or, what Obama taught me about responsibility

Image of the Obama Foundation website, Jan 27, 2017

While we’re all obsessed with overthrowing Trump, I want to remind you why we have him.

Here’s some context for the “help” mentioned in the image above. Estimates are that approximately 17.7 million people, of all identity groups and classes, lost their homes to foreclosure between 2007 and 2015 as a result of the collapse of the bank-fueled greed bubble of 2007/8. According to the Obama Foundation, it appears those who would control the narrative of history are intent on characterizing these people as the “irresponsible.” These were the people excluded from the “help” so generously offered to the 10 million “responsible” people by the Obama administration. These “irresponsible” people pinned their hopes, literally and materially, on his promise of change in 2008. Obviously, they didn’t realize at the time that a representative of the “workers party” would instead blame them for what happened and abandon them. Nor did the others who suffered collateral damage from the collapse in the form of foreclosed rental properties, lost businesses, lost retirement incomes, lost jobs, lost families, security, health and well-being, and everything else that resulted from the economic rape of the country. Surely there were enough people who, by pure luck, were spared the devastation. Would it really matter if we sacrificed a few? Now we know. A significant number of those millions saw the emperor without his clothes. Many stayed home, others decided to blow up the system, yet others looked for alternatives. That, more than any other factor, gave us the disaster that is Trump, Pence, Ryan and the rest of the psychopaths that currently, or will soon, inhabit power.

Evidently, my wife, daughter and I were only half-irresponsible. We lost a home that was functioning as rental property at the time. We witnessed first-hand the operation of a corrupt financial, banking, and legal industry, and its collusion with a neoliberal government to execute a variant of Klein’s disaster capitalism. Robo-signed documents, delay and obfuscation techniques, dirty tricks — you name it, we experienced it. The bank took the opportunity to make out like bandits.

The “responsible” half of our story (the one Obama touts in his philanthropic money-making scheme) goes like this: place a gun to the head of people who have everything to lose and ask them to sign away their future. Instead of Obama sitting at our dining room table, he sent Jamie Dimon. The “help” for this “responsible” homeowner was an offer from the bank to extend our loan to 40 years with a cherry on top in the form of an $83,000 balloon payment due when we’re 90 years old. Again, disaster capitalism at work. Not only did the bank lose nothing, they get to milk us for the rest of our lives and let my daughter pay them a nice lump sum on our way out. I’ll be mowing Jamie’s lawn for the rest of my life. I won’t bore you with the practical effects of this; things like the inability to move or relocate without financial devastation, the inability to ever consider retirement, etc. Suffice it to say, I hope Obama is happy with the billions he generates off the narrative that he did anything to “help” me or my family.

Maybe, just maybe, the lesson learned will be to hold power accountable, even if you aren’t directly, immediately affected. Of course, the fundamentally conservative, selfish, empathy-lacking critics will say this is all privileged whining: “I didn’t have XYZ to lose, so you’re lucky.” As if no one deserves the fruits of their labor. It’s true. We consider ourselves fortunate in comparison to most. But, to those who don’t care, TRUMP YOU!

If you read this far, you might want more detail about the latest philanthropy scam that is the Obama Foundation.