The evolution and devolution of Barack Obama. By Yilma Bekele
President Obama is not new to oppression. He started his political life as a community worker. As a grassroots organizer, he helped the disadvantaged stand up for their Constitutional Rights so they could enjoy life and liberty as free citizens. His constituents elected him three times to the Illinois Senate, and once to the US Senate, and finally to the Presidency.
His election in 2008 is considered a historical moment in the Republic’s history. His campaign to win the nomination, and his tussle with Senator Clinton was bare fisted, and his demolition of Senator McCain was viewed as just phenomenal.
He has done a lot of good to help the disadvantaged in the USA. His signature health care bill (Obama Care) is a great achievement by any standards. He has filled many judicial seats with progressives and minorities; the dividends will ripple for generations to come.
Mr. Obama has been said to have evolved on a variety of issues. It could be seen as going with the flow and accepting the inevitable or seen as rethinking one’s core values and beliefs to come to a new and different conclusion. History will judge if the President was acting as a consummate politician and blowing with the wind or if he is genuine in his belief in change.
The war in Syria and the group referred to as ISIS is a good example of Mr. Obama’s evolution. He did not think much of President Assad and thought less of the opposition. In an interview with the NY Times he said, ‘This idea that we could provide some light arms or even more sophisticated arms to what was essentially an opposition made up of former doctors, farmers, pharmacists and so forth, and that they were going to be able to battle not only a well-armed state but also a well-armed state backed by Russia, backed by Iran, a battle-hardened Hezbollah, that was never in the cards.”
That was August of 2014. Senators Mc Cain, Rubio, Cruz were screaming for war and and ISIS took center stage and in September of 2014 Mr. Obama evolved. He authorized airstrikes in Syria and pledged to train and equip the opposition to Assad.
In a 1996 campaign questionnaire when he ran for Illinois State Senate, Mr. Obama supported same sex marriage. In 2008 when he ran for the Presidency, Mr. Obama declared ‘I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman,’ he continued, ‘Now, for me as a Christian—for me—for me as a Christian, it is also a sacred union. God’s in the mix.’
By October of 2012, Mr. Obama evolved on the same sex marriage issue by saying, ‘Ultimately, I think the Equal Protection Clause does guarantee same-sex marriage in all 50 states.’ His opponent Governor Romney, who used to boast of his ‘better than Kennedy’ stand on matter of gay rights devolved into a staunch conservative while Mr. Obama saw the writing on the wall and moved further to the left.
How do we see Mr. Obama’s current love affair with dictators and Human Rights abusers in Africa? Did he evolve or devolve is the questions Africans are asking. Mr. Obama in 2008 came with the message of ‘Hope’ and the whole world was electrified with his victory. Africans were particularly elated by the news. One of our own has become boss of the whole planet.
The young President rode the wave like the professional he is. His speech in Cairo was watched by all third world people that look to the US to take the lead in matters of Global Peace and Prosperity. He did everything to make us believe good days were ahead. The following four excerpts are taken from his speech in June of 2009 in Cairo, and the one on July of 2009 in Accra, Ghana.
But I do have an unyielding belief that all people yearn for certain things: the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed; confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice; government that is transparent and doesn’t steal from the people; the freedom to live as you choose. Those are not just American ideas, they are human rights, and that is why we will support them everywhere. Cairo speech June 4th 2009
No matter where it takes hold, government of the people and by the people sets a single standard for all who hold power: you must maintain your power through consent, not coercion; you must respect the rights of minorities, and participate with a spirit of tolerance and compromise; you must place the interests of your people and the legitimate workings of the political process above your party. Without these ingredients, elections alone do not make true democracy. Cairo speech June 4th 2009
In the 21st century, capable, reliable and transparent institutions are the key to success – strong parliaments and honest police forces; independent judges and journalists; a vibrant private sector and civil society. Those are the things that give life to democracy, because that is what matters in peoples’ lives. Accra, Ghana speech July 11, 2009
As we provide this support, I have directed my Administration to give greater attention to corruption in our Human Rights report. People everywhere should have the right to start a business or get an education without paying a bribe. We have a responsibility to support those who act responsibly and to isolate those who don’t, and that is exactly what America will do. Accra Ghana Accra, Ghana speech July 11, 2009
President Obama was back in Africa just last week. He visited Kenya, the home of his father and made a stop in Ethiopia to speak at the Headquarters of the African Union in Addis Abeba. I am afraid the old and tired Obama has devolved on us. That youthful exuberance is replaced by cynicism and indifference. He came to lecture Africans. He wanted us to march on his parade. It was all about him. He reversed that famous Kennedy quote right side down. He asked African leaders, ‘What can you do for me not what can I do for your people?’
Africans expected that their powerful, rich son coming home with his own private plane and escorted by Fighter jets, helicopters and drones would level the playing field so we all can play and compete to win. That is what Roosevelt did for Europe after the devastating war. He loaned them money, he made sure that Democracy and Human Rights were respected and he laid the foundation for what Europe is today. We expected the same treatment for our abused continent.
I am afraid that Mr. Obama was a disappointment to his East African cousins. He referred to the Ethiopian fascist regime as a democratically elected equal. That is not fair to the many Ethiopians who were killed by the Government goons in every part of the country, who were jailed for speaking out, who have lost their job and family belongings because they dared to stand up and challenge the TPLF regime currently masquerading as EPDRF. It is not that Mr. Obama is not aware that the TPLF regime sabotaged and banned Andenet, manufactured chaos inside AEUP, deleted Semayawi Party candidates and used its monopoly of the media to scorn and demean the opposition.
President Obama is aware of all that and more. He is just like his predecessors that used to change regimes in Latin America on a whim. The President is flirting with today’s dictators that have learnt the lesson of appearing Democratic and acting like a thug. Latin America today is growing out of the pains inflicted by the CIA and is wary of its giant neighbor to the north. The policy of propping Generals and dictators did not bring peace or prosperity. It only resulted in mistrust. It would take a while to start a new era of equal relationship.
Susan Rice Obama’s National Security Advisor could not hide her feelings about TPLF winning 100% election joke the regime played on Ethiopians. I am sure she told Mr. Obama. His Department of State yearly report on Ethiopia reads like a horror story and that is the sanitized version. The real story the Embassy reports through secure channels that was released by Wiki leaks is testimony to man’s inhumanity to man. Just because the fascist regime is willing to send its soldiers to further a proven not to succeed policy President Obama turned his face around and pretended not to see. On behalf of all those that were murdered by TPLF, on behalf of thousands in prison such as Eskinder, Andualem, Temesgen, Wubshet, Andargachew, Bekele, Abubeker and others we peace loving Ethiopians with our friends all over the world are not happy with your policy of appeasing dictators. In your own words ‘you can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig’
The bottom line is that no one knows our condition better than ourselves. Right now it is fair to say that most Ethiopians have concluded that there is something majorly wrong in our country when all the power is concentrated in one little clique. The Ethiopian people are attempting in many ways to regain their authority over their country. There are many ways to fight injustice. Mr. Obama’s America was founded by the colony’s refusing to acknowledge the sovereignty of the British Monarch on the land they had built by their own blood and toil. They went to war to protect their right to ‘Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness.’ That is what the Ethiopian people are compelled to do. It is natural and no amount of force would stop man’s quest to be free.
Professor Cornel West in one of his interviews referred to Mr. Obama the ‘Black face of the American Empire.’ The current visit to Africa seems to have confirmed his thesis. Anyone that goes to Africa and raises Gay Right issues as Mr. Obama did during his press conference with the Kenyan PM makes you wonder about the kind of data he gets from his expert and impartial Advisors. I was forced to think was he playing to the US audience or did he really think that most Africans have evolved with him on this issue and go to bed hungry thinking about same sex marriage. I do not mean to belittle the Human Right aspect of the question but in today’s Africa finding food and shelter ranks very high.
Mr. Obama has another year and half to go. Anything is possible, and the chances of further evolvement and show of empathy for those under dictatorship is always possible. We won’t hold our collective breath for such eventuality because we have decided to do the job ourselves. When Mr. Obama understands our predicament we are certain he would do what our freedom fighters are doing currently in Northern Ethiopia and soon to spread all over Ethiopia.