Obama BS?

Discussion in 'The Far Abroad' started by Moscow Exile, Aug 30, 2013.

  1. Moscow Exile

    Moscow Exile Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    US President Barack Obama spoke in Washington DC on 29th August 2013 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's leading a "March on Washington", wherein he delivered his famous "dream" speech.

    Speaking on the footsteps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington yesterday, the US president declared that the "great unfinished business" of the civil rights era was still providing economic equality and opportunity to all Americans.

    As is his wont, Obama waxed lyrical when reciting his scriptwriters' words:

    "Because they marched, America became more free and more fair - not just for African Americans, but for women and Latinos, Asians and Native Americans; for Catholics, Jews, and Muslims; for gays, for Americans with a disability. America changed for you and for me. And the entire world drew strength from that example, whether the young people who watched from the other side of an Iron Curtain and would eventually tear down that wall, or the young people inside South Africa who would eventually end the scourge of apartheid..."

    See this report from the Indian English language newspaper "The Statesman": "Obama commemorates King's 'dream' speech".

    So the "young people" (note the necessary adulation of "the young") of the Soviet Union were so inspired by King's 1963 speech that eventually, namely some 28 years later, they tore down the Iron Curtain?

    Does that mean Obama believes that 50 years ago the plight of black Americans was similar to that which Soviet citizens endured; that the absence of basic human rights for many black Americans, the endemic racism in many US states, be it open or barely concealed, was paralleled by a similar denial of basic human rights in the USSR?

    Strange that, for I seem to remember that in 1963 Soviet citizens - especially young ones - were cock-a-hoop over Gagarin's 1961 orbiting of the earth and the USSR's achievements in the "space race", which contest at that time had only one runner: the Evil Empire.

    And mention of "The Evil Empire" brings to mind that up to Obama's oration on the 29th August of this year, the official line in the West was that Ronald Reagan brought down the Soviet Union, which is utter nonsense of course, because any Briton will tell you that Margaret Thatcher did that. However, it now seems that as regards the downfall of the USSR, Obama (or his scriptwriters) think that the die was cast by Dr. King in 1963.

    Funny that, because in 1963, whenever it was pointed out to Soviet citizens that USA society was far superior to that of the USSR, the response amongst many Soviet citizens - including, no doubt, many young ones - was very often: А у вас негров линчуют! (But you lynch Negroes!)

    This was the punch-line of a spate of Soviet jokes, one version of which ran as follows:

    US citizen to Soviet citizen: "How many decades does it take an average Soviet man to earn enough money to buy a Soviet car?"

    Soviet citizen: "But you lynch Negroes!"

    However, despite Obama's opinion (or his scriptwriters') that King's 1963 "dream" speech influenced Soviet "young people" to tear down the oppressive state that enslaved them, it seems that Russian citizens are still in bondage.

    Who shall now truly liberate them and lead them to the shining city on the hill, I wonder; who shall lead them onwards in their final drive to freedom?

    Signs are that the massed ranks of liberated western sodomists have taken up this challenge.


    [​IMG]
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2013
  2. SWSpires

    SWSpires Gubernial Secretary (12th class)

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    No, it doesn't. What it means is that in this day and age, the Civil Rights movement has become the de facto Most Important Event in American History, replacing previous landmarks like the Revolution and the Civil War. Consequently, it is impossible in American civic discourse to praise its significance too highly, no matter how much dubious fluff winds up being said.

    Thinking back to 1989-91 when Communism was being overthrown, I don't recall many East European activists citing MLK as an influence. Obama's speech is all about domestic politics.
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  3. Philip Owen

    Philip Owen Office Registrar (13th class)

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    Why does Obama remind me of Carter?
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  4. Alexander Mercouris

    Alexander Mercouris Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    Though I write from the distance of London I think what you say about the importance the Civil Rights movement has in contemporary US social and political discourse is entirely true. The whole history of the Civil War of the 1860s is for example today largely written through the frame of the Civil Rights movement. The way the black soldiers and servants are represented in Stephen Spielberg's recent Lincoln biopic and much of the criticism of the film for its supposed failure to give black people their due is a reflection of this.

    That is not by the way to understate the Civil Rights movement's value or importance or the courage and leadership of Martin Luther King. Rather it to say that the overriding importance attached to it today is a reflection of the way in which political and cultural discourse in the US revolves increasingly round social and minority rights. It is also to point out that the present glorification of Dr. King and of the Civil Rights movement sits very uneasily with the reality of the political beliefs and actions of Dr. King and many of the movement's leaders and members in the 1960s. Certainly I am sure that Dr. King himself would be very unhappy at the way in which he has been elevated to the status of a secular saint in today's America, a country of whose policies and social system he would be today a stern critic.

    Obama's comments incidentally also touch on another aspect, which is what Moscow Exile's comment is about. This is the axiomatic assumption Obama shares with many Americans that the world not only revolves around them but that it is intimately interested in what they do. The simple reality is that by the 1980s very few Russians knew or cared about the Civil Rights movement or Dr. King or would have known or cared about his 1963 speech. Of those Russians who did, the great majority would probably have been supporters of the Communist regime. Those Russians who were pro American in the 1980s would have been much more likely to admire someone like Ronald Reagan than Dr. King (though as Moscow Exile says, it is absurd to think of Ronald Reagan as the man who brought the USSR down). To the extent that they might have known about Dr. King pro American Russians in the 1980s would probably have disapproved of him. In no conceivable sense did anything Dr. King or the Civil Rights movement say or do in the US in the 1960s have any bearing on what happened in the USSR in the 1980s. The fact that the Civil Rights movement and Dr. King have become pivotal figures in modern American political, cultural and social discourse does not mean that they have anything like the same importance anywhere else and certainly not in the USSR or in Russia.
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2013

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