Dr. Cornel West is undaunted by friction. In fact, West knows that friction is a vital element to spur change and convert the ideological reconstruction of an authoritarian government—specifically the U.S. government—into a reality. He condemns President Obama as a “Rockefeller republican with blackface,” implying that Obama has always been bedfellows with wealthy powermongers, and that, in a political sense, our “ambassador of change” is a black fraud. The famous vaudeville jazz performer Al Jolson, a 1930’s white performer who applied theatrical make-up to portray a black man for the amusement of white audiences—hence “blackface”—was, like Obama of our day, a white man disguised as a black man disguised as a jazz singer (or a competent political leader in this context).
West holds that Obama has not only failed to survey indigent society with a microscope of “hope” as promised, but that he has also duped minorities—including those of his own “ethnicity”—into thinking he walks among them. In reality, Obama could not be farther removed, and seems to place more attention on chilling effects like spying and war crimes involving murder by drone.
West promotes a call to action, a desperate need and responsibility for Americans to respond to reckless tyranny and unethical behaviors transpiring before us. He calls for highbrow journalists to lead the media as audacious individuals, unopposed to ruffling feathers and stoic in exposing the guttural atrocities our government supports. West embraces the notion that sacrifice—perhaps even the sacrifice of American lives against an over-empowered government—will prove critical as a pry bar against the shuttered eyelids of the fearful and transform a nation of nations controlled by that fear into a land—as Mr. Abe Lincoln would have it—truly of the people, by the people and for the people.
Atone for Drones
In an era where just about any item of legality can be purchased on Amazon.com with one-click shopping, so does it stand in the grasp of our commander in chief, who can make an impulse buy on drone-controlled assassinations (nearly always with collateral damage), or two, or three, or…. The questions in queue aimed at the Chief include: is this practice even justified, is it within the parameters of the Geneva Convention, and, if not, what loophole are these drones flying through? All these questions are of equal worth; but I believe the ethical question of the drone missions should reflect a simpler theme: are these actions humane? After all, the word humane is derived from human. So how is Obama deserving of the distinction as a human if he cannot make humane decisions?
Wright and Wrong
As Dr. Cornel West maintains a zoomed-in view of the particulars concerning the growing culture of fear within America, and the instigators behind this phenomenon, Rev. Jeremiah Wright paints a bigger picture to conceive—all the while adhering to Biblical scriptures and general history. His sermons are highly relatable to current affairs, and anyone, regardless of spirituality, can expect to consider the validity of his statements. Wright does not tread lightly into “uncomfortable” waters, and, like West, understands that only through bold, ethically-sound actions will change be actualized in the hearts and minds of the American people.
Post 9-11, Wright became a target for the media when they piecemealed one of his sermons into looping sound bites repeatedly broadcasted on television, radio and the internet. This media-prompted discrediting maneuver is a prime example of an injustice that disorientates public view by taking advantage of “conscious-shocking” material and manipulating it into something altogether different.
Wright reminds us that governments have failed throughout history—the Romans, Russians, Germans and Japanese to name a few—and contends that the current U.S. international policy is like a ricochet from the smoking gun of 16-19th century British imperialism (“the sun never sets on the United States’ Empire”). Wright reminds us that, in an ethical sense, the U.S. government has already failed, with the slayings and residual confinement of indigenous natives, the cruelty inflicted on slaves, and the continued inequality entrenched in government and caste systems (the criminal justice system and hierarchy of “class” being the heavyweight culprits of current dysfunction).
Wright’s proposed solutions for the rehabilitation of our country extend beyond the government, but nonetheless must be supported by it in order to succeed: from educating Americans at the elementary school level with the truth of all matters regarding our history and ethics, to expanding the prison ministry, reinventing release programs and moral supervision of basic criminal “fairness” (because “justice” isn’t cutting it). Wright foremost stresses, however, that reconciliation must occur in American before anything else. We may then embrace our cultures without superiority, accrue humbleness, and believe and act on the concept that we are all God’s children.
Perhaps you’ve seen the bumper sticker or heard the phrase “kill your television;” combine this with “don’t trust the media” and chalk it up as a step in the right direction. A running theme within both Dr. West and Rev. Wright’s outlooks is the problematic media that truly influences, persuades and distorts; it’s not a far-flung theory considering that the average household television is on for seven hours a day. But how many Americans actually trust politicians, or even the government for that matter. So why trust what we see on and hear on the news? The purpose of journalists, reporters and correspondents is to uncover truths and realities—not to simply repeat political feedback. Most of the major media broadcasters can be likened to archeologists that find a dig site but don’t dig. This is shameful. We must wipeout our current popular media pushovers and start over, with a new mission to protect individual rights, equality, and freedom of speech—the basic rights Americans have been afforded but are not defending. The media must expose what needs to be, without influence of the government or wealthy powerhouses of manipulative finaglers.
In 2010, President Calderon mandated renewal within Mexico’s ever corrupt federal police system. The housecleaning resulted in 3,200 officers being fired and put a chokehold on many of the drug cartels’ activities. Like a fruit tree that becomes infested with an invasive species, it is always in the best interest of the orchard to remove the diseased tree and replant. Likewise, the media should be cultivated to the tune of the people—as a living, breathing investigatory force to be reckoned with, keeping governmental antics in check and our amendments castled.