Opportunistic Outrage

By Rathi Ramanathan

Trump was denounced for calling protestors marching against his presidential win “professional protestors” but dig deeper and you start to understand why he might feel that way.

Given the reports of collusion between American liberal mainstream media and the Clinton campaign, there should come as no surprise the ubiquitous spin being fed on the kind of president Trump would make – when the reality is no one has any idea what the man stands for, let alone being able to accurately predict what kinds of policies and actions he will undertake when he takes the reins on 20th January. This moral outrage which has exploded domestically and internationally over the election outcome is probably not surprising to Donald J Trump and his supporters and given the circumstance, he is handling it with admirable restraint.

A keen observer of US politics, I ask where is the same outrage when Black Male Americans are systematically being shot across the country by the police in what can only be seen as state sanctioned institutionalised racism. Similarly the ongoing controversy with the Dakota Access Pipeline which recently lead to the hospitalisation of 17 protestors, suffering from hypothermia and head injuries after being sprayed with tear gas, mace and rubber bullets and doused by water cannon in below zero temperatures by State troopers.

There has been a lot of reassuring words during the last two terms of the Obama administration but no genuine attempt to reform police brutality or respect the decisions of the Native American Sioux to protect their land. These are fundamental issues both affecting livelihoods and lives of communities of colour in America.

When are Americans going to wake up to the appalling record of civil liberties that has been systematically undermined alongside the Police State that is now America.This is the Obama legacy which is going to be handed to president elect Trump, someone many view as dangerous.

While CIA black sites and the use of torture has been removed under Obama, he has gone further than Bush with targeted assassination. This Administration has developed a targeted killing “playbook,” which asserts the right to assassinate citizens abroad through drone strikes. This covert practice which justifies the killing of any military-age male in a drone strike zone as an enemy combatants (both internationally and in the US) unless they are proven innocent remains essentially unchallenged. Till today the Obama Administration has refused to reveal how many civilians have died from drone attacks. How convenient.

There is more.

President Obama began the the War of Whistleblowers with the revival of the century-old

Espionage Act using the tool to prosecute more than double the number of whistle blows than all prior presidents combined.

Also under this presidency, the country has seen unprecedented deportation of Hispanics, and the transfer of $5.1 billion of Humvees, assault rifles and other military grade equipment by the Defense Logistics Agency to 8,000 law enforcement agencies across the United States. The same equipment being used to crack down on protests organised by Black Lives Matter, Occupy Wall Street and other civil society protests.

Then there is the War on Domestic Dissent which continues to include surveillance of peaceful protestors, the criminalisation of journalism and extensive blacklisting of journalists who were not deemed suitably sympathetic of the Obama Administration. In May 2011 Obama signed the renewal of the Patriot Act and signed for the five-year extension of the FISA Amendment Act associated with surveillance of individuals not affiliated to terrorists organisations.

You can be sure Obama’s spin doctors are working tirelessly developing a narrative around the Obama legacy that leaves out his horrific assault on civil liberties. People around the world will look at his legacy with fond reminiscence against a backdrop of daily news of Trump faux pas with his team tirelessly working overtime putting out fires.

What makes me angry is the lack of outrage in United States and internationally. Obama is hugely popular especially overseas and I have to ask my left leaning readers did Obama get a free pass because of the fact that he is black? It is with the same lens that I am happy that Hillary wasn’t elected. Would she, like Obama, get away with murder, if you can excuse the pun. Undoubtedly any attack on Hillary had she been elected would be spun as misogynistic rant by the industry of supporters who must now be drowning their sorrows as they see their careers in the White House take a dramatic turn.

Ultimately it was the millennials who were the kingmakers. Bernie Sanders supporters, they could not bear to vote for Hillary or Trump.They also felt the pressure of the spin that has been building for months that a vote for someone more palatable like the Greens Jill Stein is a vote for Trump. So they stayed at home instead of exercising their democratic right for fear they would be blamed for Trump’s victory. This is the sad state of democracy with the Democratic Party has much to be blamed for.

So despite the doom and gloom out in the twitter sphere I am feeling optimistic because democracy is now at its best as I read about crowds already protesting against the inevitable onslaught of Trumpism and take comfort in the knowledge that this time round the outrage has already started and will undoubtedly continue.



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