Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Love/Hate: Desire, President Obama, and the Right

Allow me to begin by setting up this analogy.

For the past three years, I have had a colleague who has openly expressed her absolute and ongoing disdain for me. At first this hurt me; I had no idea what I had done to incur or to incite this level of hatred in someone who I barely knew and who barely knew me, but soon I came to recognize her reaction as simple and pure jealousy. And soon thereafter, I began to recognize it as so much more.

Other colleagues began to question me as to what I had done to her. Evidently I, or her loathing of me, was her main topic of conversation. Colleagues reported to me that it had gotten so bad that they had to insist that she quit speaking of me altogether.

Then, several times I noticed her standing in my doorway, desperately straining to see what I was writing, what was on my computer screen. And several times as I stood in front of my class, out of the corner of my eye I could see a figure standing just within the shadows peering in. I have been told that it was her.

But most recently, a manuscript I placed in another colleague’s box mysteriously disappeared then, just as mysteriously, suddenly re-appeared a couple of days later. We both shrugged it off, but later as we sat listening to the lady in question give an address, we both recognized the argument she was making. It was my argument as contained in the purloined manuscript.

I was told that I should be angry, and perhaps I should or will be later, but instead I was amused a great deal and even a little bit flattered. What I had perceived as jealousy, what I had perceived as hatred, revealed itself in that instance as a certain admiration, a certain longing, a certain yearning. It is a need to possess me, to control me, to have me need her. It is, in a word, desire.

And in contemplating this moment, I somehow drew a parallel in my mind between this situation and the right’s treatment of President Obama. Perhaps I may be mistaken, but I don’t remember seeing such a virulent outpouring of hatred toward any sitting president in my lifetime. Perhaps I am mistaken, but I don’t ever recall there being this many thinly veiled open threats against a sitting president ever.

The right is beside itself with anger, and this anger has enabled the oft fractured and factioned right, even in the absence of a rational, coherent platform or message, to finally coalesce, come together, around something—their supposed abhorrence of all things Obama.

But you know what? I don’t believe we are witnessing the expressions of a long pent up hatred at all; what we are witnessing is a long pent up desire.

Perhaps I could better express my point in this manner: Love and hate are flip sides of the same coin; each supposes an infatuation with or a tenaciously vigorous inclination toward another, an “other.” This infatuation with, this inclination toward, expresses a certain desire, a certain emptiness that can only be filled by possessing the “other,” by controlling the “other,” by being needed by the “other.” It is only through the “other” that we define ourselves, and that we achieve subjecthood.

And this is, in essence, the basis of the right’s relationship with the president. Theoretically, this is, in essence, the root of racism.

So when you see the throngs of people, their face twisted in rage as they scrutinize and protest every action of the president, when you see and hear them enunciate vague but open threats against the president, when you find that they have twisted the truth into half-truths and outright lies, don’t think of it as hatred. Think of it, instead, as a myriad of expressions of passion.

Think of it as them attempting to fill a sordid emptiness. Think of it as a certain admiration, a certain longing, a certain yearning. Think of it as a need to possess him, to control him, to have him need them. Think of it as desire.


Constructive Feedback said...

[quote]And in contemplating this moment, I somehow drew a parallel in my mind between this situation and the right’s treatment of President Obama. Perhaps I may be mistaken, but I don’t remember seeing such a virulent outpouring of hatred toward any sitting president in my lifetime. Perhaps I am mistaken, but I don’t ever recall there being this many thinly veiled open threats against a sitting president ever.[/quote]

BROTHER, BROTHER, BROTHER - Do you mind if I REFORMAT your question before I respond to it?


1) To support Barack Obama, the Black President and thus defend him against his opponents on the right?


2) To advance the Permanent Interests of the Black Community and make use of the AMERICAN POLITICAL SYSTEM when it is a necessary tool to achieve these ends for the Black Community?

You see, SoulBrother - the more the Black community is made to focus on "the Racist White Folks" and how we must "Protect Obama against assault" the more we are prone to leave the critical issues WITHIN OUR COMMUNITY unmanaged and unresolved.

I say this as a "Right Of Center Black Man" who is a "Conservative Independent". For me - I am unwilling to note that the same MACHINE that President Barack Obama sits atop of is the same machine that controls all of the key institutional seats where Black people live in our highest concentrations.

Instead of me being worried about some slanderous sign that might be considered "racist" I am more prone to make note that the national Attorney General and Education Secretary were forced to got to the City of Chicago today in order to address BLACK ON BLACK MURDER amongst our children.

Chicago which as 49 out of 50 Democratic Aldermen should be a showcase of our own PERMANENT INTERESTS. Instead, once again. the basics are not being covered in the protection of our community.

I struggle to understand THE NEXT STEP POLITICALLY for the Black community? Do we KEEP FIGHTING THE RIGHT WING - despite the fact that they have largely cleared out of Chicago, Philly, NYC, Baltimore, Boston, Newark, Cleveland, DC, Atlanta, St Louis, Memphis, Buffalo, Rochester, Cleveland, LA and many many more cities?

Barack Obama is the most protected human being on the planet.

I THOUGHT that the goal of getting a brother into office was that we were to get PROTECTION for the Brother ON THE STREET?

The way it stands now - our political activity is like a CIRCULAR REFERENCE - we look past the PAST VICTORIES, demanding that those in power that we put in place to DELIVER and instead work to fight our ideological and partisan enemy where ever they are now. Mostly because they are still alive and breathing.

This can no longer be the purpose of our political activism. We are using our own selves in the process.

Bougie Applebum said...

Why am I not surprised? Another great post from the Soul Brother.

Now on to the 'biddness' at hand.

Control is definitely part of the problem. There is a need to control and possess President Obama. But it doesn't just end with him. Right-wing nuttery has a strong desire to control and possess anything and anyone 'different' from themselves. The right has mastered control of their puppet Michael Steele, and it's tearing the clan to shreds that they cannot shake up and control the Obama Administration in the same manner.

I agree, I don't recall any sitting president going through the same public lashings as Obama. But we've never had an African American President before, sooooo there ya go. It gets irritating to watch people challenge every word Obama says. He can come out tomorrow and tell us the sky is blue. Six hours later a horde of people will form groups across America to discredit his observation. And for what? We all know the sky is blue. But because a certain "type" is saying it, the rest of the world refuses to accept it. That's ridiculous. Obama comes with proposals to try to help all classes, and they call him a marxist. Bush "told us" about weapons of mass destruction and the need for a way, and they call him one of the best presidens ever. Hmmm. The old saying is "That's politics". But now I'm inclined to disagree. It's not politics anymore, it's blatant racism. The year is 2009, sure we've traveled a mighty long way, but we still have not reached the Promised Land.

Constructive Feedback said...

[quote]But it doesn't just end with him. Right-wing nuttery has a strong desire to control and possess anything and anyone 'different' from themselves[/quote]

Bougie Applebum:

Yesterday I caught the tail of the the Tavis Smiley show. He had a left wing author on the show who chronicled the future collapse of the Republican Party. He argued that the GOP would have collapsed (along with the White Conservative movement) IF 9/11 and the 'war on terror' had not happened.

Now you and I would both agree that Tavis Smiley a left wing guy.

The thing that I was stunned about that Tavis DID NOT ASK - is: WITH THE RIGHT WING GONE - WHAT DOES THIS BUY THE PROGRESSIVE?

This is what I don't understand about you, SoulBrother and so many others who I call "Black Progressive-Fundamentalists".

We only need to look TODAY at the places where Black people live in our highest concentrations to see what I am talking about. Per my research - any voting district that has a 35%+ Black voting base is totally dominated by Democrats that run all of the key institutions.

Clearly the corollary to your intended focus upon 'the Right wing THREAT' is that, upon their defeat - we Black folks are allowed to live large because this adversary has been displaced as the main blocker to our permanent interests.

YET - as I take a tour around the nation where in fact - THERE IS NO RIGHT WING POWER BASE - the Black Permanent Interests HAVE NOT BEEN ADVANCED.



Are the "Black Permanent Interests" being delivered upon?

IF NOT - then is there a need for the Black Community to realign our activities and consciousness with the process to actually DELIVER upon them?

Anonymous said...

Yes! I believe people hate him because they love him. It sounds crazy but it's true. This is something you just know in your soul. I believe you have to be a evil person to turn love into hate. Like really just admit he is a great man. The right wings is crazy as all get out so I don't listen to them anymore. I just can't!Not to jump off of topic but I also believe this country has a love hate relationship toward black people in general.Great Post!

uglyblackjohn said...

Yep... all true.
Ronald (CF) is talking about something completely different.

macon d said...

I really appreciate this post, very thought provoking. I can see "love" in that "hate," but to me it's more like envy. Which can be a form of love, come to think of it, albeit a twisted one.

Constructive Feedback said...

[quote](CF) is talking about something completely different.[/quote]

Actually, UBJ - I am simply "Going Deeper" than what YOU and others want me to.

It is clear that certain Black people who want to support Obama (sometimes even more than their own permanent interests) must find a way to divert others from making a distinction between "People's viewpoint about Obama as a Black man" and "The Policy Positions Of The President Of The United States".

If they can successfully keep us focused on "Racism Against Obama" and put forth a multitude of "Oh you hate Obama - WHEN DID YOU STOP BEATING YOUR WIFE - Why are you a racist?" schemes - they can thus effectively have a continuous debate with their adversaries but never talk about the substantive issues.

It is quite ironic that on a week when the Federal Attorney General went to Chicago to deal with a environment that is creating a number of "Murdered Black people" few people would dare make note of how during the "Civil Rights Movement" the Federal Government had to protect the lives of Black people using the National Guard and various law enforcement amplifications put forth by various Federal Attorney Generals.

Today's federal intervention to save Black lives, however, will not make it into the history books. The system that is producing Black murder is littered with officials that are favorable to Black people.

Thus UBJ - my "expansion of the focus' is actually an attempt to transform Barack Obama from a "Barack Obama Commemorative Plate" that sits upon many a Black person's living room mantle into Barack Obama - Chief Executive of the Federal Government, with an obligation to coordinate resources to address this situation.

I also note that the City of Chicago, at least on Paper is the shining example of a favorable political climate for Black people as there is nearly a 100% Democratic Control in all layers of local and state government.

Why is it problematic for me to make note of the POLITICAL VICTORIES for Black America and how this has not translated into addressing our PERMANENT INTERESTS?

Unlike most others I am NOT saying "See Democrats don't work - lets vote Republican".

Instead my argument is "DESPITE all that the Black Establishment has told us about the benefit of fusing Democratic politics with Black interests - it has not addressed our key issues. Let is RECALCULATE it all - and push out those who mislead us from their positions in the Black Establishment".

Increasingly WHAT WHITE FOLKS THINK ABOUT US is proving to be the LEAST of the ingredients that is leading to MURDERED BLACK PEOPLE.

uglyblackjohn said...

@ CF - I understand that.
THIS post seems to be about a reaction to a condition while your points seem to focus on the cause.
I'm not saying that either is invalid - just that they are two parts of a conversation.

Constructive Feedback said...

[quote]THIS post seems to be about a reaction to a condition while your points seem to focus on the cause.[/quote]



"Will this world EVER SEE a time when the racial desire for 'One upsmanship' is not present?"

Ultimately I don't understand WHY people even need to be debating other people's RACIAL motivations ESPECIALLY with 96% of Black folks having voted THE SAME DAMNED WAY in an election!!!!!! Do you think that they were voting for THEIR OWN BEST INTERESTS as proven by the conditions that are present in their own community?

Debating about racialism is as fruitless as debating about BREATHING.

Short of you and others detailing how the presence of those who DISLIKE OBAMA BECAUSE HE HIS BLACK has materially HARMED THE BLACK COMMUNITY I don't see it as worthy.

Now I can show you how Black people constantly "trying harder" for policies that have proven ineffective has hurt our community's interests.

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