bush as oedipus?

Okay, so Bush did not kill his father and marry his mother, but humor me for a minute. I’m teaching Sophocles’ Oedipus the King in my drama class this week. I don’t think I’ve read this play since I taught it in a drama class at Xavier University at least ten years ago. But I like the play and I’m enjoying re-reading it and teaching it now. I especially love the character of Teiresias. I wish Bush had a Teiresias to advise him (or any other U.S. political leader for that matter). I suppose in a sense there are many Teiresias-like figures–those who have foretold of the bad omens that Bush (and his predecessors) have brought to the U.S. But I just love the metaphorical power of this man who is literally blind but who sees and knows beyond all others. And I love the way that he speaks truth to power.

OEDIPUS. Indeed I am
so angry I shall not hold back a jot
of what I think. For I would have you know
I think you were complotter of the deed
and doer of the deed save in so far
as for the actual killing. Had you had eyes
I would have said alone you murdered him.

TEIRESIAS. Yes? Then I warn you faithfully to keep
the letter of your proclamation and
from this day forth to speak no word of greeting
to these nor me; you are the land’s pollution.

For I think that Bush & company should be credited with so much of the death and destruction in the world as well as in their own backyard. I mean, if we had such a person, who was actually credible, respected, and taken seriously then perhaps Condoleeza Rice wouldn’t come to Palestine and say things like this:

In spite of this, Rice made a remark during a press conference with the Israeli Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni, and sdad that she has faith in the Israeli intentions. “I don’t believe that it is Israel’s policy to increase activity in the settlements, rather it is to decrease activity”, she stated.

Rice also stated that she considers settlements an obstacle to the peace process.

Because as it is they sound psychotic. How is it that a report is released about increased settlement building on the same day as Rice’s arrival and yet she can still make such statements? Is she smoking crack cocaine? I mean, really, how?

Or, how about this news from today–an update on deaths in Gaza due to the Israeli Terrorist Forces siege on the area:

The Palestinian Ministry of Health at the Hamas-led government in Gaza reported on Tuesday that 78 days after the truce deal came into effect in the Gaza Strip, 46 patients including 10 children, died due to the ongoing Israeli siege on the coastal region.

The ministry said that a total of 241 patients died due to the siege which emptied all hospitals from the basic medical supplies and equipment while the patients were barred from leaving the Gaza Strip for medical treatment elsewhere.

Or, how about this, from Nablus, last night (same story in Khalil and Jenin):

n Nablus troops roamed the main roads of the city, searched and ransacked residents’ homes in nearby Balata and Askar refugee camps. Troops opened their gunfire and concussion grenades, no injuries were reported.

I spoke yesterday of all the hope people here seem to place in the idea of a President Barack Obama. But let’s leave foreign policy aside just for a moment. I also mentioned yesterday that he seems to care little for Kenya (or Africa as a whole for that matter) given the very little attention it seems to get in his speeches and foreign policy agenda. But many African Americans and liberal Americans (I mean that in the pejorative sense) seem to think that by virtue of the color of his skin he will be different. (Which, frankly, is just as racist as those who would not vote for him because he is Black). Why is that? Is Rice any different? Does she not do her fair share of subjugating the brown people of the world? Take the situation in New Orleans, which, until this day remains a nightmare for the largely African American displaced population. In a great article that came out today by Glen Ford we see precisely what Obama thinks about this community and its context:

Local, state and national forces, public and private, have conspired relentlessly to keep New Orleans unlivable to the unwanted classes. Public transportation is down 80 percent. A majority of Black residents were renters, yet no renters have gotten anything from the $10 billion Road Home Community Block Grant. Rents are up 46 percent, most public housing demolished or marked for destruction, while 71,657 “vacant, ruined unoccupied houses” anchor metropolitan New Orleans in social death. The city is number one in physical death by murder, while psychiatric hospital beds are down 56 percent. Three hundred Louisiana National Guardsmen patrol the streets, in lieu of cops.

“No renters have gotten anything from the $10 billion Road Home Community Block Grant.”

Is it any wonder that only 11 percent of families have returned to the Lower Ninth Ward? The Katrina crisis continues because Power is determined that the Black and poor will not be permitted re-entry.

Barack Obama denies that racism plays any role in this. “There’s been much attention in the press about the fact that those who were left behind in New Orleans were disproportionately poor and African American. I’ve said publicly that I do not subscribe to the notion that the painfully slow response of FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security was racially-based. The ineptitude was colorblind,” said Obama on his web site, September 6, 2005. He still says so.

For three years, Power has ensured that the New Orleans Black Diaspora remains scattered. For the forces of organized racism, it is a success story; there’s nothing inept about it. Barack Obama will do nothing to facilitate the return of Black New Orleans, since no “malice” was intended. “…I see no evidence of active malice, but I see a continuation of passive indifference on the part of our government towards the least of these.” But Obama is worse than “passively indifferent.” By denying the reality of racism, he transforms the monumental injustices of Katrina into motiveless mistakes that somehow continue to replicate themselves to the disadvantage of the same group of people.

And what of the some-odd $250,000 being spent on the Democratic Convention itself? Couldn’t this be better spent on the people of New Orleans? What is even the use-value of such a meeting? The waste of spending is unbelievable, not to mention the corporate jockeying one sees when watching news reports of the convention. Actually, Al Jazeera did a whole story on how they sponsor various events in the hope of getting the would-be candidate/future president’s ear.


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