Greg Palast advocates a questionable electoral stance. He says, “We must vote for Barack Obama because he’s Black.”
He bases his stance on the sordid United States history of slavery, racism, segregation, and assorted crimes against the Blacks.
US history is steeped in the exploitation of Blacks. This is undeniable, unredressed, and shameful that it has persisted to this day.
But Palast is touting a silly electoral posture that is readily exposed.
First, since voting Black is the basis of Palast’s electoral strategy, then if John McCain had been Black and Obama White, Palast would, presumably, have been advocating a vote for McCain. Or if George W. Bush had been Black, then Palast would have been advocating a vote for Bush — regardless of their electoral or party platforms.
Second, Palast says, “Obama is a Black man.” Yes, he is, but Obama is also a White man. Obama is half Black and half White, so if Blackness is the reasoning behind his voting, then the votes should be directed to presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney, born of two Black parents.
Third, Obama’s policies, largely, represent the status quo of protecting elitist and corporatist privilege — predominantly White. Palast opines that voting in Obama will “cleanse the wound that will not heal.” But how does voting in a person who will, presumably, perpetuate the racial divide — the income and power gaps between Blacks and Whites — serve to cleanse any wound except through the vicarious pleasure derived of one Black man reaching a station through a path cleared by preponderantly White largesse?
Finally, speaking of unhealed wounds, I never heard Palast urging the electorate to vote for presidential candidate Leonard Peltier (Gwarth-ee-lass, “He Leads the People”) in the 2004 presidential election. Peltier has long been suffering a grave miscarriage of justice in the US.
The Original Peoples of Turtle Island have endured the centuries old theft of their land, a wound predating the wound on Black America.
Yes, wounds must be treated immediately — all wounds. However, advocating the rule of establishment candidates on the stolen territory of other peoples is not social justice.
A Black president would be breaking down a barrier and should be applauded in this sense. But a Black who serves at the behest of White money, to which he feels beholden, is purely a guise for status quo power alignments that does little for Blacks other than audaciously offer illusory hopes for change.
McKinney, Nader, and other “third party” candidates campaign on policy with substance that addresses racial inequality by lifting the working families out of poverty and thereby challenging the status quo.
In the end, voters must decide whether to vote for a Black man backed by White money or seek a candidate whose principles will challenge the White corporatist maintenance of the status quo power configuration where Blacks (Original Peoples and other minorities) are, preponderantly, on a lower rung of the economic ladder.