Tuesday, 8 October 2013

President Othello?

There are certain occasions when eerie parallels arise between literature and real life which are obvious to all. Such a similarity may be observed  between Shakespeare's Othello and the current situation in American politics. Much as the Venetians in the play had a man of African descent as a general (while clearly from some area of North Africa, it is unclear whether Othello was intended to be black or simply a darker-skinned Arab), the United States now has for the first time in its history a man of African descent as its President. In addition, much as there was a malignant man determined to bring down the noble Othello in the story, so there is an entire faction of men and women in this country determined to do the same with President Obama.  This faction in question, of course, is the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party especially in the House of Representatives, which in its latest act of fanaticism to stop or at least retard a modest and conservative healthcare reform plan has shut down countless government functions including among other things the virtual entirety of NASA and various government databases that provide all sorts of useful information. Meanwhile these Congressmen have blocked a "clean funding" bill that would resume funding for the government from coming to a vote without having to accept extortion due to the spinelessness of Speaker Boehner and the fear most House Republicans have of being primaried. On top of that, the Tea Party members of the House may even prevent a debt ceiling increase in the middle of this month in order to extort defunding of or delays in the implementation of Affordable Care Act despite the massive potential economic disaster such as an action would entail. 

Similarly to how Iago incited Brabantio and Roderigo through references to the "Barbary horse", the Tea
Party has in many (though to their credit, not most) cases appealed to racial and religious xenophobia to discredit the President in the eyes of the citizenry by stating he was born in Kenya or even a secret Muslim acting as a Manchurian candidate to subvert the country. Of course there are differences, such as the fact that while the motives behind Iago's actions are unclear and disputed by literary scholars, the motive of the Tea Party is clear: to enact the dogma of a reactionary ideology that aims to restore a laissez-faire capitalist paradise that never existed in the United States and as a result to dismantle the legislation of the New Deal and the Great Society such as Social Security and Medicare. Another difference is that while Iago's scheming was subtle and secretive, the Tea Party's actions are out in the open and obvious to the eyes of the world. Let us hope this clarity on the part of the Tea Party leads to popular backlash that will force Speaker Boehner to let democracy take its course by allowing a vote in the House for the clean funding bill and averting catastrophe by passing a debt ceiling increase (or better yet abolishing it completely). Furthermore, let us hope even beyond these immediate problems, the Tea Party members in the House along with their comrades in the Senate and state governments will be voted out in 2014 to completely remove this malign force that has poisoned political rhetoric and caused tremendous suffering to a struggling nation attempting to move out of an economic crisis. 


  1. Casey, I really liked how you compared the Tea Party to Iago. That really mad my day. In addition, your overall flow in this post was good. In addition, I liked how you articulated your points throughout the whole essay. It is really sad, though, to see that the Tea party relies on religious conspiracies as driving points for their stance against Obama."Hate will only produced more hate".Overall this was a good post and keep up the good work.

    1. Apologies for responding so late, but thanks for the comment!