The London Paper – 7 Nov 2008
“We must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence by the military-industrial complex … Their total influence is felt in every city, every Statehouse, every office of the Federal government.” The insane rantings of some paranoid conspiracy theorist? Nope, the 1961 farewell address of US President Dwight Eisenhower. It’s this kind of talk that makes me wonder whether anything fundamental will change now that Barack Obama is (theoretically) set to be in charge of the most powerful nation on this planet.
As I lay on my sofa early on Wednesday morning sipping tea and watching most of the US electoral map turning Democrat I, like most of the world, was swept up with hope that a new era was about to begin. As he addressed the emotional masses in Chicago, I too began to believe that President Obama would implement changes that really would make the world a more peaceful, equitable and greener place. But then I remembered I was once a city boy. And I know how the ‘men in grey suits’ who preside over Wall St and corporate America operate. So now, it’s not hope I feel, but resignation in knowing that his hands will be tied by those conservative, bigoted corporate tosspots who actually run things and have done so since the turkeys were fleeing from the founding fathers.
Wall street and the big US corporations will first of all schmooze Obama with every greasy lobbyist they can lay their grubby hands on. Then, they’ll try to bribe him by promising cash to his next presidential campaign. Then they’ll send in a whole bunch of ‘experts’ who tell him that wind power doesn’t work or that Iraq will fall apart if he doesn’t keep troops there. Then there’ll be threats and finally they may even deign to begin disrupting the sectors of the economy his proposed legislation is designed to improve. These boys won’t go down without a fight and know every trick in the book to keep politicians from putting their oar in where it’s not wanted. If Obama has the energy and resilience to withstand this onslaught that has bowed all his predecessors then we truly may be seeing the beginning of a new era (albeit for only eight years.) Good luck to him I say.
And then there’s the credit crunch. For a night America forgot that that their tanking economy is killing the American dream, thanks to the truly historic event of a black man being elected president of a country that had segregation in the South just over forty years ago. Surely this shows that anyone in the land of the free can achieve anything if they work hard enough? Maybe, but not if their house is being repossessed or they can’t get a job in the first place.