A slightly left-of-center friend of mine from my grad school days at the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon has gone off the rails in the past couple of years. At least once a week, he posts on Facebook and The Washington Post his views of the “nice guy…to have at a barbecue,” the “dangerous man” he consistently describes President Barack Obama to be.
Every parsed word, every decision, every breath President Obama takes my friend construes as evidence of the president’s link to the Antichrist and the Apocalypse. My friend has become an unlikely crackpot, willing to see everything President Obama does in the most negative light. To the point where he doesn’t give the president credit for decisions in which few could find fault.
But there’s one thing in which my friend from the ’90s is certain and correct. That if we the people only hold the conservative, reactionary and fascist oligarchs — the GOP and their neocon supporters — accountable, the centrist, not-so-progressive and Wall-Street-beholden oligarchs — the Democratic Party — will be able to get away with demolishing what remains of a sense of progression and fairness in American culture and politics. The two-party system has been broken for a while, rusted out from citizen apathy, a military-industrial complex, and the corruption of money, power and religious absolutism mixed with our nation’s other -isms.
It does beg the question, how do our politicians see us? I already discussed this in my post from last August, “When Politicians Say, ‘The American People…’” But I think moving pictures and good old-fashioned pixels might tell us more about the likes of Mitt Romney and the Koch brothers think of us on a collective scale, courtesy of The Matrix and the meatpacking industry.
Ultimately, we are packets of employment and consumerism, meant to be exploited to the fullest extent that capitalism and our politicians will allow. And if we don’t hold those who may well have our best interests at heart accountable, like President Obama, they too could easily fall prey to those who only see us as carcasses, cash cows or batteries to power their oligarchic lives. Even if my grad school days’ friend is a crackpot.