R. Rose
July 22, 2016

Our friends ‘up north’ – Part 2

I ended the first part of this two-part series last week on the speculation that there may well be a trans-Atlantic female duo in political leadership, unprecedented in the male-dominated history of politics in the modern age. That speculation may well not materialize though, if a controversial male challenger can come up “trumps” in the American presidential elections in November.

Donald Trump achieved the first major victory in his bid to succeed Barack Obama as US president, when he was confirmed as the official candidate of the Republican party during its convention, which concluded in Cleveland yesterday (Thursday).{{more}} President Obama, the first Black president of the USA, ends his two-term stint in January next year.

In spite of the historic significance of his 2008 triumph, Obama has had a very trying time in office, being constantly challenged and vehemently opposed by the strident racists in the Republican camp, who, right to the very end, continue to question his very legitimacy, and with it, the right of any non-white person to govern the USA at the highest level. He inherited the baggage of the disastrous militarism of the George Bush era, which gave rise, first to bin Laden and Al Queda, and even when he succeeded in exterminating that threat, has had to deal with the even more deadly Isis.

Domestically too, those foreign interventions took a toll on the US economy, triggering the worst recession since the 1930s, with grave global repercussions. In addition, the first Black president has, ironically, had to grapple with the biggest manifestations of racial strife in the USA since the seventies. It has given rise to the BLACK LIVES MATTER movement and the spilling over of the frustrations of young blacks unwilling to accept either the status of second-class citizens or victims of continued police brutality. To make matters worse, the ongoing wilful murder of blacks by police and security personnel continues to go unpunished, with the courts exonerating the murderers.

It is in this context that one must view the emergence of the BLACK LIVES MATTER movement and the challenge it poses to racism and a prejudiced justice system in the United States. It is being blamed, unjustifiably, by the upholders of racial prejudice, for the killing of innocent police officers, whilst the conditions which brought about this Black revival are being ignored.

Clearly, on the eve of its next presidential election, the USA is experiencing a major economic and social crisis, a crisis which, judged by the responses so far, it seems not to have a clue as to how it can be solved. Both at home and abroad, the standing of the self-proclaimed “leader of western democracy” is in tatters. Its disastrous Middle East policy has failed to make either the US or its European accomplices any more “safe”; racial strife and right-wing and religious intolerance are eating away at its social fabric, with not a glimpse of any hope on the horizon.

This is the breeding ground for the backward responses which were manifested in the right-wing and racist “Tea Party” faction in the Republican Party and the radical drift of that party to the far right, frightening even the traditional conservatives in that party, as well as American allies abroad. It also has implications for those of us in the rest of the world, especially small, developing countries like ours.

Amazingly, in the face of all this, there are those among us who continue to openly express support for those who work against our own interests and are insistent on keeping us “in our place”, that is, in a state of continued subservience. There is even talk of some political parties in the region, not understanding the nature of the bestiality of the “new” American politics, wanting to beg for a revival of the Reaganite International Democratic Union and Caribbean Democratic Union, created in the wake of the invasion of Grenada. When will we learn?

Renwick Rose is a community activist and social commentator.