Flying through the valley separating day from night”
‘I am death’ cried the vulture ‘for the people of the light.’
Charon brought his raft and came from the sea that sails on souls
And saw the scavenger departing, taking warm hearts to the cold.
He knew the ghetto was a haven for the meanest creature ever known.”
--Gil Scott-Heron “The Vulture”
In 2006, I named “The Audacity of Hope” the worst book of the year, indicting it as “the transparent game plan of a guileful politician” trying “to be all things to all people.“ See http://aalbc.com/books/best_worst_nonfiction_2006.htm
However, soon thereafter Barack Obama declared his candidacy for the presidency, and like virtually all other African-American and leftist pundits, I drank the Kool-Aid and never again questioned his dedication to progressive political ideals. Until now.
The few who did, like Tavis Smiley and Reverend Wright, paid a steep price, finding themselves ostracized by the Black community as traitors, as though Obama couldn’t be held accountable by his most loyal constituency. Consequently, after the election, the pressing African-American agenda has remained on the back burner while the President approved instant billion-dollar bailouts of Wall Street and the auto industry, pork-filled stimulus packages, and an escalation of the Afghan War.
Doesn’t Obama know that the Taliban (which means students, by the way) originally rose to power only because the CIA funneled 65,000 tons of weapons per year to it back in the Eighties. How do you spell war profiteering? Anybody with a brain knows that the enemy is Al-Qaeda, not the Taliban, and that all the 9-11 terrorists entered the U.S. through Saudi Arabia.
So, what are we still doing in Afghanistan? Maybe the answer has to do with the fact that the brother of puppet President Hamid Karzai is the country’s biggest opium dealer and has been business partners with CIA for the past eight years. I am not making this up.
Whatever happened to the Barack Obama we saw on the stump, a seemingly fearless firebrand who routinely repeated “I am running because of what Dr. King called ‘the fierce urgency of now,’” before listing a litany of concerns he would start addressing on day one, including rising unemployment, homelessness, bankruptcies and healthcare costs?
Curiously, after promising to raise the taxes of everyone with an income over a quarter million dollars, instead Obama’s first order of business was a big bailout benefiting the rich at the expense of working-class taxpayers. And his healthcare initiative, if passed, won’t even be implemented for anther four years. And without a public option, former Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean concedes that the plan amounts to little more than a windfall for the insurance lobby.
Despite the early warning signs, I kept my mouth shut about Obama, primarily because of his roots as a community organizer. But enough is enough. He handed Wall St. billions to save the financial industry. He gave the military billions more to continue looking for Osama bin Laden who’s proving harder to find than Waldo. He could just as easily have designated billions for urban renewal to flatten and rebuild the ghettos of America, godforsaken dens of iniquity which he knows from his tenure as a community organizer to be “a haven for the meanest creature ever known.”
Kam Williams is a syndicated film and book critic, and a member of the NJ, NY, CT, PA, MA & US Supreme Court bars.
To hear The Vulture by Gil Scott-Heron, visit: