Al Sharpton, Obama’s “House Negro”
On Monday, Rev. Al Sharpton commemorated Veterans’ Day in his own way: by giving more praise to President Obama in his MSNBC show and saying that “Obama kept his promises to veterans”. And what was that promise? To send more people to war for the Empire that leaves those who take the bait and go unemployed and poor for life, if they return, at all? He then thanked his guest, Patrick Murphy, former US representative and Iraq war veteran for his “service” – twice.
Mr. Sharpton who has made a name for himself for standing up against racial injustice against African Americans gives the official line of the US Empire to the viewers that US wars of aggression that cause the death of hundreds of thousands of innocent people, including thousands of children, is somehow a “service” to the nation which deserves giving thanks to those who went and participated. While he speaks up against racially motivated attacks against and killing of blacks in this country, he ignores the fact that such wars are sold to Americans with the help of racism against brown people. What he also chooses to ignore is that racial injustice is not just about physical attacks and shootings, but also and especially economic, which Dr. King stressed before getting assassinated.
This is not just a case of defending and praising the first African American president, unconditionally and regardless of what he does, including all his policies. That itself is absurd since such a “first African American president” could very well be, and indeed Obama has been, nocuous to the interests of African Americans and all the poor, in general. The statistics of the last 5 years of his presidency which shows a sharp rise in hunger and poverty among the poor, especially among African Americans, in parallel with a steep rise in corporate profits and the wealth of the already wealthy, speaks for itself. But, repeating the propaganda of the Empire with its unending penchant for war which Dr. King called “the biggest purveyor of violence in the world” and thanking its soldiers for their “service” to the “military industrial complex” and its corporate beneficiaries is beyond reproach. You would never hear Mr. Sharpton mention Dr. King’s opinions about US imperialism and that’s no coincidence. The difference between these two men could not have been starker. The reaction of the ruling class to each man is telling enough. One was spied on and placed on a list of individuals to be eliminated and was finally assassinated – with the help of “some unknown government agency”, as the court hearing the civil law suit brought by Dr. King’s family concluded – while the other has a high paying job at NBC for praising Obama, every single day.
What such African Americans as Obama and Sharpton can do for the Empire – one ostensibly as its leader and the other as a spokesman and defender of the oligarchy of the bankers and multibillionaires and its wars against brown people – is invaluable and crucial. And hence it’s no less crucial for us to expose such traitors and the disservice they do to the very people they claim to represent and defend.
The hypocritical cries of Mr. Sharpton against racism sounds hollow and void of sincerity when he defends the president’s wars, drone attacks on innocent people that has killed hundreds of children, assassinations and force feeding inmates in Guantanamo. In fact, Mr. Sharpton agrees with Obama more than Obama agrees with himself. After Edward Snowden revealed the NSA’s massive and unconstitutional spy program on American citizens, Obama was forced to admit “we needed this conversation” – mind you, only after Snowden forced that very “conversation” on him which Obama admitted was needed which he and Sharpton nevertheless went on to vilify him and called him traitor for. Al Sharpton, however, has yet to admit Obama should have or could have done anything differently.
Of course, he is quick to point out the role of the Republicans in creating such unjust economic conditions, but, he won’t say that it was Obama, not Republicans who gave cabinet posts to Wall Street bosses and continued to take directives from them, while ignoring workers and their unions – whatever is left of them – even while they were under relentless attacks in several states of the Union. It was Obama who continued the infamous neoliberal policies that help depress wages. It’s Obama who is now negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership Program (TPP) which is dictated by his corporate bosses with its potential to drive wages further down and profits even higher. And it’s Obama who has repeatedly gone to court on behalf of Monsanto against individual farmers and it is his EPA which has turned a blind eye on frackings going on now by oil companies. Even his healthcare act was written by insurance companies at a time when the cries for universal healthcare were getting louder. I could go on, but I won’t. You get the point. Republicans have become a convenient excuse for reactionary and anti-working class policies.
Imagine for a second, if you will: a defender of civil rights, not only defending wars and drone attacks against brown people and Muslims and injustice in Guantanamo Bay and policies that have raised hunger and poverty among the poor, especially among African Americans, but a surveillance program designed specifically to stop popular leaders such as Dr. King in their tracks before they become a menace to the rule of the corporate oligarchy! So, yes, Mr. Sharpton is right: Obama kept his promises, but, not to those who sent in $10 to help his campaign because that’s all they could afford. He kept his promises to those who gave him millions. Because this democracy is on sale and sold to highest bidder. Screw everyone else.
Either Dr. King didn’t know what he was talking about or Al Sharpton who claims to be a defender of civil rights and the president he defends unconditionally are both frauds.