Why do Social Democrats do what they do?

October 06, 2009

The US Media and the Gravitas of Obama Agonistes, by Andrew Taylor, Oct 06, 09





















Dear Diary: The US networks are covering the anti-Afghan demo in front of the Whitehouse! This is extraordinary for a protest of only a couple hundred. A signal that The US Ruling Class is divided on what to do. And a sure sign that the Media want to deliver the message that a grave, sober, advised decision is being "calibrated" by the president and his cabinet. The Cable Networks are also gravely and reverently narrating footage of the most recent US soldiers as they are returned to the US soil in flag-draped caskets. A thing unheard of in the days of Bush...CNN displays the title "THE ULTIMATE SACRIFICE" while the tape plays. Surely a momentous presidential "calibration" is being framed.

Who can fault or question such a calibrated judicious decision? The art and optics Obama and his team have put into cultivating the Abraham Lincoln aura around his personality becomes transparent. Obama calibrating upon Afghanistan evokes Lincoln on the terrible necessity of The War Sacrifice made in conflict the renegade South, Christ weighing the cost of his oblation of himself in the Garden of Gethsemane.

The imperialist war against Afghanistan and its crimes of war becomes as nothing in the shadow of this mythological signifier. The 2 million souls Obama caused to flee in The Pakistan Swat Valley by his war diktat are forgotten. For Americans are made to remember always that the president suffers for them: they are invited to feed on this knowledge with thanksgiving. Did he not travel to DC if not on a foal, the colt of a donkey, still tracing Lincoln's pilgrim path?

The mythological veil is pulled back: the US president by virtue of his sacred office suffers for us all and in his ruminations, his "calibrations" as is said, gather the cares which furrow the brow, and the years that ravage a man's youth! The Holy Thursday hymn comes to mind:

Go to dark Gethsemane, ye that feel the tempter’s power;
Your Redeemer’s conflict see, watch with Him one bitter hour

How can any schooled, aculturated American remain without the compelling solidarity which the American myth creates among its citizens ? This is a "cultural contradiction" of imperialism that matters.

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PS Obama has just given a pep-talk on American values and the common terrorist enemy at The National Anti-Terrorism Centre. One notices how in his rhetoric about grave values the terrorists actions of yesterday become a unifying force for the American political mythology...Or so he must hope. That is the way he pitches it...



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