Obama: Man on a Wire

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Barack Obama: Man on a Wire
By Steven Malik Shelton

With the success of president Barack Obama’s reelection campaign which paved the way for him to exhaust a second term, he faces dilemmas as dangerous and precarious as he did during his first term.

It is quite a balancing act that president Obama must perform if he is to maintain equilibrium between the demands of the wealthy elite and the interests of the masses of the American people. And in his last remaining four years the expectations of the so-called African American population may not be so easily assuaged by grandiose political posturing or a philosophy/policy based on the idiom that “a rising tide lifts all boats.”

There are, of course, numerous facets to Obama’s rise to prominence as well as the dynamics of the power he currently wields as president of the United States.

Our economic system is severely flawed and imbalanced due primarily to the establishment in 1913 of the Federal Reserve banking system and its subsequent stranglehold on United States fiscal policies with its capacity to lower and raise interest rates at will and to manufacture money out of thin air.

The Federal Reserve is America’s central bank and it is empowered to loan money to the U.S. Treasury at high interest rates. These monies are then paid back by the American people. This great spending and loaning frenzy between the government and the Federal Reserve as well as foreign debt to nations like China, has resulted in the U.S. being saddled with over 17 trillion dollars of debt.

It is the Federal Reserve Banking System along with the pivotal role electoral politics and finance play in determining who becomes a viable candidate that has hamstrung and severely compromised representative government in the United States.

Candidates running for office (especially at the national level) must first solicit contributions from the corporate sector; for the expense of running a viable campaign can run into millions of dollars for a seat in the U.S. Congress and billions for an adequate presidential candidacy.

Some analysts have attributed Obama’s two presidential victories to a changed racial, social and political dynamic as White America discards entrenched animosities and racial fears about Blacks. They also emphasize that White America is dwindling in population while non-Whites (particularly Asians and Mexicans) are increasing at record rates (most experts predict that by 2050 America will cease to be a majority White nation) and this has opened the door to increased voting participation by Americans from more diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds and sensibilities. Yet, even so, the power brokers of this nation are still White and America is increasingly concentrating its wealth, assets and resources in fewer and fewer elitist hands. And thus it is not so much about numbers as it is about who is firmly situated at the levers of power, privilege and control; and in this America remains unapologetically White.

Much has been said of Barack Obama’s dual racial and cultural heritage, yet much less about the psychic trauma of having to traverse multiple worlds that have been diametrically opposed for centuries. The Black African world of his father (and later the Brown Indonesian world of his step dad); the Caucasian American persuasions of his mother and grandparents, as well as the powerful influences of Black American individuals and communities as he made his way through the vicissitudes of American life.

By and large, or so it seems from his many assertions in his two autobiographies ‘Dreams for my Father’ and the ‘Audacity of Hope’ the Black side of Obama carried the most weight- both intellectually and spiritually – for it anchored him in the thoughts, actions and legacies of such stalwart civil and human rights fighters as Martin King Jr., Malcolm X, and...
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