As a journalist, what is my true duty in the presidential campaign: be realistic or feed the illusions? If you followed my Chronicles of the past four years, you know very well what I think of our outgoing president: launched by the Chicago democratic political machine, this so-called reformer is a false token that has sold, long ago, to interest financial and oligarchic of his party at the expense of ordinary people, especially the young and the poor who have naively supported his candidacy in 2008.
Even the most loyal supporters of the president are disappointed. Back, since last Wednesday, the political birthplace of Barack Obama, where I interviewed democratic politicians, a figure in the Chicago Tribune jumped me to figure as the key index to explain how the obamien dream has become a chimera. Among voters 18 to 34 years of the city of Chicago, 138,000 fewer than in 2008 are registered on electoral lists; they are 50,000 less in the nearest suburbs. David Yepsen, researcher at Southern Illinois University, the survey by the Pew Research Center in Washington shows that Obama militants have lost much of their enthusiasm for politics, either due to lack of a primary among Democrats campaign, either by the shock of reality: ‘of enormous debts school… and the decline of opportunity for employment’.
No wonder, therefore, to read in the Chicago Sun Times that the proportion of people who work for low wages in Chicago grew by 30% for 10 years, with more in addition to graduates who earn $ 12 or less time. At the same time, the number of homicides in late September is up (398) and exceeds 25% of 2011 for the same period (318), while the price of real estate and housing is again declining. Really, in Chicago, Yes we can! became an insult and a mockery.
As for me, which I never believed in the illusion of obamanienne, the decline of participation for the next poll as well as the decline in the quality of life in my hometown, leave me a bitter taste. It’s well and good to have referred just in my analyses, but not I also duty to provide, as requested by the estimable Edward Saïd, «resources of hope ‘? Unfortunately, it has become mission impossible.
Last week, while I was preparing for an intervention at the Brooklyn Book Festival, I was moved to see hundreds of people queuing to enter the room. I knew in advance that my two colleagues, Gail Collins and Jodi Kantor of the New York Times, would mainly be pro-Obama and critical Mitt Romney and I swore to go gently, and this, to avoid offending and our black entertainer and left-leaning listeners in Brooklyn and Manhattan. It was the perfect opportunity to speak frankly with my fellow citizens without giving the impression of being a Communist or an agent provocateur coming from the right.
However, my two colleagues have told stories about American policy so difficult to swallow, so unreal, that I quickly dropped my bonhomie. Two declarations were offended me: first, according to Collins, the gaffe famous of Romney, where he mocked in private “47 %” of Americans who allegedly paid no taxes and lived fully at the expense of the federal Government, was worse than the public of Obama shares (listed by your faithful in a whole new book) that really adversely affect health of the poor and average people. Secondly, Kantor insisted on all raw nonsense: Barack was a “independent Democrat from Hyde Park» (area where the University of Chicago), Michelle”hated politics”and did not want that Barack enters. support for same-sex marriage showed that Obama was driving the country in a way “to left”.
Alas! I would like to be the voice of hope, but before my “left” colleagues who refuse to do their duty, I am forced to my critical voice. Too easy to ridicule Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, their shortcomings are many and obvious.
Let me give you a worse example that advanced by the mediocre journalists “liberals” of the Times. The excellent journalist Eric Alterman of The Nation, left weekly, recently denounced the Washington Post for abandoning its ‘constitutional role of guard dog monitoring the Government. According to Alterman, the Post ‘ seeks to create a sense of false equivalence between the Republicans – whose lies have become endemic and the central part of their agenda – and the Democrats, who remain largely based on reality. Alterman and his colleagues are outraged by how Ryan handled a speech given by candidate Obama to Janesville, Wisconsin, in February 2008, which would have falsely suggested that the local General Motors plant would remain open under a Obama Presidency.
Indeed, the quotation chosen by Ryan tweaked the Obama speech, because the plant had been closed in December 2008, before Obama begins its mandate and don’t raise the autoprogrammee industry rescue plan, it noted, the administration under George w. Bush. But Alterman, it should also honour its “constitutional role” and read the whole speech of Obama, a masterpiece of duplicity where he attacked his rival Hillary Clinton for having “rented the benefits of NAFTA after its promulgation by her husband”, while Obama acknowledged that free trade agreements had eliminated employment. I invite you to read the full text on the Internet, but here is an interesting excerpt: ‘we cannot prevent all jobs to move overseas… “. [But] while I am president, I do sign no new exchange agreement if there is no… protection for American workers. »
Alterman and her colleagues, is it so difficult to mention the reform of NAFTA (reform promised by Obama in 2008) and three free trade agreements signed by Obama with the Korea of the South, the Colombia, and the Panama, three agreements that will cost, too, employment to Americans? I can always hope.
John r. MacArthur is editor of Harper’s Magazine. His column is published on the first Monday of each month.