Thursday, November 6, 2008

Back To Scorched Earth

Near the end of "The Matrix Revolutions," Neo and Trinity fly to the Machine City, encountering massive firepower from Sentinels. To avoid getting blown apart, Trinity steers their ship through the electric storm clouds that cover the Earth, and for a brief instant, is exposed to blue sky and sun, a sight not seen by human eyes in over two hundred years. "It's beautiful," mutters Trinity, just before the ship drops back down into the grit and machine grime, crashing into a steel tower which kills her, leaving Neo stranded. He helps the machines cleanse the Matrix of a destructive virus, dying in the process. In return, the machines cease their war on the humans, allowing those plugged into the Matrix to leave should they desire.

I wondered how humans, who've lived their entire lives in a fantasy world, would adapt to, much less accept, the real world of darkness, misery, and struggle. We never find out. The final smiles are on the faces of the machines. Despite their generosity, they are still in control.

Tuesday night, many saw a bit of blue sky and sun, the effects of which spilled into the following day. I don't know what your experience was like, but here in Ann Arbor, most people I ran into on Wednesday were decidedly giddy. Especially African-Americans. A warm, convivial feeling all around. It was nice, but the reality of this savage world will kill that off sooner than later. For while the symbolism of Obama's victory will always resonate, the man was chosen to manage a corporate/military empire. And so far, our Manager-Elect has not gone against brand. His first cabinet move, asking Rahm Emanuel to be White House Chief of Staff, is concrete proof of that. Obama's followers may still be weeping, dancing, smiling, but the man himself is consolidating his new power, placing the cutthroat Emanuel in a prominent position.

How are you liking CHANGE so far?

I haven't read the liblogger reaction to this; it's too soon, and I don't need the aggravation. But based on my experience with that tribe, some will be pissed off or frustrated, more will shrug their shoulders and go along with it, and the truly committed will find a positive angle, hoping to morph, at least in their minds, Emanuel's pro-corporate, pro-imperial beliefs into something vaguely "progressive."

In other words, liberals will remain plugged into the machine.

For all of the reactionary howling about Obama's link to Bill Ayers, it's Emanuel who boasts some notable terrorist ties. In the 1940s, his father, Benjamin, helped smuggle weapons to the Irgun, Menachem Begin's right wing Zionist militia which not only terrorized and butchered Palestinian civilians, but bombed the King David Hotel in 1946. The son did not reject his father's legacy, establishing a tight bond with AIPAC, serving as a conduit between them and Obama, quelling any anxiety that lobby might have felt about the Illinois Senator. And, naturally, Obama said all the right things about Israel, Iran, Hamas, and Hezbollah, ensuring that US policy in that region will remain as is, with perhaps some tweaking here and there.

Keep smiling, though. I'm sure that President HOPE has only our best interests at heart.

READ: Glen Ford's post-election take at Black Agenda Report. Also, my friend Alaya Dawn Johnson, who like me didn't vote for Obama, but had a similar reaction to his acceptance speech, for far better reasons.