Friday, March 7, 2008

U.S. Civil Society & Presidential Election 2008

Hillary a "monster" ? Hillary is "stooping to anything" ?

Is Samantha Power ex-Harvard President Lawrence Summers' twin from hell? She should resign just as Summers was finally forced to.

I voted for Obama. I think he delivers an authentic message. So does Hillary. Voters have the legal right to choose through the electoral process.

But Samantha Power discredits Obama's campaign and devalues the democratic process which the world's nation-states are desperately trying to develop, by abusing her First Amendment rights of free speech with her incendiary ad hominem attack against Hillary Clinton.

Power does not work for the Jerry Springer show does she? She is employed by Harvard and she owes responsibility and can be held accountable for her public statements.

Power is a self-appointed, Harvard-anointed arbiter of the "Practice of Global Leadership and Public Policy" at the Kennedy School of Government. She failed to be responsible to this prestigious and well-regarded institution and she has demonstrated she is not a global leader by any stretch of the imagination.

As a post-colonial sociologist and a civil society activist I would characterize Powers' gratuitous verbal violence against Hillary Clinton, as part of of the practice of Systemic Whiteness. In the U.S. nation-state, Whiteness is a System of Power in which Race is deployed to assert and maintain POWER.

By this Theory, Behaviors and Cognitive Constructs (Power's statement is an example of a cognitive construct) within a nation-state context can perhaps best be understood by framing and referencing those behaviors and cognitive constructs within the existing System, Structure and Ideology of that particular nation-state or region or political ecology/human geography entity.

Whites in particular exercise unearned skin privilege to damage democratic process for the Greater Collective Good (GCG) because they have an unfortunately long documented history and contemporary posture world-wide, of a profound misplaced sense of entitlement under a pervasive structure, system and ideology of Whiteness.
Because Whiteness is a 3-part structure of Power, any one of us, whether as individuals or constituted as a group, can be impacted and constrained, albeit unequally, by its overarching as well as embedded and entrenched characteristic of Power.

People cannot just abandon logically reasoned explanations (a definition of theory) when it suits them. Samantha Power fumbled badly. She exposed her lack of ethical authority in the matter of political debate as part of an election process. She abdicated her civil society responsibility.
Power should be held accountable and she should pay the price. Resign from the Obama campaign effort AND from Harvard's KSG.

But I guess being constructed as white, like her colleague on the right, Ann Coulter, with entrenched white skin privilege, she will not be held accountable. And even if she does resign she would still find another job in short order (like Don Imus?) because the SYSTEM of Whiteness favors her with unearned white skin privilege.
Jesse Jackson when he was running for President, was made to pay the price when he made his comment about
Hymietown. But Samantha Power will probably go "scot" free. (see her interview with The Scotsman)

Dr. Chithra KarunaKaran
City University of New York

Chithra KarunaKaran
Ethical Democracy As Lived Practice