By Joe Bageant
HOPKINS VILLAGE, BELIZE -- I watched Obama's inaugural speech over a plate of rice, beans and tortillas eaten with my fingers, in a thatch roofed joint in Belize. Which is organic and ethnic as hell, but I'd be the first to admit that a bucket of hot wings and a cold sixer would have been far preferable to this slob. And right along with the Garifunas, Mestizos and Creoles there watching Obama, I had my choked up moments. After all, I'm still an American -- albeit a reluctant one, and (despite the opinions of a couple of ex-wives) a human being.
But unlike most of the other villagers present, I also understood that I was watching a $40 million media production in which the highly paid meat puppets at the microphones spoke in a continuous tape loop … lip synching the lyrics of the national sing along, pointing out for the thousandth time that our new president is black, and going into detail about such things as Obama and Biden stepping out of their limos simultaneously. Wow! For the most part it was the Rose Bowl Parade, but with a speech and a dance party replacing the football game.