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Obama In Tucson: Will He Seize The Moment ???

Mon, we called 4 Obama 2 use Ariz murders 2 claim legacy of ML King Tues NY Times said he wd meet victims & families @ Tucson memorial svc Will he take next 2 steps: give speech of his life & use as guide 4 campaign vs violent right-wing rhetoric?

 
PRLog - Jan. 11, 2011 - 11 January 2011. By David Caploe PhD, Chief Political Economist, EconomyWatch.com.

Monday, we called for Pres Obama to use horrible Arizona murders to claim legacy of Martin Luther King & take three steps.

Most readers liked idea, but doubted anything like that would happen.

Then, Tuesday, NY Times - quietly - reported he wd, in fact, do first thing we proposed:

go to Tucson to meet w victims & their families at a memorial service.

Will he now take next two steps: give the speech of his life,

combining hope of "I Have A Dream" w incisive courage of "A Time To Break Silence" -

& then use that speech as guide for sustained campaign vs hate-filled right-wing rhetoric that legitimates violence?

We can only wait, watch & hope he does resurrect the best American political traditions of Lincoln, FDR & King,

and NOT the public discourse that has been dominant in US ever since regime of Ronald Reagan.

His allegedly "sunny" disposition aside, Reagan was a master of rhetorical invective and radical oversimplification,

never failing to use the most divisive possible terms to describe people and policies he disliked.

In so doing, he also gave his Republican party a guidebook for how to continually smash the weak / directionless / corrupt Democrats,

enabling the RPBs to dominate public discourse even on the -- relatively few -- occasions they didn't hold total institutional mastery in Washington,

forcing the Democrats into constant "triangulation" --

another word for giving the RPBs nearly everything they want --

even when Dems supposedly held power, as during the Clinton and now Obama years .

This near-total control of the topics / terms / and substantive content of those terms, of course,

reached its high point during the Rove / Cheney / Bush years,

when that troika was able to push the public / media / Congress in just about any direction it wanted .

Supposedly, the election of Obama was going to change all that.

But, as we have continually pointed out, with no satisfaction, Obama has completely avoided -- until this point, at least --

ANY attempt to transform the dynamics of American public discourse.

Instead, he has followed what we have sadly chronicled is a policy barely distinguishable

from the insanely pro-corporate Rove / Cheney / Bush years --

a tendency pathetically reinforced by the recent appointment of Clinton-era re-treads

Bill Daly as Chief of Staff and Gene Sperling as head of the National Economic Council.

Despite Obama's evident willingness to give credence to even the most outlandish pro-corporate demands,

his reward has been outright disdain and almost unparalleled personal vilification by the US "business community" .

But in the wake of the brutal and blatantly rhetorically-incited murders in Arizona,

Obama has a chance to reclaim whatever shred of both legitimacy and power he has left,

and use this horrific moment to dramatically reverse the destructive dynamics of discourse

that have not only wrecked America, but left it, in the words of Richard Nixon,

a pitiful helpless giant in the eyes of much of the rest of the world.

In seizing this rare moment, he has, moreover, a model to whom he can authentically claim allegiance:

Martin Luther King, whose birthday, auspiciously enough, will be celebrated this coming weekend in the US.

Whether he will take this opportunity to bring forward a long-buried, but deeply authentic, strain in American political action and rhetoric remains to be seen.

But there are a whole range of things Obama can and should do, harking back to the spirit of King,

who, as many non-Americans may not realize, must be understood not as a black, but as an AMERICAN, hero --

one whose legacy has been buried in the years after Reagan --

along with those of many others who took and take their inspiration

from the greatest US president of the 20th century, Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

What would this mean concretely ???

First and foremost, Obama must NOT retreat into what Americans calls a "Rose Garden strategy":

that is, simply making pronouncements from the White House.

Rather, he should follow in King's footsteps,

and be PHYSICALLY PRESENT at the site of the murders themselves.

Put bluntly, he needs to show the whole world his identification with, and connection to, the victims of this barbaric act ...

Then, he should go to the site of the shooting itself,

and give the speech of his life,

combining the hopefulness of the "I Have A Dream" speech of the March on Washington in August 1963,

with the incisive analysis and sheer courage of his

April 4 1967 "Beyond Vietnam - A Time To Break Silence" speech at Riverside Church in New York ...

Obama needs to make clear the issue is not the insane actions of a clearly sick individual,

but the entire framework of discourse that led a twisted young man to think he would be doing something "great"

by shooting down in cold blood -- at an open and unguarded political event --

not just a Congressman and Federal district court judge,

but a little girl and several senior citizens,

drawn to Arizona by the warm climate that makes the infirmities of their old age easier to bear.

He needs to name names,

and not be afraid to call down the wrath of the God in which he so often proclaims his belief

on those who have consistently brought forward the worst in American political culture, rather than, as King did, the best.

To be sure, King was a man of peace and love -- but he was also a man of courage

who never feared to speak out IN PERSON when he saw injustice and outrage,

whether it was the bombing of four little girls in a Birmingham church,

or the plight of garbage men fighting for a decent wage in Memphis ...

There is little doubt King would marshal the "better angels" of which Lincoln spoke,

and use his moral and ethical standing to SHAME not simply those who pulled the trigger,

but those who have -- sadly, for decades now -- felt they had free rein to encourage

the kind of thinking and speaking that legitimizes such unspeakable actions.

We would ALL be better off if Arizona had never happened -- but it did.

The question now, then, is how to use this terrible event to strike a decisive blow against the forces

that legitimated the motivation behind -- and, in that way, created -- it ...

There is little doubt King would marshal the "better angels" of which Lincoln spoke,

and use his moral and ethical standing to SHAME not simply those who pulled the trigger,

but those who have -- sadly, for decades now -- felt they had free rein to encourage

the kind of thinking and speaking that legitimizes such unspeakable actions.

We would ALL be better off if Arizona had never happened -- but it did.

The question now, then, is how to use this terrible event to strike a decisive blow against the forces

that legitimated the motivation behind -- and, in that way, created -- it ...

To read more at http://www.economywatch.com’, go to:

http://www.economywatch.com/economy-business-and-finance-...

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EconomyWatch.com is the world's largest global, independent, economics community. Every month we serve over 750k users, who read and discuss economics, investing and finance topics.

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