannabe).
That said, this nation has serious problems and we couldn’t afford yet another lost year, but that’s what 2017 was, and the only thing that will prevent 2018 from being even yet another lost year entirely is numerous electoral victories this coming November; minimally, we need to take back the U.S. House of Representatives.
Finally, as it’s President’s Day, it’s appropriate to note that the 2018 Presidents and Executive Politics Presidential Greatness Survey (a survey “based on responses from 170 current and recent members of the Presidents and Executive Politics section of the American Political Science Association,” per Politico), which appropriately was released today, lists “President” Pussygrabber dead last among all 44 presidents.***
The “presidential greatness” survey puts Abraham Lincoln at No. 1, George Washington at No. 2, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt at No. 3. (I put Lincoln and FDR in the top three, to be sure, but I’m not sure on Washington; I have the feeling that it largely if not mostly was because he was the first president that he’s so well-regarded.)
In case you were wondering, Barack Obama came in at No. 8 in the survey; he skyrocketed 10 points since the survey was done last, in 2014, when he came in at No. 18. He now sits at one spot above Ronald Reagan, who is at No. 9. (That’s gotta hurt the wingnuts…)
I long have surmised that because Obama was sandwiched between the two worst “presidents” of my lifetime (neither of whom even won the fucking popular vote), Obama, by comparison, would look significantly better than he actually was, at least in the short term.
We’ll see how Obama is regarded in the long term (my prediction is that he’ll drop in the presidential rankings over the coming many years), and yes, to be fair, Pussygrabber has had only one full year in office on which to be evaluated, but no sane person could believe that it’s going to get any significantly better.
Despite his shortcomings, however, Obama at least won the popular vote in 2008 and in 2012. George W. Bush lost it in 2000 and thus could not legitimately have been “re”-elected in 2004, and, of course, “President” Pussygrabber lost the popular vote — bigly — in 2016, and therefore he could not legitimately be “re”-elected either, since he never legitimately was elected in the first place (even all of that help from Russia aside).
Compared to Pussygrabber, Obama indeed was the second coming of Abraham Lincoln, as he pretty much had portrayed himself to be when he announced his 2008 campaign for president in Springfield, Ill.
It seems to me that the view of Obama having been a great president comes at least as much from how abysmally bad Pussygrabber has been as it comes from whatever actual greatness Obama as president possessed.
**My best guess is that Pussygrabber will decline to run for “re”-election (especially if impeachment actually looks possible right around that time).
I surmise that Pussygrabber had thought that the office would bring him much more adulation than it actually has, and also, I surmise that because he was quite used to being the infallible, unchallengeable boy-emperor of The Trump Organization, he has been deeply disappointed that he couldn’t simply replicate that model as “president” of the United States.
Why serve in heaven when you can reign in hell? Again, I’d be surprised if Pussygrabber truly even wanted a second term.
***Grover Cleveland was president twice in non-consecutive terms. So there have been a total of 45 presidential terms, but a total of 44 individuals have been president.
(No, “President” Pussygrabber is not included in the presidential rankings, since his “presidency,” unfortunately, isn’t over yet, and one president, Glover Cleveland, was president twice, and so usually is called the 22nd and the 24th president, but, of course, up to and including Obama, only 43 men have been U.S. president. [And yes, we need that streak of men to stop, but no, Repugnican Lite Billary Clinton wasn’t the woman to break that streak.])
So, which 16 past presidents are ranked above Obama? They are, in this order: Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, George Washington, Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson, Harry S. Truman, Woodrow Wilson, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Andrew Jackson, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Lyndon B. Johnson, James Madison, John Adams, James K. Polk and James Monroe.
(I agree with the top two, anyway, and no, I wouldn’t have Reagan in there, and Jackson, Pussygrabber’s idol, was a prick who caused harm to many, many people, too.)
And the five ranked below Obama, to round out the top half of all of the past presidents, are Bill Clinton, William McKinley, Cleveland, John Quincy Adams and George H.W. Bush. (George W. Bush, in case you were wondering, ranks at No. 36, which is too high, in my book. [And again, Pussygrabber isn’t ranked because it’s too early.])
So Obama ranks in the top half, which is better than ranking in the bottom half, but still, historians and political scientists overall give him a fairly middling ranking, at toward the bottom of the top half.
What has benefited Obama the most, methinks, is that he was sandwiched between two of our worst presidents ever, Gee Dubya and Pussygrabber.
But historians and political scientists, taking a longer view and a more dispassionate view than most of us commoners do, rightfully don’t rank Obama up there with Lincoln, and I surmise that as the years pass, Obama’s ranking won’t improve, but probably will drop, although probably not dramatically; I suspect that he’s at No. 17 in large part because his presidency is still so fresh and because even academics, being human beings, can’t help but to some degree compare him to Gee Dubya and to Pussygrabber.
I don’t allege that Obama was a bad president, just that he wasn’t a great one. He was, as I have noted before, a caretaker in chief more than he was anything else. With Obama it was refreshing to have a president actually win the popular vote — twice — and while Obama committed no huge blunder like Gee Dubya started the illegal, immoral, unjust and unprovoked Vietraq War (after he apparently had just allowed 9/11 to happen), just allowed Hurricane Katrina to kill almost 2,000 Americans, and tanked the U.S. economy, Obama had had a shitload of political capital at his disposal when he first took office in 2009, and he squandered it on “Obamacare,” which requires Americans to buy for-profit “health-care” insurance, which has been called “progressive.”
Another FDR Barack Obama was not. Let’s get that historical fact straight.
But the widespread but incorrect belief that Obama was a great president apparently has given rise to the widespread — if (mostly) publicly unspoken — belief that the next Democratic president must be black, too.
(And, I further surmise, Gee Dubya and Pussygrabber have given the widespread impression among many of those who call themselves Democrats that all white presidents are bad, and therefore, we never should have another one. This is incorrect thinking that is blinded by recent history [as well as by anti-white sentiment], and it lacks historical perspective.)
If Politico’s report is true, it’s proof that the Democratic Party establishment has learned nothing — no thing: It’s A-OK to front a total corporate whore as the next Democratic Party presidential candidate, as long as this corporate whore isn’t a white man, because the Democratic Party establishment still wants to play identity politics as cover for the fact that it still wants to lick corporate and plutocratic ass while still calling itself “populist.”
Here is my deal: I won’t support another corporate whore. I refused to support corporate whore Billary Clinton. I refused to vote for Obama a second time after it was clear from his first term that, whether we fairly can call him a corporate whore or not (we probably can), he had had no intention of enacting a boldly progressive agenda. (Yes, I’m old-fashioned; I believe in actually holding an elected official to his or her fucking campaign promises.)
I don’t give a flying fuck that, very predictably, the selfish, narrow-minded, black-supremacist Only Black Lives Matter crowd will call those of us who won’t support a black corporate whore like Cory Booker or Deval Patrick “racist.”
I don’t give a flying fuck about that any more than I did about the sellout Billarybots calling us men who have supported Bernie Sanders because he was the only real Democrat in the race for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination “sexist” and “misogynist.”
Such lame identity-politics terrorism doesn’t work on me; instead, it makes me support my chosen actually progressive candidate only even more so; it only strengthens my resolve to work against the sellouts and craven identity politicians who call themselves “Democrats.”
That and, unlike the mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging Pussygrabber supporters, I know how to vote in my own best fucking interests, and supporting just another corporate whore who calls himself or herself a “Democrat” while furiously sucking corporate cock is not in my own best fucking interests.
Of the top three potential black Democratic/“Democratic” presidential candidates widely spoken about thus far for 2020, U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris of my state of California is the one I can support the most, but she just became a U.S. senator in January, for fuck’s sake.
I’m not at all yet sold on Harris being presidential material. It was a big mistake to put Obama in the White House after he had been in the U.S. Senate for only four years, not even a full Senate term — Obama pretty much ran only on his gauzy and ubiquitous (and, ultimately, bullshit) campaign promises of “hope” and “change” — and it would be a mistake to do the same with Harris.
For 2020 I’m still supporting either Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren, should one of the two of them run. Why? No, not because they are white and I am white, but because they are the least beholden to corporate interests and are the most progressive.
If both of them were to run, it would be a shitty choice to have to make since I respect and admire both of them, but, as I have noted, Bernie’s nationwide approval ratings long have been significantly higher than have Warren’s, and I still surmise that while Billary did not face actual sexism and misogyny — Americans just fucking hate her because she’s a despicable “human being,” regardless of her sex (indeed, in general she still polls no better than does Pussygrabber) — Warren would face actual sexism and misogyny, I surmise.
No, I don’t want to give in to the sexists and misogynists, but I also want to deny Pussygrabber a second term, and overall, Bernie Sanders to me appears to be better able to do that than does Warren, who would, I think, be depicted (probably successfully) as another Michael Dukakis (and thus probably would go the way of Dukakis).
And that’s because although the “Democratic” sellouts say that Bernie isn’t even a Democrat, ironically, he is so popular because he is a real Democrat — one of only a few real Democrats in D.C.
Really, I need say no more.
P.S. You know that I can’t shut up, though.
One (probably) final thought: Yes, undoubtedly, Obama had the style of being U.S. president down pat, but he woefully lacked substance. His was a rather hollow presidency. And he wasn’t playing the U.S. president on TV; he was the actual president, and we sorely needed more than style from him, especially after what Gee Dubya (“w” for “wrecking ball”) had done to the nation.
True, Pussygrabber woefully lacks both style and substance, but is a chaotic, incoherent colossal mess, and even Gee Dubya, compared to Pussygrabber, had the style thing down a lot better.
But for me, substance is going to win out over style every time, and I’d love a president with some fucking substance for once.
That wouldn’t be a President Patrick, a President Booker or, probably, a President Harris, who as California’s attorney general was competent enough but who safely went along the established Democratic Party lines and never did anything especially courageous that I can think of.
The world of finance! There’s nothing inherently wrong with it. People need banks so they can buy houses and cars, and need to invest their money for retirement and whatnot. Some of my closest friends work in finance, and I enjoy being invited to their beautiful country homes, where I drink their pink lemonade and lounge on their fine divans.
And yet … do I think that any of these friends of mine should run for president in 2020 on the ticket of America’s liberal party during an era of unprecedented wealth inequality and consolidated corporate power?
No! And neither should Deval Patrick, the ex–Massachusetts governor who now works for Bain Capital and is for some reason the subject of a Tuesday Politico story with this headline: “Obama’s Inner Circle Is Urging Deval Patrick to Run.”
You may remember Bain Capital as the private-equity company co-founded by Mitt Romney — as in, the Mitt Romney who Barack Obama (a Democrat) effectively attacked for enriching himself through mass layoffs during a 2012 election that many “Obama insiders” should have at least a passing familiarity with.
As it happens, many Obama voters — including those in, to name three states at random, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan — would go on to vote four years later not for the Democratic candidate whose insider connections and high-priced speeches to Goldman Sachs became a major campaign issue, but for the Republican candidate who made repeated and energetic (albeit totally dishonest) promises to stick it to the rich and powerful.
Apparently Obama insiders do not have a passing familiarity with that election, but it was bad. It was a problem.
This is not merely a matter of “optics” or electoral strategy, though. It’s also a matter of principle. Individuals whose main day-in, day-out concern is the well-being of financial service executives and corporate shareholders naturally tend to advocate policy goals friendly to the interests of financial services executives and corporate shareholders.
Those interests sometimes, but do not always, overlap with the interests of potential Democratic voters, as this comparison of corporate profits to inflation-adjusted household income during the 21st century indicates:
Corporate profits: way up! Income for normal people: eh.
Is a finance executive who conducted his Politico interview at “Bain headquarters in Boston” really the ideal messenger for this sales pitch?
The Politico article acknowledges this practical reality, sort of, writing that “Bernie Sanderized Democrats … are suspicious of finance types to begin with, and were taught by Obama’s 2012 brutal campaign attacks on Mitt Romney to think of Bain as a curse word.” (Again, though, the group that swung the 2016 election was not “Bernie-addled coastal leftist elites,” it was former Obama voters in the Midwest.)
The piece then suggests that Democratic voters in 2020 might rally around the idea of “taking on Trump’s management shortcomings” and “calling for a different way of merging government and business experience.”
And, well, I suppose anything can happen in three years, but if the 2020 Democratic primary turns on an angry base’s passionate demand for “a different way of merging government and business experience,” I will eat a hard copy of the Mitt Romney “47 percent” video. …
Indeed, Billary’s ties to the weasels of Wall Street hurt her more than the Billarybots ever will admit. I just ordered OR Books’ copy of this* —
Judging by the stance of the leadership of the Democratic Party and much of the media, Hillary Clinton’s devastating loss in the presidential election of November 2016 was all the fault of pernicious Russian leaks, unwarranted FBI investigations and a skewed electoral college.
Rarely blamed was the party’s decision to run a deeply unpopular candidate on an uninspiring platform.
At a time of widespread dissatisfaction with business-as-usual politics, the Democrats chose to field a quintessential insider. Her campaign dwelt little on policies, focusing overwhelmingly on the personality of her opponent.
That this strategy was a failure is an understatement. Losing an election to someone with as little competence or support from his own party as Donald Trump marked an extraordinary fiasco.
The refusal of the Democratic leadership to identify the real reasons for their defeat is not just a problem of history. If Democrats persevere with a politics that prioritizes well-off professionals rather than ordinary Americans, they will leave the field open to right-wing populism for many years to come. [Emphasis mine.]
Drawing on the WikiLeaks releases of Clinton’s talks at Goldman Sachs and the e-mails of her campaign chief John Podesta, as well as key passages from her public speeches, How I Lost By Hillary Clinton also includes extensive commentary by award-winning journalist Joe Lauria, and a foreword by Julian Assange, editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks.
It provides, in the words of the Democratic candidate and her close associates, a riveting, unsparing picture of the disastrous campaign that delivered America to President Trump, and a stark warning of a mistake that must not be repeated.
Fully expect the Democratic Party establishment to try to repeat that mistake, however. It’s up to us to stop them.