Monday, November 10, 2008

The Branching of the Road by Eric Francis

Eric Francis, over at PlanetWaves. has written his first commentary on Obama's victory, The Branching of the Road . I encourage you to read the whole article, and also to check out his astrology site that I've linked to above. There are horoscropes for this week listed at the bottom of the article I've linked to. Here are some excerpts:

"Barack Obama means many things to many people, and I want to first give a voice to the anger and suspicion... "

"We all know what was done to the Africans when they were "purchased" and taken as slaves to this country. We all know that there has been no recompense, no apology, little authentic acknowledgement, and that in some places, life is no better than it was 100 or 150 years ago. Those who believe that white people should be perpetually in power are afraid that if and when the anger they suppose African-Americans feel is released and the tables are turned, they will be the ones getting lynched. This may seem like an overstatement; I contend that if anything, I'm understating the situation because of how insidious the problem is."

"To African-Americans, I think the message here is too profound and subtle, and to some, too stunning to even summarize. We live in a country where there are more than two million black men in prison."

"As of 2003, about 10.4% of the entire African-American male population in the United States aged 25 to 29 was incarcerated. We live in a country where being black means you might get executed for something for which a white person gets paroled or acquitted. Obama winning the presidency on a groundswell not just of public support but of authentic love of the people is proof that anything is possible, and maybe we're not all a bunch of seething racists."

"It is true, as my friend Tracy pointed out and as everyone who has worked in politics knows, that your candidate sometimes disappoints you. She noted that for the UK, Tony Blair represented the end of the Margaret Thatcher/John Major era of history, and people were elated that the left finally got a voice."

"Then Mr. Blair turned out to be more interested in playing Little Big Man than leader of a nation, selling out wholesale to Cheney/Bush and the Neocon movement. He supported the Iraq war, knowing it was a fraud; knowing that the alleged British intelligence about that yellowcake uranium was forged; knowing he was playing along. France, which did not support the war (remember "freedom fries?") and spent years ridiculing Bush and the stupidity of Americans for allowing him to be their leader, elected Nicolas Sarkozy, Bush's clone and Dick Cheney's disciple, to be its president."

"Politics is often a disappointing game, run by the greedy, inflicted on the ignorant and too often born of lies and unstated agendas. Few people on our level are willing to do more than vote, if that. Times are changing. There are now millions of people obsessed with following alternative news websites, and who know there are many viewpoints; there are millions who blog, which means writing about something expecting an audience; there are tens of millions who forward articles and videos to their friends."

"...I believe that Barack Obama won the presidency based on two factors. The first was the Internet, which functioned as the immune system of the media....I don't think anybody missed Katie Couric's interview with Sarah Palin, but many would have missed it in 2004 or 2000. Dan Quayle, the Palinesque vice presidential candidate under Bush the First, would not have survived YouTube. Nobody missed Tina Fey's brilliant satires;..."

"The second entity we have to thank is Sarah Palin and whoever put her there. What began as one of the most cynical gestures in American politics -- baiting the public with a manipulative, ignorant, anti-choice woman who threw her daughter under a bus the first day she was put on the ticket -- backfired brilliantly. When a presidential candidate mentions that his running mate is qualified in part because she served on the PTA, that is just ridiculous, and we all saw it with our own eyes. It's shocking that nearly half the country voted for her, but as Brian Mahoney, my editor at Chronogram said to me on election night, "That's the country you live in. Welcome home."

"WE DON'T KNOW exactly what an Obama presidency is going to bring, because the world is on the brink of such enormous changes, and in part because you never really know in advance. We also know that we have to participate in those changes, and influence the outcome of events, just as we have the past few months..."

..."We know that we have to become the change we want, and that is much more difficult than electing a president."

"I can tell you this. Americans are a traumatized people: traumatized by fear, though many of us are smothered in privilege that insulates us, for most of the day, from our uncertainty, pain and sense of loss. We are traumatized by what we have witnessed and what we have been compelled to participate in and approve, which is injury both karmic and emotional. We are traumatized by being lied to endlessly, and conditioned to believe those lies..."

"...Let's look back just 10 years. I believe the Cheney-Bush regime begins with the impeachment of Bill Clinton, which only worked because sex is the one remaining offensive subject to numerous Americans (sex doesn't sell, guilt does) -- and then we ended up with nearly a decade of ongoing war. We are traumatized by what was created by numerous lies and done in our name, including millions killed, injured, displaced and grieving in Iraq. We are traumatized by the loss of our servicemen and women, our spouses and siblings and neighbors, including untold thousands who have returned with brain damage and/or psychologically shattered. We are traumatized by knowing how our vets are treated when they come home."

"...That was turned into two wars, one of which came with the prisoner torture and sexual abuse scandal at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. American servicemen and women, acting in the name of the American people, paid for with our tax dollars, sodomized and tortured numerous Iraqis, grinning and flashing thumbs up."

"I believe that this was done to taunt the Muslim world; and it was done as a form of psychological abuse and desensitization of the people seeing the images. The message was: get used to it, which shuts down our hearts; and the subliminal message was, don't complain, because you could be next."

"For a last example, there was the horribly botched response to hurricanes Katrina and Rita in the summer of 2005. The American government proved, paraphrasing The New York Times, that it is utterly incapable of taking care of its people, and we have lived with that knowledge for years. This includes the disgusting, vicious anti-environmental policies of the Cheney-Bush administration, in a time when everyone knows that we have to take care of the planet and its fragile atmosphere."

"...We have now elected a president that the majority of voters seem to feel, at the very least, is a decent and capable guy. He appears to be all there; there is actual consciousness visible behind his eyes. He is capable of speaking in sentences, of doing basic arithmetic and teaching constitutional law."

"He is young enough to have a vision of the future, and to not be stuck in a militant or war hero mentality. I believe he is qualified for the presidency in part because he was not subjected to having his spirit broken at boot camp and being forced to commit murder. His wife is his intellectual and spiritual equal, presented to us as such. I think for everyone, their young children are an exciting and genuinely welcome presence in the White House. And many of us are chuffed that a black family is moving in."

"...We are people too, and more than we have political work to do, we have personal work to do. We need to be more introspective, and understand why we are so prone to cheering on militancy, greed and ignorance. We need to understand why we're so eager to be lied to. We need to understand why we are so easily manipulated. And we need to assess the many festering psychic wounds of the Cheney-Bush years, so they don't run our lives forever."

"What we have witnessed in these past few months is that finally it became easier to say 'I love' than 'I hate'. To me, that is encouraging. "

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