Obama Quiets the 'Right-Wing Witch Hunters' ... for Now
"Confronted with a fact that undoubtedly
strengthens his re-election prospects - if the economy doesn't betray him -
we'll have to wait and see whether the right's passion for witch-burning
persists - an art that rabid right-wing nationalists in the U.S. expertly
The far-right's offensive against Barack Obama is multifaceted
and crude. Until last week at least, before the liquidation of Osama bin Laden,
it seemed there was no stopping it. Since before winning the presidency, and in
less than subtle language, they've wanted to strip him of his legitimacy as a
political person and now that he's a figure of U.S. power, also of his status
and right to citizenship. This type of discourse, which seemed to
have ebbed and been buried in the 70s by the U.S. multicultural political
Thus, this sector of the
establishment began to see his reforms as unacceptable and lacking in realism,
and sometimes, a veiled racism was heard among his opponents. His estrangement came
from the insinuation that it was unacceptable that a mixed race mulatto man of
African and Caucasian descent - even if a result of the racial diversity that, according
to many, honors the U.S. - had challenged a distinguished member of the WASP
club with a proud war record. This, the implication was, distorted the "social
contract," according to which minorities (mainly African-Americans) would
receive full rights as citizens, but without meaning that the seat of power,
the White House, could and should be occupied by a Black man. Even Lyndon B.
Johnson would have asserted that the White House - built with a slave workforce
- was destined to be occupied by White politicians, never a Black one.
The 21st century began with multiple shocks to the
international order - September 11 to begin with, and the ascension of Obama,
which perhaps signaled the rebirth of the U.S. as a multi-ethnic society alongside its decline as a global power. The paradox is that both domestic and
international efforts to restructure the socio-political basis of society,
centered on a new social consensus and the application of a strategy of smart
power - more diplomatic than military - with the aim of positioning Washington
at the heart of a new international order with new and powerful emerging players,
is being driven by this man. A man whose possession of U.S. citizenship and
right to identify himself as "American" is being questioned by the
same recalcitrant elements that questioned his moral authority to preside over
the United States.
Now his nationality is being questioned. With Cold War
rhetoric and lapses into surrealism, Donald Trump, hotelier, media mogul and
aspiring presidential hopeful, questioned Obama's citizenship and challenged
him to prove that he was not a "non-American." That is to say,
surrealism aside, he demanded that Obama, who has been in office for over two
years, show that the entire United States wasn't mistaken in making him senator
and then president. Obama relented and for a second time, released his birth
certificate, which was in Hawaii.
Thus, the repeatedly confirmed Obama has unwound
Trump and his media show, and neutralized an obstacle in his path to reelection.
Now, with the elimination of bin Laden, Obama has strengthened his prestige and
political capital in the face of an extremeright and the citizens of the U.S.
and the world. The end of bin Laden is a transcendental blow to al-Qaeda that
Bush, and even some of his allies, after dreaming of doing it themselves, now credit
Obama with. Confronted with a fact that undoubtedly strengthens his re-election
prospects - if the economy doesn't betray him - we'll have to wait and see
whether the right's passion for witch-burning persists - an art that rabid right-wing
nationalists in the U.S. expertly dominate. Osma's demise is a long-cherished achievement
for Washington's entire political establishment. And therefore, one that the
right will have to come to terms with, as if the Tyrian and Trojan horses were their own, however difficult it may be.
Posted by WORLDMEETS.US
Note: The term "Tyrian and Trojan horses" refers
to backers of differing opinions, and was first popularized by the ancient
Roman poet Virgil in his work about the Trojan Wars, the Aenied.]
After a number of setbacks, Obama is enjoying a
glorious moment that mitigates some of his recent losses after his attempts to
reform healthcare, education and the economy. It will be a shame if, in light
of this transcendental moment that he has given his country with the
elimination of Osama, his place in U.S. history is now to be denied. For now,
he wears the strategic and political badge of having implemented an act of smart
power that due to its management, has begun to bear
fruit both internationally and domestically.
Luis ValdésUgalde is a political
analyst, researcher and lecturer at the Autonomous National University of
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