Carey Wedler (TheAntiMedia)
September 22, 2014
WASHINGTON, D.C.-Over the weekend, Michelle Obama spoke at the Women’s Leadership Fund Conference where she whole-heartedly defended her husband’s record as president. She went so far as to claim that many young Americans “take for granted” what President Obama has done for the United States.
Her statements, as well-crafted and half-true as they may be, ignore the vast majority of President Obama’s policies. She ignored that during his administration, students have taken on increasingly more debt in spite of band-aids the president attempted to apply. She left out that since the end of the “Great Recession,” the top 1% of the population took in 95% of income gains while the other 99% saw a decrease and the gap between rich and poor widened. Even if Obama lowered the deficit and spurred job creation, even his supporters admit that by 2015, the deficit will begin to increase again unless spending is cut. Further, the national debt is still on the rise.
Discussing social circumstances, Mrs. Obama stated:
“Think about how our kids take for granted that a black person or a women can be President of the United States. They take it for granted that for the first time in history, there are three brilliant women serving on our Supreme Court. They take for granted that their president will end hurtful policies like don’t ask, don’t tell,’ they’ll speak out for gay marriage.”
While having women on the Supreme Court and allowing gays in the military is certainly not taking a step backward, to claim it as Obama-inspired “progress” operates on the false premise that social change occurs because of government action (not to mention that this all signifies progress within the realm of the state, not society as a whole). In other words, Obama’s appointments were possible because society has grown more tolerant and accepting, not the other way around. She left out that Obama avoided endorsing gay marriage until Joe Biden preempted him and that sexual orientation equality in the military simply allows soldiers of all orientations to openly terrorize innocent people around the world on behalf of power and politics (a policy her husband has continued).
It doesn’t matter that the president’s skin is brown if his aggressive police-state policies harm minorities. As president he facilitated the militarization of local police forces, who have a long history of racism and who the Justice Department is now investigating for racial bias. Obama’s race is also irrelevant if he aggressively continued another destructive policy toward minorities in America: the Drug War.
It is well and good that women were appointed to the Supreme Court, but those not in power are still subject to exorbitant rates of police sexual harassment and abuse by cops emboldened by the power of Obama’s militarization tactics. If Obama truly cared about minorities, he would take substantive action to deal with these tangible, “hurtful policies” rather than clinging to relatively superficial evidence of progress, such as minorities holding positions of authority.
While segmenting Americans—or humans for that matter—into their minority status and lauding the president for apparently improving their condition, the First Lady effectively ignored the collective destruction the president has wrought. He hasn’t just furthered the police state and usurpation of freedom by refusing to stand up to oppressive policies like the NDAA, invasive spying, extensions of the Patriot Act and the Drug War. He hasn’t just widened the problem of income inequality and continued to endorse and enthusiastically enjoy a budget grossly devoted to military spending, adventurism, and his drone program, which carelessly murders 50 civilians for every alleged terrorist. He has perpetuated the exact status quo that his wife boasts he changed, glossing over the oppressive policies he has codified and carried over from the Bush years.
While defending her husband, Michelle Obama ignores the most relevant point: that it doesn’t matter what color a president’ skin is or what policies he imposes if he continues to oppress the minorities she claims he helps, invades the rights of all Americans, and cleverly markets it all as social progress and prosperity.
Nevertheless, during her speech she noted:
“…When folks ask me whether I still believe everything we said about change and hope back in 2008, I tell them that I believe it more strongly now than ever before, because, look, I’ve seen it with my own eyes.”
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