White Like Them: The Transforming Power of Ambition

Arthur Silber is back, after a lengthy health-related layoff, and as usual, he is firing on all cylinders, with a powerful piece that explains why Obama (and Hillary too) are, well, white men, just like John McCain. As always, Silber's post should be read in full -- along with its many links, which provide an illuminating education in themselves. Do head over there and read the whole thing -- and drop any spare change you might have in the tip jar; Silber's unique insight deserves support. Here are a few choice excerpts to get you going (see the original for the links):

...Let us draw a distinction between the candidates' biological identities and what we might term their functional identities. McCain is a white man; no issue arises there. I am well aware that Hillary Clinton is biologically a woman, as I know that Barack Obama is biracial in hereditary terms. By "functional identity," I refer to the role all these candidates have chosen to play, in cultural and political terms. (Please note that what follows is not intended to mean that Clinton has not been the target of misogyny or that Obama has not been the target of racism. They have both been the targets of viciously irrational beliefs, for it is not a question of either-or on this point.) Because all three of these politicians have chosen to engage in national politics at the highest level, they have no choice about enthusiastically adopting all the indicia of the ruling class, for indeed they are the ruling class...

As I have discussed in detail, there are unquestionably policy differences between the two major political parties, but those differences concern only derivative issues. On the points of greatest significance, the ruling class adheres to a consistent, monolithic worldview; the goals on which they all agree are a corporatist-authoritarian state at home, and unending interventions abroad, using military force as and on the scope required.

...With the exception of World War II, not one of those [past] wars was genuinely defensive in nature, not in any respect whatsoever. Every one of them was instigated by the ruling class, to open up and/or strengthen markets for those American business interests with extensive connections to government, to establish and consolidate American "influence" (i.e., control), to make American hegemony unassailable, and to "civilize" The Other, who was always characterized -- and hated, despised and targeted for submission or, failing that, destruction -- because he was inferior, less than, not fully human. The United States government sanctifies each American death -- while completely disregarding and lying about the realities of slaughter in war -- and invariably employs American deaths as an additional excuse to continue the slaughter of The Other. At the same time, deaths of The Other are rarely even mentioned.

All of this is now repeated in Iraq. The United States government -- aided by a fully compliant, supportive Congress, which enabled and continues to fund this ongoing act of monstrous barbarity even now -- has unleashed genocide, torture and the destruction of an entire country. Because the American ruling class believes that "the American model of society is destined to dominate the world, by one means or another, since it is held to be the culmination of human development," it cannot possibly be the case that the United States itself is fundamentally wrong. Whatever fault and blame are involved cannot belong to the American government. Any and all important failures must unquestionably be the fault of The Other.

So says Hillary Clinton:

Our troops did the job they were asked to do. They got rid of Saddam Hussein. They conducted the search for weapons of mass destruction. They gave the Iraqi people a chance for elections and to have a government. It is the Iraqis who have failed to take advantage of that opportunity.

So said Barack Obama just last week:

It's not change when [McCain] promises to continue a policy in Iraq that asks everything of our brave men and women in uniform and nothing of Iraqi politicians..."

The condescending superiority of this perspective is unassailable and unchangeable...Listen up, Obama, you cheap, lying fraud: the United States government launched a criminal war of aggression against a nation that never threatened us. It continues a bloody, murdering occupation which does nothing but worsen the agony of the Iraqi people. We have no right to be in Iraq at all. We never did. The actions of the United States government have led to a genocide of world historical proportions.

Genocidal murderers and those who support and enable them -- as you do, Obama, since you vote to fund this continuing crime -- do not get to "ask" one single goddamned fucking thing of their victims. Not. One. Single. Goddamned. Fucking. Thing.

…This is only one indication, albeit a revealing one, of the numerous ways in which Obama has enthusiastically made himself into a full-fledged member of the American ruling class....And remember: the beliefs, motives, and goals of the American ruling class have remained basically unchanged for well over a century. That means they are the beliefs, motives, and goals of a white ruling class. Obama may be biracial in hereditary terms, but in every significant respect, he is as white as any black man can be -- ideologically, politically, and with regard to every critical policy issue.

Well, there's a "perspective" for you.