In the 1993 movieÂ Groundhog Day, the Bill Murray character finds himself repeating the same day over and over again. (William Shatner wound up in a similar scenario inÂ Nick of Time, a 1960Â Twilight ZoneÂ episode.)
The endless looping eventually causes Murray to reexamine his life, and set a new course.
After four years of calamity for African Americans, one would think that at least some elements of the Black Misleadership Class would be threatening, ever so softly, to break the cycle of reflexive subservience to Power in a Black face.
Unlike Murray, however, our misleaders show not even a hint of honest introspection, much less genuine self-criticism for having failed to make a single serious demand of the First Black President through two election cycles.
The clock has run out on those who purport to be Black power-brokers, now that Obama is Âfree at lastÂ from ever again having to depend on African American voters.
Organized labor has also shot its wad Â and many hundreds of millions of dollars Â in servile allegiance to the corporate Democrat who is brimming with confidence Âthat we can get what is the equivalent of the grand bargain that essentially I’ve been offering to the Republicans for a very long time.Â
Blacks and labor are about to be shoved off the fiscal cliff, possibly in time for Christmas.
Yes, weÂve seen this story before. However, the groundhog days of ObamaÂs second term will be far more horrific than the cinematic version, because the objective conditions of life in which the story unfolds deteriorate with every passing day. Only the behavior of the Black and labor leadership actors remains the same, as the economic and political landscape crumbles around them.
Now, thatÂsÂ a real nightmare.
As Obama prepares the public for the imminent consummation of his romance with the GOP Â a case of incest, since both lovers are spawns of Wall Street Â labor is reading the same old script.Â ÂWe expect toÂ have the presidentÂs backÂ on the agenda that the voters just declared support for,Â said Mary Kay Henry, president of the Service Employees International Union, as if she had just experienced the election of 2008.
Apparently, in her world, a ÂmovementÂ is anything that moves in tandem with the Democratic president, including into bed with the Republicans.
Labor fails to make a distinction between the presidentÂs back and his backside, which is what he has actually been showing to working people for four years. The SEIU announced that it is sending letters to Congress, urging that Âany dealÂ should protectÂ Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.
The truth is, most Democrats in Congress could be expected to circle the wagons around these programs ÂÂ exceptÂ when their leader in the White House orders otherwise.Â The SEIU has it ass-backwards, and the outcome is numbingly predictable.
National Urban League PresidentÂ Marc Morial is hoping for a Âfair and sensibleÂ plan to get over the fiscal cliff. MorialÂ toldÂ US News and World ReportÂ Âhe is worried that the fiscal cliff would disproportionately affect African Americans because budget cuts would likely slash jobs in state and local government. African Americans make up a disproportionately large share of the public sector workforce.Â
Caught in a groundhog day, Morial cannot remember that President Obama took the initiative to freeze federal workersÂ wages in 2010, andextended the freezeÂ in August of this year, despite (or maybe because of) the disproportionate harm done to Black employees.
ÂBlack Leaders to Discuss Fiscal Cliff,Â reads theÂ press releaseÂ for a forum staged byÂ the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and laborÂs A. Philip Randolph Institute, in Washington, November 14. The notables Âwill also discuss tactics to keep their people engaged in the political process so they hold elected officials accountable and increase black voter turnout in the 2014 mid-term election.Â
You can bet Romney-money that not a word will be uttered in favor of publicly warning Obama not to sell out Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Instead, the notables will pat each other on the back for beating down the Republican electoral challenge toÂ Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
ItÂs in the script Â reality be damned!
In October of 2010, the usual misleadership suspects among Black organizations and labor staged a One Nation rally on the Washington Mall.
It was a pep rally for Obama, although his austerity initiative was already well underway, having targeted entitlements for slashing even before taking the oath of office. He followed through with his Deficit Reduction Commission, which recommended draconian cuts, mostly to domestic programs.
Wars had proliferated under ObamaÂs watch, but there was no complaint from the One Nation speakers, with theÂ exception of Harry Belafonte.
AsÂ we wroteÂ at the time: ÂAfter spending millions to assemble a multitude, Big Labor, the NAACP and the usual Black entertainers – Reverends Sharpton and Jesse Jackson – could not fix their trembling lips to utter one demand to the Power in the White House, whose disfavor they fear even more than they dread the white nationalist hordes of the Tea Party.Â
Two months later, Obama agreed to extend the Bush tax cuts. By the summer of 2011, the president was offering the Republicans $4 trillion in cuts: the Âgrand bargainÂ that he last week reminded us was essentially what ÂI’ve been offering to the Republicans for a very long time.Â
Somehow, none of this computes for the Black and labor leadership classes.
They are trapped in a loop, oblivious to the rubble that surrounds them as they stumble through the last days before the austerity hammer drops.
November 19, 2012