Spike Lee hasn’t been a fan of everything that Barack Obama has done, but like many who supported him in 2008, he has come around. In fact, he lays some of the blame on his own unrealistic expectations. When asked by CNN’s Don Lemon if his expectations were too high, he said (from Mediaite),
“Oh, yeah. He was the savior, black Jesus.”
“I don’t care who it was,” he continued. “Expectations were way too high for what somebody can deliver, knowing how politics works and knowing that you have to deal with the Congress.” Lee then went on to criticize the Republican-led House as solidified in “Whatever you do, we’re blocking it. Every breath we take, we’re going to do what we can that you don’t get a second term. Bottom line. If it hurts America in the process, tough business.”
“The man’s not perfect,” Lee said when asked whether Obama has lived up to his promises. “Who’s perfect? My wife and I had a fundraiser at our house, we raised over a billion (million) dollars for him. I’m going to do what I can to help that he gets a second term in office.”
Sometimes (okay, more than sometimes) I find myself missing the energy that we had in 2008. Barack Obama was exciting. Not only was he the first African-American major party nominee for President, he was brilliant, handsome, charismatic and seemed like a genuinely nice guy. His candidacy was revolutionary and naturally, we expected that his presidency would be the same.
Some of us found ourselves blinded by our fantasies. He looked, sounded and acted like the anti-Bush. Our country was in the worst state that most of us have seen in our lifetimes. We desperately needed the anti-Bush to pull us out of the hole that had been dug by not just eight years of Bush/Cheney policies, but by 30 years of Reagan policies.
We didn’t listen very well, though. His words, while being many degrees from the extremes of his predecessor, were still pretty moderate. Despite what many in the Republican party tell us, our country isn’t yet post-racial enough to elect a truly radical African-American leader. In order for an African-American to achieve success in this country, at least outside of the entertainment industry, he still needs to conform to certain societal norms, long established by the White power structure.
While we did elect a new kind of President, we elected a very old kind of Congress. We did hold the majority in both houses of Congress for two years, but while Nancy Pelosi was rocking the House, the Senate was being held hostage by the tyranny of the minority due to the lack of a filibuster proof majority. And don’t forget the Supreme Court. In 2010, they gave corporations unprecedented power over our electoral system. Then, in 2010, came the Tea Party Congress.
Despite the fact that every branch of government is so deeply embedded in the pockets of corporations that they can feel their privates; despite the fact that one of the three branches of government has pledged just one thing, the failure of the Obama administration; despite the fact that the third branch of government, the one that is supposed to practice judicial restraint, has become a corporate political tool, Obama has still accomplished amazing feats and the list keeps growing.
Lee is right. The President isn’t perfect. He’s human. He has tried too hard to be liked. His approach to governing tends to involve pens more than sledge hammers. But compared to his alternative, he’s still a savior. Obama might not be moving us fast enough in the direction we want, but Romney will move us backwards, not to the 50s, like many people predict, but to the Gilded Age; to a time when if you weren’t very rich, you were very poor. It was a time when human rights were almost non-existent. If you weren’t white and male, you were a second class citizen. If you were gay, well, you were in the closet.
Like Spike Lee, you might be somewhat disillusioned. You might even think you are choosing from the lesser of two evils, but nothing could be further from the truth. Barack Obama is a flawed but well-intentioned man who truly believes that all people are equal, even the poor. Mitt Romney himself is likely not personally evil, but his goals are. As part of an oligarchy, he has one simple agenda, and that is to make sure that the wealth of the country stays in the hands of his genre while dooming us to a life of servitude. If he has to convince to wage war on each other (White against Black and Brown, women against men, straight against LGBT, religious against non-religious, etc.), that’s fine by him. He’ll be protected surrounded by his mansions and body guards.