Front Lines: McCann On Hilary Clinton

Think a Clinton Presidency would wash all the ills of the world away? Think again...

Almost everybody in the Republic and in Nationalist areas of the North appears optimistic that Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee in the US presidential election in November and are looking forward to her trouncing Trump. I can understand the attitude. Trump is a toxic buffoon. If he’s half serious about a quarter of the ideas he has advocated during the Republican primaries, if he was to set out as president to put them into practice, he would take the country to hell in a handcart, like a wretch in a tumbril lurching towards Tyburn.

But this isn’t a good enough reason for supporting Clinton. There has to be a limit on lesser-evilism.

And anyway, Trump as President would be unlikely to try to impose his daft prospectus. The one percent wouldn’t let him.

The last President to come into office seemingly poised to make fundamental change was Barack Obama, soaring to success eight years ago on the high hopes not just of America but of the world. Within weeks of his inauguration, before he had handled a single foreign policy problem or matter of military deployment, Obama was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace. Unreal.

A few weeks further on, it was clear that either he hadn’t been serious about the ideals he’d proclaimed, or that he had been serious but had learnt once he’d sat down in the Oval Office that he would have to put these silly notions out of his head. Close Guantanamo within a year? Bring the CIA torturers to book? End racial disparities in imprisonment rates? Protect social security and boost the incomes of the low-paid? Change the law so as to guarantee union rights? Notachance.

The best commentary I heard on this downward trajectory of trust came with hours of the presidential poll as I stood outside Sandino’s at around two am, sharing a smoke with an old friend I hadn’t seen in many years, Emory Douglas, Black Panther Party Minister of Culture, an accomplished artist who provided front-page cartoons which would abrade your brain and jagged images of revolutionary heroes for the Panthers’ weekly ‘paper back in the 1960s and ‘70s.

The other guy in our aromatic huddle was Panther historian and archivist Billy X.

Emory once responded to a journalist who asked why his work was so negative: “Why do you never paint landscapes?”

“I do paint landscapes,” Emory explained. “It’s just that in my landscapes, the pigs are hanging from the trees.”

I knew that he’d be generally sceptical about the significance of Obama’s triumph. But still. A truly historic day. First black president. He had to be pleased. Here’s what he said.

“It’s a wonderful night, full of hope, and we have to hold on to the hope, so we can push for the things he (Obama) promised would come when he fails to deliver, as he will. Real change, if it comes, will come from below, just like here, just like anywhere.”

Billy X added: “Wall Street will still be there. The Israeli lobby will still be there. The chiefs of staff and the CIA, the industrialists, oil barons, the owners of the media, all of them still there, the people with money and their mouthpieces who hate and fear the working class all over the world. All Obama has won is the presidency.

“All the folk who organised for him down in the streets have to stay together, stay strong, if they are to see this through, because the job’s not done, far from done. If he seriously tried to make the changes that are needed, they’d kill him. Kill him without even thinking about it. Maybe they will anyway.

“If we are ever to win, we must all rise up together.” (I’m still using that line.)

Bernie Sanders’ insurgents should take note of Billy’s advice. Stay together, stay strong, keep up the pressure from below, matter-a-damn who’s president.

You think they couldn’t/wouldn’t hog-tie Trump the way they hobbled Obama? Capitalism would kill its grannie if allowing her to live posed a threat to their system.

Butt of course, it will never come to this. Trump and the pointy-heads around him know the score.

The only circumstances in which the Trump from the stump would win the endorsement in office of the controlling elite would involve a cataclysmic economic collapse and more or less total disintegration of the political system.

The ruling class will, anyway, be gung-ho for a Clinton victory. The most sordid elements of exploitation – the hedge funds, the war profiteers, the billionaire property parasites, the low-pay employers who won’t have a trades unionist around the place, etc. - have been pumping money into her campaign coffers for years, and expect to be repaid in measures that meet their interests.

Trump or Clinton, then? Not as straightforward a choice as might seem at first sight.

Next time: should women want Clinton to win on account of her being a woman?

 

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