Obamabot, noun, – An invective used in blog comment sections to discredit the poster as an unthinking zealot who unquestioningly supports President Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States of America.
Usually I try to put something clever the first few sentences of an opening paragraph. However a funny thing happed on the way to adroitness. In crafting a proper definition for Obamabot I should’ve used not only President Obama’s number, the 44th, but his full name. It’s traditional in proper address of a President of the United States.
I hesitated with President Obama. Even though Barack Hussein Obama is pretty strong name the Right used his middle name as a pejorative, with emphasis on the Arabic name Hussein, as a racial dog whistle. I can’t say President Obama’s full name, or even write it without a flash of memory recalling some GOP jackass enunciating every syllable. It’s like their secret handshake, birther wink and nod. It’s a way of saying “nigger” without actually saying it.
Decorum dictates I pussy-foot around accusations of racial bias, but I’m not in the mood to be tactful. To put it bluntly I’m incensed. The issue of President Obama’s middle name is just another example of one more thing the Right has tainted for the rest of us.
I’m thirty seven years old, part of the tail end of Generation X. I grew up in the Golden Age of Hip Hop. I used to spend nights staying up late watching YO! MTV Raps, and The Headbangers Ball. I wasn’t politically astute during the Clinton years, in fact I didn’t vote in the first election I would’ve been eligible to do so. My political awakening came in 2003, just before the Iraq Invasion.
The Bush years were like a nightmare. I just wanted it to end, to wake up and realize it had all been a horrible dream. I’d all but given up on our government and flirted with anarchist philosophy in 2007. Those folks who are around my age, and completely cynical, or align with fringe political movements? That was me. I was a mish-mash of radical progressive/libertarian politics. I was all over the place because I’d simply given up on our two party system.
See, I didn’t much care for Hillary Clinton, because as Ann Coulter pointed out she was more Conservative than John McCain. John Edwards never really wowed me either. I liked his policies, but I didn’t think he had much of a chance at winning the nomination. I’d held my nose and pushed the button for Kerry in 2004, and I wasn’t too excited about doing the same for Hillary in 2008. I wasn’t a Democrat, but I wasn’t ready to throw away my vote either. One thing the Democrats excel at, their biggest failure, is their adeptness at sucking the enthusiasm out of their constituents.
But there was Senator Barack Obama. He didn’t get a lot of press coverage, but damn it if he wasn’t inspirational. It felt odd saying that about a Democrat, but it was true. But he’d never become President.
I watched the 2004 DNC keynote speech with my mother, who like me had made the transition from Republican to at least Independent. I liked the content of his speech, and there was a small flicker of lost idealism that was re-ignited briefly. “Man this guy gets it,” I said. “He should be the one running for President! I like him a lot more than Kerry!” she said excitedly. I gave her wry smile, and very patronizing with my accumulated knowledge of an almost Bachelors of Arts in History said “I don’t think Amerca’s ready for a Black President.”
But we were in 2008. The guy who had no business winning a Presidential Nomination, a political unknown going up against the Clinton machine, a black man named Barack Hussein Obama started to catch up, and then he pulled ahead in the nomination. People were so sick of George W. Bush, and the Republicans in general, common wisdom was whoever got the Democratic Nomination in 2008 would probably win the White House.
On the night of the election when they announced the results I was so proud to be an American. I’d been wrong. America was ready to elect a black man named Barack Hussein Obama as President. “You know what I like about Barack?” my friend Dave said, “He’s one of us. He’s not some old, white guy who’s from my dad’s era. He’s from our’s. He’s one of us. That’s why I like him.” He was a pragmatic, thoughtful leader who could make a Jay-Z reference work in a political speech. The Right didn’t get it. Former Democratic VP Geraldine Ferraro didn’t get it. But I got it, and so did a lot of folks in my generation. Obama was our guy, not their guy.
Now it’s 2014. President Obama was re-elected for a second term in 2012 by a sizable margin, but at times it feels like we’re not any closer to returning to sanity than we were in 2007. The GOP is crazier than ever thanks to rich assholes like the Koch Brothers AstroTurfing the Tea Party movement due to Citizens United.
It’s because of this insanity, this complete and utter disdain for reality that, as Chez Pazienza pointed out on the Bubble GeniusBob & Chez Show last week, I feel like I have to defend President Obama on everything. It’s almost reflexive now. “The reason I don’t beat up on him is because they beat on him so much…” Chez said. It doesn’t matter if the Rights changes their opinions like the wind. No matter how hypocritical, even if it contradicts a position they held a day ago, it doesn’t make a difference. It’s “Obama is Wrong” no matter what.
America was robbed. We were robbed of a start toward a greater tomorrow. We’ve been stunted thanks to GOP obstructionism. It’s taken years just to get a fucking budget through Congress, to perform the most rudimentary rote tasks of governing, because of the GOP! The Tea Party draws a line in the sand about keeping the lights on, and I’m supposed to expect they have the seriousness to confront complex issues like the Ukraine/Crimea Crisis? That they have the stomach to take on world-wide, species survival problems, like Climate Change? Oh, right they don’t believe in it, even though the scientific community is pretty much in agreement it’s a man-made thing.
Why should I beat up on President Obama? There’s already plenty of people who do. I’m still trying to get the rest of the country to remember who started this whole mess. To never forget that if the GOP gets back into power they’ll do it all over again. I’m pissed off that we can’t have a serious conversation thanks to one party being off in La-La land, and getting a pass. Holding my tongue when self-righteous leftists tell me I’m supporting a war criminal, that Obama is no different from Bush, so they stayed home in 2010.
My response to them is “How’d that work out for Wisconsin?”
I’m an Obamabot because I give a shit about America. I’m an Obamabot because I’m not going back to being cynical. I’m an Obamabot because American progress is being held up, and I want it to end.