Obama Droned by Hurt-Mail

Please hazard a caring thought for the besieged occupant of the Presidential Office of America, President Barack Obama (2008-), who, in preparing for a second run for Presidential office, is on the receiving end of comments that are, to say the least, lacking in tact and sensitivity as to his person and family history, and which unknowingly and unintentionally lowers the moral threshold of public conduct mimicking in the process the past of exclusion and silencing many new Americans do not wish to have be repeated in their nation’s present form.

Such comments when they surface serve as a sign of a nation in struggle with its past and vexed over the socio-cultural transformations of its present with the cult of rights and cult of respect of previously excluded and silenced communities traveling in tow to much consternation. Here, the future America is slowly baptizing itself silently and in some pain, but baptizing itself it is for there is no turning back to the past of unbridled violence, discrimination and contempt that besotted the daily lives of its poor European Americans, its African, its Native, its Mexican and its Asia Pacific populations. That America has been struggled to the ground with strangle holds to its neck still.

For many Americans, especially European Americans ( the community of Americans for whom such changes are mostly felt as loss) the new-America-in-the-making is so far removed in outward appearances and cultural ways from that with which they are historically familiar, and prefer, it seemingly does not reflect their value systems and cultural ways, hence social change=equals=social loss, loss at the expense of their cultural preferences and security of continued political and economic dominance of “their” America. This has provoked psychic dissonance and much resistance since flagrant public demonstrations of contempt towards this new-America-in-the-making are socially unbecoming and much disapproved from leadership communities of the new America that have learnt and mastered the art of protest in the American nation.

It is therefore highly significant when an event such as the e-mailed message by Richard F. Cebull surfaces. For Judge Cebull, Chief U.S. District Judge (the chief federal judge of  HYPERLINK “http://www.politico.com/tag/Montana” \t “_blank” Montana, 2008) in sending his e-mail to other chief judges, where he engaged in polite private humor among friends, unveiled the following:

Normally I don’t send or forward a lot of these, but even by my standards, it was a bit touching. I want all of my friends to feel what I felt when I read this. Hope it touches your heart like it did mine:

A little boy said to his mother; ‘Mommy, how come I’m black and you’re white?’ His mother replied, ‘Don’t even go there Barack! From what I can remember about that party, you’re lucky you don’t bark!

(Source:  HYPERLINK “http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2012/03/federal_judge_s.phphttp://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2012/03/federal_judge_s.php) March7th, 2012

For the uninitiated the above requires a certain measure of interpretative skill to discern the vulgar subtext of its intent: one, Barack Obama’a father was a metaphorical dog on two levels: (a) a rampant unrepentant womanizer; (b) a person bereft of civility in intimate relations with members of the opposite sex. Two, he was literally a dog; and, a black dog at that. The resonance with the African ancestry of Barack Obama’s father and the traditional animalistic metaphorical allusions to which the African is traditionally associated in disreputable literature in America and for that matter globally, is the pained attachment of this exposed exercise in private humor, and the one that is particularly disturbing to many a reader for this kind of thinking has been the tradition of far right activism; and, one prefers to believe was waning in use, alas that is not the case, since it has acquired new life in the hands of a chief judge in the American judicial system.

As one astute blogger remarked: The “joke” doesn’t “clearly insinuates [ sic ] that young Barack’s father could have been a dog, and that this somehow explains why he is black” but it does imply that a white woman that had sex with a black man would also have sex with dogs. This is actually more offensive, in my opinion. It’s sad that race is an issue because ignorant people like this judge deflect attention from the real issues. I don’t care for Obama but next to men like this he seems like shining example of everything we could hope for him to be.  HYPERLINK “http://burning-plastic.tumblr.com/” \t “_blank” burning_plastic ( HYPERLINK “http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2012/03/federal_judge_s.phphttp://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2012/03/federal_judge_s.php)

(March 7th, 2012)

The lessons of this experience for non-American communities in the global family of nations rented with such conflicts are that in the American scenario the writer of the e-mail could have freely written it. The newspaper that published it–(the Great Falls Tribune)-could have freely published it. And, the aggrieved public could have voiced their substantial disapproval once it reached the public domain. The outcome: the nation that is America is free to adjust its collective temperature of moral tolerance for the new violations of its own new codes of decency as it transitions from a Eurocentric to a pluralized Eurocentric-plus, plus, plus, plus, cultural universe-minus external interference. Nice.

The freedom to self define that is the hall mark of the American way is the desire of those nations and peoples globally who would like to regulate their own domestic temperature of tolerance for their own standards of conduct which they perceive the American way (in company, its British ally) as blocking via its entertainment-financial-diplomatic-military-industrial and educational complex. The irony of modernity is that the global family accepts the liberal prescriptions of civility as promoted by America and Britain as its new civilized norms only to find that in the context of empire, doing as empire does, that is, self-defining in keeping with national self perceptions and expectations-national self determination-is defined by American-Anglo empire as anti-imperial and politically disobedient, hence worthy of punishment.

Subordinate nations are to do as they are told and not as the leadership nations of the world do. Obedience to foreign dictates is their lot to experience and limited self definition at that. It is this limitation on autonomy that is the fuel of much acrimony in many quarters in the global community: Their cry: “Why can we not be allowed to set our own standards of morality and self police and regulate in accord our own value systems and have such be respected by all just as leadership nations do?” This is the kernel of much anti-imperial acrimony in the modern world.

Harmful to many communities as they engage in such national debates is their failure to understand what often they do not even know exist-empire, what it is; what are its means and, what are its ends.

Barack Obama as the official symbolic leader of the world’s single largest empire has experienced a verbal drone of vitriolic contempt from Judge Cebull’s e-mail which in no way parallels that of the real drones he has authorized be used in America’s war theatre in the early part of the 21st Century but it sure did hurt-even if, just a little; and it hurted in the American way-in full public domain.

Words: 1, 207

Charles Simon-Aaron:

Mugabe: Land Wars, Resource Nationalism and Empire (Forthcoming)

Class Ideology and African Political Theory (Edwin Mellen Press, 2011)

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