Revolution #149, November 30, 2008
Fight for Obama?
We received the following letter from a reader:
In reading the “Stop thinking like Americans” section of the election statement [“The Morning After the Elections: The Promise of Change…and the Change We Need,” Revolution online, November 6, 2008] and thinking about how people are being trained to think, I kept coming back to this experience I had at work about a month before the election. Me and this guy Pablo I work with were in the stockroom loading up boxes to take out to the shelves, and we started talking, or maybe more complaining really, about how we hated our boring, go-nowhere jobs and wishing we were anywhere but in that stockroom. We’re both Puerto Ricans in our early twenties who didn’t finish high school.
Pablo was saying “If I could just get my GED I could try to do something with myself.”
I told him, “I just got mine in the mail this week.”
Then he said, “Oh, man. If I had my GED I’d join the army.”
I dropped everything. “What’s wrong with you!?” I asked. I knew he hated Bush, and didn’t think he was into what the U.S. does in the world. “Why would you want to fight for this country?”
Pablo was quick to “correct” me, “No, I’d never fight for this country!” He shot back. “But I would fight for Obama.”
This experience really hit me hard and made me think deeper about what is behind the whole Obama thing. Before I had been sort of looking at it like “Well, he’s just one of those bourgeois politicians,” and “Your hopes are going to get dashed if you think he’s going to do anything but serve this system.” He is a bourgeois politician, and he is going to serve this system. But what’s scarier is that by getting people to view him as something other than that, he’ll get them to serve this system. So when I hear people say “wait and see,” or “give Obama a chance,” or the stranger “He may be the biggest snake of them all, but he got so many people to believe in change again, and that has to be good!” I don’t just think, like Lenin said, that they are the “foolish victims of deceit and self-deceit” because they can’t see the interests of a ruling class behind Obama’s catchphrases. They are that. But I also think about how that affects the millions of Pablos in this country. They have no love for, and no interest in going along with, this system which offers them no meaningful future. But with this Obama frenzy, the message is being sent: Living and fighting for this empire is now a real option for getting some kind of life. We don’t need this, like the statement says “Stop thinking like Americans! Start thinking about what humanity needs!” The revolution offers the only real change that would be good and liberating for humanity, and that’s the message we need to send and a future really worth living and fighting for.
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