Tuesday, September 2, 2008



By Jerry Okungu
September 2, 2008
Dare es Salaam, Tanzania

The polls this week showed that Barack Obama and John McCain were no longer neck to neck. The polls were no longer too close to call as the American pollsters are fond of saying. The two candidates were at par! This means that if the elections were held on the day the polls were announced, there would be no outright winner. There would be for the first time in the American history, a draw in the American presidential elections!

Now see this; a few weeks before the Democratic convention, Obama toured Europe and the Middle East. At his Berlin rally, attended by nearly 200,000 thousand Germans and Americans abroad, tears of joy flowed freely for this American phenomenon. The media brought it all live to millions of Americans and the rest of the world to see. His speech at the Berlin rally became an instant classic for the archives. He was the reincarnation of JF Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. combined! Yet when he returned to America, he still could only manage a paltry three point percentage over the lackluster John McCain.

Last week, the Democrats held one of the most successful conventions in history where Obama was declared by acclamation as the Democratic presidential flag bearer. Hilary Clinton endorsed him. Bill Clinton endorsed him. Edward Kennedy endorsed him. 80,000 Americans endorsed him at a public rally in a public stadium. Again, like in Berlin, world media networks brought it all live to the whole of America and the rest of the world. Yet, when the polls were announced on the day a tropical storm scuttled the Republican convention, John McCain was still tying with Barack Obama!

So, what is Barack Hussein Obama really up against in the impending American presidential elections? Is it just the popular McCain or the much loved Republican Party? Is it the exemplary eight- year record of George W Bush that has seen American economy reaching new heights and millions of new jobs created for the American people? Is it the successful war of response against attack by Iraqi foreign forces that George W Bush has successfully repulsed and defeated in their own territory? Is it the capture of Saddam Hussein and the destruction of weapons of mass destruction retrieved from Saddam’s caves? Is it the capture of Osama Bin Laden and the successful extermination of the Al Qaida terrorist groups in eighty countries worldwide?

Let us face it; this election is not about failed policies of George Bush or the unjustified war in Iraq. It is not about American home owners losing their homes to corporate America. It has little to do with millions of jobless and homeless Americans. It has nothing to do with millions young American boys and girls who cannot go to college, not because they are stupid; but because they cannot afford college fees. It is not about young American soldiers dying in a senseless war they cannot win in Iraq. It is not about the loathing of Americans across the globe based on their arrogant ways in dealing with foreign governments.

It is about what William F Pepper says in his book: An Act of State- The Execution of Martin Luther King. Pepper says in Chapter 1 of his book why Martin Luther King had to die:

“ By 1967, there was great concern in the halls of power in America that this most honored black American had decided to use the full force of his integrity, moral authority and international prestige to challenge the might and moral bankruptcy of the American state, which he freely characterized as the greatest purveyor of violence on earth.

“His formal announcement of opposition and condemnation of the American government of the day generated serious apprehension in the boardrooms of the select list of large American corporations which were receiving enormous profits from the conflict in Vietnam. These of course included the range of armament, aircraft, and chemical manufacturers as well as favored construction companies like Texas and Lyndon Johnson’s own Brown and Root, which had multibillion dollar contracts, and the oil companies, again including those owned by Texans Johnson and Edgar Hoover’s friends.

“When one assesses this awesome array of private established, governmental and institutional power, it is eminently reasonable to consider those in government decision making positions as being compelled to listen to, protect and serve the unified interests of this corporate establishment.

“When business speaks with one voice, as it did in respect of the Vietnam war or the purported extreme threat of war at the time when Martin Luther King set himself up in opposition, the relevant government agencies and their officials become mere footsoldiers for the mighty economic interests.

“Out in front in time of war are the armed forces, the intelligence and law enforcement communities. Not far behind are the Executive, the Legislature and the judicial legitimizers, who sanction the necessary actions, and the media conglomerates who, as the publicists of government policy, posing as independent voices of the people, vigorously support and defend the official policy in serious national security instances of significant concerns to the corporate establishment.

“ When one understands this context and those times, more than four decades ago, it is understandable that when Martin Luther King began to crusade against the war and American economic disparity back home, he would cast a long shadow over the economic forces of America.

“By 1967 King began to formulate a strategy to address the widening gap between the rich and the poor. The project gradually took the form not of a match by itself but the extensive Poor People’s Campaign and mobilization culminating in an encampment in the shadow of the Washington Memorial.

“If the wealthy and powerful interests across the nation would find Dr. King’s escalating activity against the war intolerable, his planned mobilization of millions of poor Americans against the Washington establishment could only engender outrage and fear.

Seen in this context, the dilemma Obama faces today in his quest for the White House is pretty identical to the forces that confronted Martin Luther King forty five years ago. All one needs to do is to replace King with Obama, Vietnam with Iraq, Lyndon Johnson with George W Bush and the scenario falls in place for Obama today.

This time round, Obama must face the closely knit American power barons that are present in every social stratum that are bent on protecting their three hundred year old privileged status. They come in many forms; as media moguls, journalists, corporate America, evangelists, gun rights lobbyists, anti- gay and prolife activists, weapons manufacturers, oil magnets and of course America’s international economic hit-men.

These are the influential opinion leaders and pollsters that Obama’s presidency is threatening. They will do all in their power to scuttle the first black America’s most serious contender to the throne.