by Yvette Carnell
Whenever it occurs to you to open your mouth, or peck at your keyboard, and question my antipathy for both the Obama administration and the Wall St. elite, think about this: Last week a woman was sent to federal prison for food stamp fraud. The woman, who had previous drug convictions, lied about them so she’d be eligible to receive food stamps. The total amount of her fraud was $4, 367 and even though she repaid every penny of the money, she’ll still be doing hard time in federal pen for her offense.
What has this to do with Obama and Wall Street you ask? Well, just name for me one Wall St. hot shot whose gone to jail for engineering the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression? These scoundrels wiped out the 401ks of a giant swath of the middle class and left thousands of others homeless and what did they get in return? Bonuses. Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, and their similarly situated cohorts were allowed to scam the entire financial system, not just one agency, and got bailed out as a consequence.
I know it’s easy to compartmentalize the corruption on Wall Street and discuss it in the abstract, as if political problems aren’t kitchen table problems, but Anita McLemore is a flesh and blood woman whose kids will be without a mother for three years while she’s in lockup. Just the same, those Wall Street bastards are flesh and blood, hoggish cretins who, in a country where justice was distributed fairly and without consideration for privilege, would be in jail. Problem is, you and I don’t live in such a country.
The bigger issue still isn’t, as some argue, the gap between the income of the top one percent and the 99 percent; that’s only a symptom. The real issue is what the income gap emotes: Some lives are worth billions, and thus, must be spared regardless of the damage done, while other lives are worth far less than $4, 367.
And since President Obama is far more concerned with navigating white paranoia than he is grappling with the entrenched inequalities that threaten to turn America’s promise into vaudevillian tripe, then he’s an obstacle, a man who we must contend with as opposed to, say, an ally.
I’m not vilifying Obama, far from it. I’m dealing with things as they are as opposed to how I wish they were. While many people are hoping, fingers crossed, that a second Obama term will be far better than his tepid first, I am dealing with the ramifications of Obama’s inaction. But I don’t wish the President any ill will. Just like everyone else, I’d love to see the economy begin to recover and the unemployment rate go down as businesses begin hiring. Too bad Anita McLemore won’t be around to enjoy the uptick.