by Chris Hedges
May 16, 2011
The moral philosopher Cornel West, if Barack Obama’s ascent to power was a morality play, would be the voice of conscience. Rahm Emanuel, a cynical product of the Chicago political machine, would be Satan. Emanuel in the first scene of the play would dangle power, privilege, fame and money before Obama. West would warn Obama that the quality of a life is defined by its moral commitment, that his legacy will be determined by his willingness to defy the cruel assault by the corporate state and the financial elite against the poor and working men and women, and that justice must never be sacrificed on the altar of power.
Perhaps there was never much of a struggle in Obama’s heart. Perhaps West only provided a moral veneer. Perhaps the dark heart of Emanuel was always the dark heart of Obama. Only Obama knows. But we know how the play ends. West is banished like honest Kent in “King Lear.” Emanuel and immoral mediocrities from Lawrence Summers to Timothy Geithner to Robert Gates—think of Goneril and Regan in the Shakespearean tragedy—take power. We lose. And Obama becomes an obedient servant of the corporate elite in exchange for the hollow trappings of authority.
Copyright © 2011 Truthdig
Chris Hedges spent two decades as a foreign reporter covering wars in Latin America, Africa, Europe and the Middle East. His latest books are Death of the Liberal Class, and The World as It Is: Dispatches on the Myth of Human Progress.
Why Prophets Like Cornel West Make Liberal Sell-Outs Attack by Chris Hedges
Cornel West and the fight against injustice
The Colbert Report: Cornel West: I’m a militant for tenderness and radical love
Cornel West: No Lie Can Live Forever!
Lifting the Veil: Barack Obama and the failure of capitalist democracy (must-see)
Pingback: Americans, Find Your “Moral Compass” … by Philip A. Farruggio « Dandelion Salad
Pingback: Thank You Cornel West by Joel S. Hirschhorn « Dandelion Salad
Pingback: Why Prophets Like Cornel West Make Liberal Sell-Outs Attack by Chris Hedges « Dandelion Salad
Pingback: Time to Tell the Truth: Obama Ought to be Impeached by Mark A. Goldman « Dandelion Salad
Pingback: Should Presidential War Making Powers Expand? by Bruce Gagnon « Dandelion Salad
West was self-deceived. Obama had no record of defending democratic principles while serving in the Senate. The reason to support a candidate for public office is to serve The People, not the candidate. So no thanks or special favors from the candidate ought to be necessary.
This is not to say that Obama did not intend to deceive, for surely he has been doing that for a long time… well before he ran for public office. We know that now when we remember that he taught Constitutional law, never believing himself what he was teaching others to believe.