Let’s say the New York Times hired a charismatic black man in his late 40s to run the newspaper and this popular man promised change. And let’s say I wrote an article that talked about what this man should do, what I hoped he’d do. For example: reduce the business section to a page, add a labor section, start covering people’s movements and protests, refuse advertising dollars from corporations that pollute, and hire me to run the op-ed page. Justifiably, I’d be called delusional and I’d be ridiculed for even suggesting such insane expectations. 

Let’s say Perdue hired a charismatic black man in his late 40s to run the company and this popular man promised change. And let’s say I wrote an article that talked about what this man should do, what I hoped he’d do. For example: renounce the chicken slaughter business, shift operations to selling organic, locally-grown vegan food, and donate vast amounts of money to farm sanctuaries. Justifiably, I’d be called delusional and I’d be ridiculed for even suggesting such insane expectations. 

Let’s say America elected a charismatic black man in his late 40s to run the country and this popular man promised change. And let’s say Howard Zinn wrote an article that talked about what this man should do, what he hoped he’d do. For example: “announce the withdrawal of our troops from Iraq and Afghanistan” and “renounce the Bush doctrine of preventive war as well as the Carter doctrine of military action to control Mideast oil.” Also: “radically change the direction of U.S. foreign policy, declare that the U.S. is a peace loving country which will not intervene militarily in other parts of the world, and start dismantling the military bases we have in over a hundred countries. Also he must begin meeting with Medvedev, the Russian leader, to reach agreement on the dismantling of the nuclear arsenals, in keeping with the Nuclear Anti-Proliferation Treaty.” Then raise taxes on the rich and combine that windfall with the hundreds of billions of dollars freed from the military budget to “give free health care to everyone (and) put millions of people to work” and thus “transform” the United States and “make it a good neighbor to the world.” 

Well, Howard Zinn has written such an article (“Obama’s Historic Victory,” Nov. 12, 2008) but is anyone calling him delusional and ridiculing him for even suggesting such insane expectations? The tens of thousands of readers who look to Zinn as a trusted voice of wisdom and reason are being dangerously misled by an article that omits the reality that every indication points to Barack Obama doing the exact opposite of what Zinn writes. Zinn knows as well as anyone that not an iota of evidence exists that Obama would do anything approaching what is described above. For a man of Zinn’s stature on the Left to even hint of such a possibility is a shockingly irresponsible act and one that only contributes to the misguided perception that Obama’s election is somehow a victory for the progressive Left.