The Second American Revolution

By Prof Alemayehu G. Mariam / November 24, 2008
Best Hope of Earth

In the first American Revolution, Thomas Jefferson declared to a “candid world” that “when in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another…, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.” That revolution was against King George III.

In the Second American Revolution, Barack Obama surveyed the devastation wreaked upon American society and America’s role in the world in the last eight years and declared that in the course of global human events it becomes necessary for America to reunite with the “opinions of mankind”, re-establish its position of global leadership and remain the “best hope of Earth.” Of course, that was not Barack’s original idea; it was an idea put to him by people around the world:

On a trip to the Middle East, I met Israelis and Palestinians who told me that peace remains a distant hope without the promise of American leadership. At a camp along the border of Chad and Darfur, refugees begged for America to step in and help stop the genocide that has taken their mothers and fathers, sons and daughters. And along the crowded streets of Kenya, I met throngs of children who asked if they'd ever get the chance to visit that magical place called America. I still believe that America is the last, best hope of Earth. We just have to show the world why this is so. This President may occupy the White House, but for the last six years the position of leader of the free world has remained open. And it's time to fill that role once more.

The Second American Revolution is against the calamitous legacy of President George W.

The Second American Revolution: Saving the Best Hope of Earth

It is the Second American Revolution, and it’s being televised. It is a Movement of the American People (The MAP). But Barack calls it “change”. He talked about “changing America” at every campaign stop. After his Iowa primary victory, he told South Carolinians that “our time for change has come.” In his final victory speech he said, “It's been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this date in this election at this defining moment change has come to America... But above all, I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to - it belongs to you. This is your victory.”

For the faint of heart, perhaps the word “change” would do. But if one carefully considers the totality of Barack’s message and campaign strategy, it is plain to discern that he is really talking about a Second American Revolution in the form of a new MAP. As Barack said, in charge of the new MAP are ordinary Americans who had long felt marginalized, disenfranchised and victimized by years of deception, corruption and the hypocrisy of the Bush Administration. Bush and his arrogant “neoconservative” con men plunged America into a disastrous war in Iraq on bogus justifications. Bush made sure the proverbial image of the “ugly American” was seared into the consciences of people around the world with the ghastly photographs of torture victims in Abu Ghraib prison, and zombied terrorism suspects caged in Gitmo detention camp for years without due process of law. Bush made it possible for Wall Street sharks to squander billions of dollars in investments of the American people, and swiftly rewarded these brazen crooks with a taxpayer bailout. (They were not unlike the defendant who killed his parents and then asked the court for mercy because he was an orphan.) Bush and his cronies stoked up the “culture wars” polarizing American society on the “hot-button” issues of abortion, gun politics, separation of church and state, affirmative action, the death penalty, privacy, sexual orientation, censorship and so on. When these issues waned, they toiled to create an Amerika that was divided by race, ethnicity, social class and political affiliation under the wicked GOP (Republican Party) political tactician and Ubermeister Karl Rove. When all failed, they scrambled to invent a Palin-esque “real America” where Americans who hold “patriotic values” can hide in the “pro-America areas of this great nation”. For eight years under George Bush, America struggled to be a polity without policy, and Americans put up with an administration bereft of governance. America sleepwalked for eight years without a national policy on health care, energy, immigration, the environment, the economy or foreign policy. To add insult to injury, George Bush thought he had gotten away with it all. This past May, he sighed contentedly: "I'll be long gone before some smart person ever figures out what happened inside this Oval Office."

Healing these and other virtual atrocities committed on the American body politics could not be achieved by mere “change” or “reform”. “Change” suggests making alterations, modifications and substitutions. The damage done to America over the past eight years is so total and devastating, only a Second American Revolution with a MAP can repair America from within and without and make her whole once again. Much to the surprise of George W., there will soon be a really “smart person in the Oval office to figure it out.” The Man with the Plan, with the MAP to lead the Revolution from the Oval Office is Barack Obama. Like any revolution, it is not going to be easy. Barack understands the revolution will be long and hard fought, and formidable challenges lie ahead. That is why he said, “The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even in one term. But, America, I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you, we as a people will get there.”

America is Back, on Track, with Barack Who is Sharp as a Tack!

But what is Barack promising the American people in the Second Revolution, in the MAP? His promise is that it will take some time to repair the damage done by Bush’s unrestrained unilateralism and militarism, but in time America can regain its global leadership acting in concert with its allies in the spirit of multilateralism and collective action. He is saying that the damage done to the American body politics by racial, ethnic and class divisions will take time to heal, but they will be healed as Americans of all backgrounds come together in the spirit of E Pluribus Unum (out of many one) and deal the enormous challenges facing them. He is promising the American people that the damage done to the American psyche by those who use religion as a weapon of mass spiritual warfare and deception in the culture wars; the violence done to party politics by creating red and blue states; the ideological cleavage that separates liberals and conservatives; the sexism and racism that puts asunder Americans by gender, race and ethnicity will be overcome, but it will take time. He is saying that millions of Americans have now opened their minds, their eyes, and hearts, and keenly understand that they share the same destiny; and though they may have come to America in different ships from all corners of the world, they are now in the same boat. Barack is promising that the American people united can never be defeated. That’s right. America is back, on track, with Barack who is sharp as a tack!

America Will No Longer Be a Welfare Department for Dictators

There is an important postscript to the Second American Revolution. It is no longer going to be business as usual in Washington, D.C. Barack did not mince his words when he slammed the creepy lobbyists and influence peddlers who shuffle stealthily in the halls of government. He said lobbyists, “will not run my White House. You [the people] will help me run my White House, when I'm president. I don't take money from lobbyists. I don't take money from PACs. They have not funded my campaign. I don’t take money from federal registered lobbyists, because I want to answer to you when I’m in the White House. I don’t want to answer to all these fat-cat lobbyists!” Such sublime words, beauteous poetry to our ears as we continue our grassroots advocacy to get H.R. 2003 before President Obama for his signature. (Oh! Pity for those poor “fat-cat lobbyists” at D.L. A. Piper! Excommunicated from the White House, the U.S. Congress and the State Department! How the tables have turned!) Now is the time for the people -- for us -- to help Barack “run the white House”, and the Democrats run Congress; and give a helping hand to whomever Barack appoints to lead the State Department.

Months ago, we cautioned the panhandling tin-pot dictators of the world begging alms from the American taxpayer1:

Watch out, petty dictators! A fierce wind of change is blowing across America. A new sheriff is coming to town. His name is Barack Obama. He does not carry a six-shooter. But he carries a law book. And he’s laying down the law for all the tin-pot dictators of the world: “Y’all better shape up, or Barack’s Posse will be right on your tail. That goes for the outlaw Meles Zenawi and his gang of murderers and bank robbers, too… Tin-pot dictators and thugs, listen carefully. Read the writing on the wall. Barack will stand against you as long as you keep slaughtering your people, jail your innocent citizens by the hundreds of thousands and starve the rest by the millions. Barack will turn you back when you come to America’s doorsteps panhandling for military aid so that you can declare war on your people, and destroy your neighbors. Barack will not listen to your BS about democracy while you mercilessly crush legitimate democratic opposition, destroy press freedoms, disregard the rule of law and flout international law. Barack will not be scammed by your foolish threats of imaginary terrorists just so you can trap America in a regional war. No brownie points for offering to fight a needless destructive war in the name of America.

Well, there ain’t no doubt about it. Barack is in the saddle now, law book and lasso in hand. Right-wing haters and tin-pot dictators: GAME OVER!

The writer, Alemayehu G. Mariam, is a professor of political science at California State University, San Bernardino, and an attorney based in Los Angeles. For comments, he can be reached at