Us Politics & Economy

Obama Kidnapped by Ruling Class?

A Black Agenda Radio Commentary By Glen Ford

Going on seven months into the Obama presidency, with all the accumulated evidence that Barack Obama is a thoroughly corporate politician by nature as well as circumstance, much of the Black Left remains mesmerized—and that’s a kind way of putting it. The psychological mechanisms of denial have overwhelmed the thought processes of some of our most valuable and esteemed thinkers. Desperate to hold on to the wishful illusion that the president is an ally and an asset, they convince themselves that their Obama—the one that lives in their heads—has somehow been captured, against his will, by the enemy.

Such mental contortions would be entertaining if they were not being performed by some of the brightest minds in Black America.

On July 20, in Los Angeles, Pacifica radio station KPFAs excellent program “Voices from the Front Lines” featured Dr. Horace Campbell, professor of African American Studies at Syracuse University, prolific author and one of the shining lights of the Black Left. The discussion was to revolve around the president’s recent trip to Africa. Dr. Campbell immediately launched into what seemed to be a defense of Obama, although no one on the show had yet criticized the president.

He said that—and this is verbatim—“Obama is trying to walk between two different constituencies. He’s trying to walk between the people who elected him and those who have kidnapped him….” Dr. Campbell then proceeded to list those who had “kidnapped” the president. They were “…the military, the banking, the oil and gas, and pharmaceuticals.”

Apparently, Obama has been kidnapped by the entire ruling class. The military, the bankers, the oil barons, the drug profiteers—all of them ganging up together to snatch Obama off somewhere. What a picture! This mob of rich guys and military men must have beaten each other up trying to get hold of an arm or a leg of Obama. Was the president kicking and screaming?

My colleague Bruce Dixon suggests it was a real trick for Obama to get kidnapped and paid the ransom, too—considering the millions in campaign contributions Obama got from the same gang on his way to becoming president. And just when did this kidnapping occur? Was it before the Goldman Sachs gang, which had also been President Bill Clinton’s Goldman Sachs gang, replaced George Bush’s Goldman Sachs gang as the guys in charge of the government’s economic policy? Was Obama kidnapped before he decided to keep George Bush’s Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, on the job, the only time in history that a Defense Secretary has been allowed to succeed himself under a new president? Maybe a kidnapping could explain it, since nothing else does.

Dr. Campbell said lots of other things in the interview that confused me. You can go to the archives of the program, and hear it for yourself. All things considered, Dr. Campbell said he’s “not going to fault Obama.” And I guess I won’t either. Obama never said he was kidnapped. He didn’t mess up some of the brightest minds in Black America. They were done in by their own overactive, desperately wishful imaginations.

Glen Ford is executive editor for Black Agenda Report., August 12, 2009