Coming Back to Earth! – Obama, Getting Real, & the Grounded Work Ahead

by on January 21st, 2009
6 CommentsComments

Coming Back to Earth!
Obama, Getting Real, & the Grounded Work Ahead

by Jesse Wolf Hardin <mail@animacenter.org>

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obama.jpgIt is Inauguration Day as I write this, the historic occasion of not only the first President of African Descent and avowed opponent of the Iraq War but also seemingly the most compassionate and articulate in decades.  He will support important alternative energy technology, put a halt to the Bush era practice of using simulated drownings (“water boarding”) to extract unreliable information from suspects, and issue hybrid cars to his staff.  And he’s so sincere it make us want to trust him with our children and our world.  On the other hand, I find it alarming the degree to which all but our most conservative of our acquaintances appear to have lost touch with reality, no doubt high on hope and (after George W.) slap-happy drunk with relief.  I write this because it is dangerous to be self deluded or ecstatically oblivious and disarmed when the more exploitive and unsustainable systems of the civilized paradigm will continue to grow unabated.  There are no clear solutions to the complex quandaries of our times, no politician or person is either all good or all bad, and if anything the election of a President of mixed race should be a reminder than nothing is as simple as black and white.

I am more apolitical and tribal than politically minded, and more Libertarian and Green than either Democrat or Republican.  But even if one was a Liberal in the Democratic Party mold, there would still be much to be concerned about.  If a main issue was getting troops out Iraq, one should be angry about the thousands he wants to leave behind as “Support,“ ‘Trainers” and “Advisors,” or at least be questioning his tripling of American combat troops in neighboring Afghanistan.  If one is concerned about environmental regulation to protect what is left of biodiversity and habitat in this country, they should be appalled at his consideration of opening up offshore drilling in sensitive areas.  If somebody opposes the open ended captivity of suspects in Guantanomo Bay enough to applaud his closure of the Gitmo prison facility, then they should also be disturbed that the new President has made no moves to close the detention and torture facility at Bagram Air Force Base as well.  If you thought the State sanctioning of gay marriages is an important issue, you would have been disappointed over his refusal to support the issue.  If like us, you are disgusted by the shredding of Constitutional rights and liberties in the name of “national security” and fear a “V For Vendetta-like” future regime, then your cheers should stick in your throat over Obama’s retaining of Robert Gates as head of the Defense Department.  As head of the CIA, Gates backed the invasion of Panama to defend our “interests” against the corrupt thug we had helped elect, oversaw the Iran/Contra affair that included the funneling of arms to Central American death squads who were killing endless peasants and a smattering of American nuns.  He played a part in the removal of democratically elected Jean-Bertand Aristide in Haiti, helped prop up the terribly brutal Suharto regime in Indonesia, and ran the very Iraq War that the President is promised to withdraw from.

And regardless of one’s political leanings, our emotional response should be informed by the fact that the billions or even trillions of dollars that will go to the wasteful bank bailouts (one bank used the money to expand and buy another!) and other programs to “save the economy” will be at the expense of our children and grandchildren, who will face absurdly higher taxes, find the dollar worth less, and realize that a large part of America is actually collateral for Chinese and Arab investors who can call in their loans at anytime.  Barack may be an “environmentalist” (a term that we have for several reasons never adopted), but protection of wild places, clean air and rivers, open spaces and sustainable human habitat is simply not possible along with the endless population growth and nonstop economic expansion that he condones or supports.  Not only livable space and precious wilderness continues to be at risk from this modernist paradigm, but also rural culture, self reliance, regional self sufficiency and national sovereignty.

Regardless of who is ever elected our “leader,” they are restricted in what they can accomplish, can’t buck the special interests that funded their elections, and even if they wanted to they can’t sell notions like healthy population reductions or economic contraction, local production or regional autonomy, the repeal of the outrageous Patriot Act or some of the thousands of stranglehold regulations that rule every aspect of our modern lives.  No governmental edict or elected official can make the modernist paradigm tenable or sustainable, neither the unrealistic credit system, our current spending habits or growth patterns.  We applaud any bettering of governance or furtherance of liberty that this or any other administration might provide, but real change will require a shift in basic American values and evolution in lifestyles that few are ready to make.  It is not Presidents that will deliver us from this destructive artificial morass, but new precedents.

It is time to come back to earth after the election high, back down to the living giving ground where we do the real work of limiting family size and empowering as well as loving our children, growing organic gardens and learning to use biorgionally available plant medicines to heal ourselves and each other, ensuring ecosystem integrity while building old fashioned supportive community, protecting what matters most and slowly altering and deepening the values, priorities and goals of the society that even the most nonconformist of us cannot help but belong to.

(feel free to share this sobering and disquieting wake-up call with others)

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Categories: Jesse Wolf Hardin – Essays & Tales

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  • Christina

    Before any other issue, I believe population control is the #1 crisis issue of our age – and it’s the #1 thing that “they” will (it seems) prevent at all costs. They need more people to feed the capitalist machine (buy buy buy), that behaves as though there are endless resouces to be chewed up in production… of things we don’t really need.

    An old peacenik from the ’50s once said to me, “If you want to see what really scares them, watch where they put the muscle, and watch where they put the money – THAT’S where they’re vulnerable.” Control over women’s bodies is Job One for the patriarchy. Women still don’t have safe, affordable, and/or universally available birth control, the Bushitters tried to promote abstinence only “sex education,” and legal abortion has been under fire by the conservatives since the ink on Roe vs. Wade was dry.

    But by god we’ve got in vitro fertilization, Viagra, fertility treatments, surrogate mothers… millions poured into methods to make more people, laws to prevent their prevention, abortion clinics bombed, and abortion doctors murdered.

    Sounds like money and muscle to me.

    Which is ironic (to say the least), because American business is happy to outsource jobs and foreclose homes, leaving all the people they insisted we create nowhere to work or live. And let’s not even get into health care – another case of “Get them here and then ignore them.”

    What ever happened to Zero Population Growth from the ’60s? Kinda like the Equal Rights Amendment, I guess – lost in the stampede to haul us all back to the Dark Ages.

    Thanks for being a voice of reason.

    Christina

  • thank you for saying what needs to be said as always. i think this situation is perhaps more problematic than the bush era as people are deluded with visions of granduer …he’s just another politician in a very broken system.

  • While I don’t agree with Pres. Obama’s political leaning, this was a very well written post. It’s very important people realize the things wrong and the need to fiz. They also need to realize that politicians tend to be politicians and know which side of the bread is buttered for them.
    No one man will come to the aid of our ailing country. We as a people have to work towards making our world a better place.


  • Susan

    Jesse, thank you once again for your thoughtful and insightful words and thoughts. I deeply appreciate hearing your viewpoints on these, and other issues.

    I, for the most part, have supported Obama and his politics for most of the time I’ve known about him, and tend to feel that he, while still being a politician, is a man of reason, and a man who may be willing to listen to, and learn from, all of those whom he governs in this country. My intuitive sense is that he is on a massive learning curve himself, a curve that will take him on an inner and outer journey that even he can’t anticipate at this time. I might very well be wrong certainly, but for the first time in MANY years, I feel some hope that some of the changes we have been looking for might have a chance of manifesting. I feel that, for myself, part of what I need to do is write letters, sign petitions, do whatever it takes to make my views known, to let President Obama (and my representatives) know what is important to me. And, beyond all of the letter-writing stuff, get my hands dirty and get involved in helping to manifest the changes I wish to see in the world, and in my personal life…something that I am grateful to Anima for helping me to see more clearly. :-)

    Susan B.

  • i’m so glad you wrote this wolf, it’s excellent.

  • Wolf,

    As always- your prose becomes poetry, your reasonings revolutionary and your inspiration ingenuous…

    Graces and Gratitude,
    Renee’ M.

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