Obama: the Architect of Making it So Much Worse

Mike Daisey

by Mike Daisey | June 19, 2013

From the remarks Mike Daisey made at the Emergency Forum at Cooper Union June 19, 2013.

I’m here to say that, you know, I too was a fool, which is not a new thing for me. I’ve been a fool for a very long time. I imagined that Obama would not give back that power. But I’ll tell you honestly, standing here, that I would not have imagined in 2008 that he would be the architect of making it so much worse. Like I did not really understand or imagine that not only would he passively let those policies continue but that he would deepen them and extend them.

And I think this is the most important betrayal, that he would entrench them because there was sort of this idea I think in a lot of people in this country that we exist in this sort of dichotomy, flipping back and forth between one side and the other, that we have two sides, that really, that when the sides switch, that anything that’s gone too far will be pulled back. I don’t think that’s true. I think there are two sides, there are two sides of one coin and the metal that makes up that coin is the corporatism, that is woven around the structure that embeds us in where we live.

And I didn’t understand that. I didn’t understand that that he would actually do the things that he’s done. I didn’t understand that he would go after whistleblowers the way that he has. I didn’t understand that he would clamp down. I didn’t understand how false his promises about Guantanamo were. I didn’t understand that he would do so little and as we’re now discovering empower so much because now there’s no even illusion, you can see that in the coverage this week after Snowden, you can see that the dominant tone, the dominant messaging that is coming up from the Mandarins, from the people who are carrying the dominant messaging is that this is the new normal. That was really the dangerous problem and it has never actually had this messaging before – the message is you gave up these rights a long time ago, you just didn’t understand that you did, now you understand it and it’s fucking over, the conversation was actually over in 2001, you just weren’t awake for that and now it’s over and that’s appalling...

I have begun thinking of Obama as Black Reagan. And given that we’ve moved so far over I don’t think that’s so crazy. If you lie them on top of each other and you look at a lot of the rhetoric, it’s not so different. They’re both unifiers. They both strive to bring everyone together to the wonderful middle and though their sides might be different, the landscape has shifted so far to right that things that I never thought were possible are possible now...

It really does my heart good to hear people who understand that this is serious, that something is happening, that things need to be done. And I hope that you are people to do that, with me.