A Memo to America

Barack Obama is not your favorite uncle.

He’s not your BFF. He’s not a rock star. He’s not the short, but scrappy white guy who comes off the bench for your college basketball team to the delight of the student section.

He’s an elected official. He’s a civil servant. He works for you. It is both your right and your responsibility to scrutinize and question every single policy decision he makes. It is both your right and your responsibility to parse every public statement he gives. Our population’s failure to do these things is what gave BushCo the freedom to lie, cheat and steal this country into both the financial and moral bankruptcy. Failure to do so under the current administration will only make it worse. What we need from you is not knee-jerk defense of Barack Obama. What we need from you, fellow citizen, is vigilance.

A quick recap of what’s at stake:

  • The financial sector is a shambles of foreclosed homes, insolvent banks and hundreds of thousands of recently unemployed men and women. Once again, the big guy has bent the little guy over and sodomized him with rolled up hundred dollar bills. Once again, he’s going to get away with it.
  • Speaking of financial matters, half of all bankruptcies in this country are caused by medical bills. The wealthiest nation in history has a health care system which The World Health Organization ranked lower than Costa Rica, Morocco, Colombia and 33 other countries when it last produced it’s rankings in 2000. Silly socialists.
  • Our love affair with rockets and tanks has left us with a bloated defense budget that is almost as large as the military expenditures of all the other countries in the world combined. We’ve been in Iraq longer than we were in WW II. During that time, we’ve murdered and/or caused the deaths of as many as a million people, displaced hundreds of thousands more, made cannon fodder of 4,000 Americans, created countless terrorists and spent as many as $3 trillion, according to some estimates. But if we leave too soon, you know…things might really fall apart.
  • Despite our legal, moral and tactical failing in Iraq, we’re poised to redouble our efforts in that other illegal, immoral war of aggression in Afghanistan with a troop surge for that specific campaign and an increase in military spending in general. If at first you don’t succeed…
  • Some Americans still hold on to the arrogant, ignorant notion that our homosexual brothers and sisters do not have the exact same rights as everyone else. (Do you think Barack and Michelle would have settled for a civil union?) While the nation’s gaze was focused on the passage of Proposition 8 in California—a heinous and hateful piece of legislation, to be sure—Arkansas, Florida and Arizona passed laws making it illegal for homosexual couples to adopt. Much better that thousands of children continue to be shuffled to and from various foster homes and orphanages, lest they end of living with a couple of dikes, huh?
  • Oh yeah. Cops are still murdering Black men in the street.

Excuse the fuck out of me if I take a second from admiring how Black and cool my president is to spend time worrying about the actual issues.

“But, Nick. Obama just got into the White House! He didn’t cause all that other stuff!”

As a United States Senator, Obama was complicit in and/or did absolutely nothing to resolve most of the aforementioned issues. (The fact that he was not in the Senate for the Iraq war vote and has said repeatedly that he would not have voted for it is balanced out by the fact that he voted to give President Bush every single dollar he wanted to fight the war.) He may not have been the guy holding Jodie Foster down on the pool table, but he was definitely cheering by the bar.

If I have to hear, read or see one more pundit falling back on some version of that toothless “he just got elected” canard, I’m going to challenge Stephon Marbury to a head-butting competition.

The next friend or family member who allows that idiotic, “He just said that to get elected”, The Spook Who Sat by the Door theory to escape their lips should be given the Ludovico technique from A Clockwork Orange with the violent images replaced with Noam Chomsky speeches.

Yes, the Obamas seem to be a well-adjusted, loving, beautiful family. Who gives a fuck? We have more important things to talk about than what sort of dog Malia and Sasha will get or whether or not Barack is smoking again.

The campaign is over. “Yes we can” should be removed from your vocabulary and deposited in the dust bin of political propaganda forever. Take that limited edition Shepard Fairy print down off your fucking wall, roll it up really tight, and shove it up your ass. You don’t make idols out of employees. The time has come for Americans to stop being cheerleaders and start being play by play analysts. (Think Hubie Brown, not Dick Vitale.)

What America needs is more informed, passionate debate on the merits of the issues. What America does not need is more mealy-mouthed defenses of Barack Obama.

4 Responses to “A Memo to America”

  1. 1 val tenoch Feb 13th, 2009 at 6:14 pm

    Interesting letter, but it seems more than a little hypocritical to blast your fiery rhetoric about how we are all failing to rise to the level of political dialogue you so crave, whilst there is so little substance in your gracious post on how you feel the Obama administration should be dealing with the issues.
    Anybody can whine. Bloating it up with feisty quips and esoteric references does not a brilliant essay make. Put in some weighty steps you see as solutions, and you’ll seem a bit more relevant.


  2. 2 nick.adams Feb 13th, 2009 at 6:42 pm


    Ahhh, the old “anyone can complain about it” canard. This is just one of the many defense mechanisms used by Obama apologists.

    Even the most perfunctory reading of what I wrote offers a clear idea as to where I stand on many issues. Namely an adoption of the type of humane, practical health care system enjoyed by the rest of the industrial world, a drastic reduction of defense spending, an immediate halt to our murderous foreign policy, and the defense of the rights of homosexual Americans.

    If you’re going to comment on something that someone has written, it helps to actually pay attention to what they write.

  3. 3 History Feb 16th, 2009 at 7:47 pm

    1) Re: Cool black president: I think this guy says it best


    2) Financial system: Bad all over, not just here…How does our unemployment rate compare to that of Europe? We have lower unemployment, and we have a higher standard of living. Your opinion might hold more weight if you had a better understanding of economics (If only Obama had a better understanding, as well).


    The problems with the financial system have much more to do with The Federal Reserve under Alan Greenspan, and Barney Frank in Congress, than they have to do with the executive branch:

    Greenspan freaks out when the tech bubble is bursting and lowers interest rates to 1% -> Housing bubble, because at ridiculously low interest rates, the same house payment buys you a much pricier house. Along comes Barney Frank and demands and pressures banks to make loans to poorer people that can’t possibly afford the houses. When they default, he wants to give the bill to the people that made sound housing choices.

    3) Re: health care: I’ve never lived in Canada, but my friends from there say that the healthcare system Sucks and that the US would be insane to go in that direction. What criteria did the WHO use to rank the healthcare systems? Does it measure the general level of health of the population? Does it favor rationed healthcare, where a higher percentage of people have access to healthcare, but the overall quality is horrid?

    4) You are obviously against the war. I will cut you some slack, because at the time of the vote for the war, it was still soon enough after 9/11 that the wounds were fresh. BUT, just because we take out Saddam and they decide to go crazy and start blowing each other to bits, that is their bad, not ours. The whole idea that “America took out Saddam! I’m now going to kill my neighbor!” is the U.S’s fault, just does not hold water. That’s them murdering each other. Ask Iraqi’s if they would like to have Saddam back…and in case you weren’t aware, they just had a violence-free, fair, election. I point you to this point made by an Iraqi Shia Imam:


    5) Re: Afghanistan: Sure…they harbor the people that plan 9/11, and we aren’t supposed to go after them? One can argue that we should have used the resources that we used in Iraq to concentrate on Afghanistan, but to allow 9/11 to go unanswered would have been a horrendous mistake. I point you to one of the people that laid the foundation for Al-Qaeda’s doctrine, Dr. Fadl:

    “…but what good is it if you destroy one of your enemy’s buildings, and he destroys one of your countries? What good is it if you kill one of his people, and he kills a thousand of yours? . . . That, in short, is my evaluation of 9/11.”

    If our response to 9/11 causes one of their leading thinkers to review their doctrine and issue statements against performing such acts in the future, that’s more evidence that we should have responded in the way we did.

    But overall, re: coolness/hipness/eloquence of Obama, I agree…I never cared about how cool or uncool Obama was…It should always be about issues. Dr. Ben Carson’s story is much more inspiring than Obama’s.

  4. 4 nick.adams Feb 16th, 2009 at 10:44 pm


    Financial system:
    No, we do not have a higher standard of living than Europe. Especially after you factor in our incarceration rates and educational system.

    Health care:
    Yes, and I’m sure life expectancy and infant mortality rates are also biased. People in other countries live longer, healthier lives. Fact: no one outside of America goes bankrupt because of health care costs.

    All we’ve done is murder thousands of innocent people who had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11. We haven’t caught Osama. We haven’t weakened the Taliban. We’ve created a whole new batch of radical fundamentalists who now loathe and detest America. That and it’s a crime of aggression just like 9/11 was.

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