OBAMA FOR PRESIDENT?

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Every time I am ready to accept the inevitability of Barack Obama’s candidacy for President and swallow the artificial talking points concocted by the Media, I have to pull back and assess what I am about to do and why it is wrong for him and us now. The attraction that the corporate media generated flood of enthusiasm has engendered was brought home to me in the Mall just before Christmas when a European woman with a mild accent waiting on Dad piped up and said she supported Barack Obama for President.

I wanted to ask her why, but her face told her the story: he evokes hope. It is rather puzzling to me being the skeptical brotha that I am.  I’ve written many times and many ways that I ain’t buying this corporate media creation. I must respectfully stand up and resist their attempts to program us like robots.  I am not a damn robot; I have a mind of my own Thank You very much. The hype surrounding the brotha is Orwellian and it’s creepy.

There seems to be a longing in the white electorate to move beyond race.  That would be great if people like me were also ready to do the same but, as usual, I didn’t get the memo.  Sean Bell and his boys were shot at 50 times and the NYPD can’t tell anybody why.  Before I get on the whitefolks bandwagon to “move beyond race” can we/y’all fix that  B.S. first?

Before I get on the whitefolks bandwagon to “move beyond race” can we get a consensus from them to support voluntary affirmative action in the public schools and stop calling it “reverse discrimination?”  I find it fascinating that after the workplace was opened up for women to compete on a level playing field with a man, that was O.K. But any leveling of the playing field for people of color is challenged as unpatriotic, anti-democratic, and racist against whites. Whitefolks seem to be engaged in an undeclared racial combat with colored folks and all hands are needed on deck. Can we come to a consensus on the necessity for Affirmative Action before I consent to jump on the bandwagon to “move beyond race.” Can we acknowledge the power race has to racially and economically stratify and oppress people before we punch our tickets on the racial amnesia express?

Can we acknowledge the racist genocide that was behind Slavery and the removal of Native Americans from their land and pay some reparations before we all hold hands and sing Cumbaya at Obama’s Inauguration as HNIC?

I find it ironic that Obama has made his home and forged a successful political career in Chicago, a city that is among the most racially segregated and racist of any in America.  A majority-minority city dominated and controlled  by the same white machine headed by the same white family that controlled Chicago at the time of the Senator’s Immaculate Conception Forty-five years ago. Obama has done absolutely nothing to combat the machine’s efforts to concentrate as much power in the hands of white ethnics as possible and deny the renaissance of the transformative power of the Harold Washington years.

 Daley is good at peopling his Administration with well-educated Uncle Tom’s and Aunt Jemima’s of various hues, but has done nothing to combat the systemic poverty and crumbling schools which plague and doom the life chances of the urban poor.  Mayor Daley’s endorsement of Obama for President, unsolicited and transparently self-serving, fools nobody because he sits on the precipice of being indicted by the justice department or removed by voters of color.

I attended a HBCU, not Harvard, so I don’t have the elite of America raining down job offers, campaign contributions, book deals, and sweetheart loans on me like brotha Barack.  White women tense up when they see me, they don’t swoon like they do for Barack.  Nobody lines up to hear me speak or touch the hem of my garment.  Not that I’m hatin’.  I just don’t feel the need to line up and drink the Kool-aid like a good little Nigga.

At a time when the mainstream media was incapable of raising any alarm against Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, two men whose demonstrable hostility to Affirmative Action and equal opportunity  threaten to destroy the flimsy fabric of racial reconciliation and reverse the gains of the last 50 years, why is Barack Obama necessary to heal the wounds and absolve the sins of a deeply racist and imperialist nation like America?

Does anybody really believe that he has the power to do that if elected, or is the role of the President of the United States to be a guardian of a imperialist and racist form of capitalism?  Most people with the luxury of free time to think are not deluded by what the power of the presidency represents.  They see its destructive power everyday and everyway it manifests itself.  The fact that a black man is in serious contention for that awesome power is not at all uplifting given the pernicious record of Colin and Condi, the Bush Administration’s doublemint twins of Imperial deception. They and their white benefactors have turned a collective blind eye to the depredations of war, disease, and poverty.

The Media seem to be putting the cart before the horse with Obama’s candidacy.  The racial reconciliation and racial justice that needs to be present to nurture and support a serious black candidacy for President does not exist and never will if we accept the fantasy candidacy they are attempting to foist on us now.  The Presidency can be more than a throne of Imperial tyranny but it can never be more than that until we set things right regarding race in the public psyche. 

39 thoughts on “OBAMA FOR PRESIDENT?

  1. rikyrah

    SB,

    I enjoyed this post,and understand where you’re coming from. Maybe he needs to run if only to show that the country is NOT ready for a Black President.

  2. rikyrah

    SB,

    I don’t mean to be skeptical, but what is ‘redefining the Presidency’? What does it consist of?

    I had this debate (re: The Black President) today with a friend. I don’t think the window is all that large for a Black President.

  3. rikyrah

    SB,

    Do you demand this ‘redefinition’ of Hillary Clinton, John Edwards or any other Democratic possible candidate that’s not Barack Obama?

  4. Rikyrah,

    It would be nice, wouldn’t it? No matter how unrealistic an aspiration that is. All must be held to high standards of accountability, however, Obama must be held to the highest because he doesn’t just represent himself, he represents all of us as a person of African descent.

  5. It seems like you are holding Obama to a much higher standard than most politicians are held, because is he is a person of African descent, and that is your priviledge. On the day of Gerald Ford’s funeral, that seems out of whack. But I really like your blog and will be checking back.

  6. bruhrabbit

    I, personally, don’t hold Obama to a different standard. But I do believe there are some white liberals who support him because he is black. I am for the record liberal, and black. But this support of Obama without holding him to the same standards that we want from others running office is offensive. The running concerning over Obama running is that people fear whether a) he is tough enough to fight the GOP b) has the experience c) is form over substance (you can read what you want to read into his speeches, but feel good isn’t something that indicates leadership to me). These are all questions that are being asked of other candidates, but I get the feeling that because of the liberal white progressive need to as Skeptical calls it move beyond race, it seems some aren’t asking this of Obama. People feel comfortable around Obama because he says nothing that will challenge you to sacrifice anything. It says why can’t we all just get along without talking about how that is going to happen. That happens when people respect and understand pluralism because African Americans, gays, and a lot of groups aren’t going anywhere. To be sure, others do that too, but to give him a pass, and not require a strong intense vetting of his nomination just like everyone else leaves us open potentially to weakened policies in areas like Affirmative Action because we put a black face on it, and thought therefore- we are done. I don’t think Obama would ever do any of this intentionally, but I do think being afaid of a misstep could lead to this exact result when dealing with the GOP.

  7. Curt Adams

    “Can we acknowledge the racist genocide that was behind Slavery and the removal of Native Americans from their land and pay some reparations before we all hold hands and sing Cumbaya at Obama’s Inauguration as HNIC?”

    To put it succinctly:

    No.

    Blacks (and Native Americans) are treated unfairly because most white Americans’ concept of “us” doesn’t include them. As long as it’s “us whites” and “them blacks” black men suspected of minor crimes will be effectively machine-gunned down in the street, white people (well, not all, but enough of them) will do everything they can to keep black people out of their schools, houses, and churches, and there won’t be any kind of reparations for slavery. So, yes, Kumbaya has to come first.

    White people who don’t like racism love Obama because he, potentially, could be a real help in our own struggles against racists in our own lives. They don’t do it in public, but there are lots of people who toss the n-word around as a joking insult and for whom the idea that black people are inferior is as incontrovertable as the idea that the sky is blue, and those people are our friends and family. I would LOVE to be able to throw a great black president into their face the next time I have to deal with that. White anti-racists see a man who could make a real difference in their own private lives, and that’s why he gets them excited.

  8. red rose

    Good post, but I take serious issue w. the idea that there’s a level playing field for women. It’s just not true and never has been.
    If minority ( and women aren’t a statistical minority, so that alone says something) groups could fight together more instead of arguing over the scraps, it’d make real change possible.

  9. The higher standard is to make him responsible for those white folks who use him to minimize racism. By that logic, we should hold politicians
    responsible for all the idiotic ideas and shortcomings of their supporters. For the record I am white and I don’t like Obama because of his heritage, but it has helped to shape his current ideas and persona. I’m not expecting him to “cure” America of racism either. I have heard that sentiment expressed, directly at least. But I’m sure the “feel good” factor of supporting a man of color is out there. Jeez, surely there are worse motives present today in the political world.

  10. TY

    My feeling is that basically any black candidate who gets this far and is taken this seriously by the establishment media will face the same questions posed here. There is a first time for everything. The real question is, are we ready to move past these issues or not? If not, well that’s kind of sad.

    Here’s where we should be focused:

    1. Does he inspire you?
    2. Is he good on the specific issues you care about?
    3. Can he win?

    Leave the rest to your shrink.

  11. So we have to wait for racial reconcilliation before we get to elect a black president? And then we only get to elect a black president if he’s willing to radically redefine the presidency? Hmmm. Okay. That’s a position. How about instead we just elect a black president anyway and do it because he’s smart and charismatic and looks good on TV? And why don’t we just hold him to the usual standards we hold our Presidents? Like just expect him to be ethical and uncrazy and do little stuff like give health insurance to kids and not invade countries he’s not supposed to?

  12. TY

    I’m so with Jumbo’s comment above. Let’s just do it. Elect him.

    The psychodrama will resolve itself after that. There are few events in the world more clarifying than winning.

  13. Jumbo,

    An everyman mediocrity might be okay for you, but not for me. If I wanted that, I would have supported VA Gov. Doug Wilder, a right-wing, pro-corporate DLC sellout in 1992. As the first black man elected Governor in the United States, he cut a dashing figure back then as a right wing budget cutter hell bent on balancing Virginia’s budget during the last Bush recession. He never cared how much he hurt public education or the most vulnerable in the Commonwealth.

    He said all the right things about how his path breaking win was not a pototype for black statewide candidates. He even allowed some people to get fried on the states electric chair and played the role of right wing budget hawk to the hilt.

    I don’t want a convential wisdom, beltway driven, focused grouped politician to be the first black President. I want somebody who wishes to redefine the Presidency from its current role as Corporate guardian and enforcer of shareholder greed.

    Obama needs more seasoning and a track record of progressive accomplishment. His current kick of saying and doing nothing controversial is not it. I want more and so does the country.

  14. bruhrabbit

    I see. So our standard should be to lower our standards because we have elected idiots such as bush who screwed us in past. well thats certainly a strategy. the lowest common denominator approach seems to be the new american way of doing politics. and yes, we all know the way to show you are going to go to washington to get things done like healthcare insurance is to pass bills that tweak at hte edges of the problem such as mr obama has done. i mean ethical and uncrazy are great, but my standards are fdr and the like- but I can see the value of lowering our expectations. that way we never realize that obama’s supporters are selling us a shellgame. don’t look over there. that’s where the ball. no there. not there. that’s been the obamarama approach throughout any blogsphere discussion.

  15. bruhrabbit,

    Thanks brotha for joining the discussion. Obama, as most progressives and the so-called mainstream media pitch him is sold to the American marketplace like a product. He is not a damn product he is a person. A person who could become the President of the United States and the most powerful person in the world. That to me is a big ass deal. He needs to be a person of substance and all that I’ve seen so far is good sounding rhetoric and bad votes like allowing the electoral votes of Ohio to be counted without proper debate and voting to confirm the Devil’s handmaiden, Condoleezza Rice. I need more, damnit, a lot more.

  16. bruhrabbit

    Well, I don’t expect Obama to be perfect. I’m actually a moderate liberal. I am fine with him having made mistakes. I think all candidates do. My problem are the arguments of him and his supporters are, in fact, about lowering the standards for what we should expect out of leadership. The whole compromise before you have even fought for your principles is where I have a problem.

    Someone used an excellent point about negotiation in another diary. That pointed out quite correctly that the Democratic progressive problem has been as follows: You have two parties, buyer and seller. The buyer wants to pay 10 (but is willing to go up to 20). The seller want to get 30, but it willing to go for 20. It hardly makes much sense with starting off with bargaining at 25 because you don’t think you can get any better if you are the buyer. But, that is what Democrats consistently do. By starting off with “reconcilliation” without discussing what are our interests, what we want at the table, and acting as though we can’t get any better than Obama sells us short. As have a lot of the leadership in the past.

    I don’t even always need to agree with their leadership choice, but if we are going to have any shot of a progressive Presidency, I want to see more than what I am hearing from Obama thus far. He can’t expect to have a shot with all of this kumbaya crap. We don’t need kumbaya- we need someone who understands that he needs to do as Edwards says to be both about hope and action. Action here means that its not enough to have acted in the past progressively locally to IL or that one is charistmatic, it means running as one so that we can sell the American public on it, and not assume from the start that they won’t buy it. Whether Edwards is the right man for that- I don’t know. Whether Obama is, I don’t know.

    The fact is I will support whoever the Democratic nominee is, but this time around our criteria has to be something more than what we are being spun either by the media or any particular Democratic camp. We were sold this too many times in the past, and that’s not the proper way to negotiate anything. That is unless you are willing to get screwed.

  17. I’m not saying Obama’s the shit. I have no idea what kind of president he’ll be. You don’t either. I’m just saying, mean-mugging the dude because he’s not the messiah is a little ridiculous. I was on the ground in New Hampshire working for Howard Dean last time ’round. I saw a pro-balanced budget, pro-gun, anti-Iraq but by no means peacenik, moderate, bipartisan cat get turned into a “latte-drinking, sushi-eating, tattoed, marxist freak show” over night. And John Kerry won. This is how it’s going to play out again. The nominee will be a conventional wisdom, beltway focus grouped, dipshit. It’ll either be Obama, Clinton, or Edwards with an opening for Al Gore should he choose to get into it. That’s the way it’s going to go down. Like it or not. Why? Because that’s how the Party nomination process works. Goobers in Iowa and New Hampshire look for the guy who will freak out Independents and Republicans the least and they hope for the best. Don’t hate the players, hate the game. There will be a candidate who wants to do everything you want. Reparations, universal health care, universal employment, peace. His name is Dennis Kucinich and he will lose. Again. The question is not, “why can’t Barack Obama be more like Dennis Kucinich?” (Cuz Obama ain’t changing no matter what you or any of us say) The question you need to be working on is “how can I change the political situation in America so somebody like Dennis Kucinich could get elected?”

  18. bruhrabbit

    again I call jumbo’s post a game of lowering expectations. jumbo, You can word and post as many excuses for the lower expectations game all you want. You can tell us how you know so much more about being realistic all you want. all of the ‘serious choice’ etc crap worked in 2004 because of a mindset that bought it rather than reframing the narrative to win. You can claim that that mindset makes sense as much as you want. it doesn’t change the shellgame you are playing, and it is a shellgame, because guess what- kerry lost the general election. he lost it because he lacked the chutzpah to do what it takes to win because people bought into a mindset rather than found leadership. And if I read one more post by somone going out of their way to say Obama can walk on water even while pretending they aren’t a supporter, I am going to have start charging a dollar.

  19. Jumbo,

    I ain’t saying I don’t like Obama. Most people, including me, like the brotha. It’s just that he ain’t ready to be the Big Dog just yet. Hasn’t done or said enough of anything to be ready for that. The more I think about another go-round of the Clinton’s and it sends me searching for a barf bag. I know what is getting ready to happen, we are going to be mugged by Mama and Bubba again. I understand that. Ain’t happy bout it, but understand. I just need more to go on if I am going to take a big leap of faith and get hurt again. I supported Dean strongly in 2004. I understood who and what he was. But he showed me his courage and that is what I need and ain’t gettin’ from Barack so far. By the way, thanks for stoppin’ by. I appreciate your thoughtful comments.

  20. Hey brotha,
    I met Barack and Michelle Obama at the home of two Southside “progressives” just before he rolled over his mentor, Alice Palmer, to get her seat in the Illinois state senate. (I have more than a few questions about that.) Obama was very slick and trotted out sweet nothings he thought would seduce the group of lefties present. It was very clear that he had his sights set on much more than a seat in the state senate. When someone asked him to please say something substantial, he didn’t, or couldn’t–either way many left this get-together unimpressed–a presentiment of his head being handed to him when he arrogantly challenged Bobby Rush for his Congressional seat. I’m still not impressed.

  21. theravagebeast

    The only black man that had a chance to become POTUS was Colin Powell, and he was “convinced” not to run. Instead he became a whipping post for Cheney-Rumsfeld in the Bush Administration and is now fighting to restore his name and credibility (if you call it fighting).

    Obama is the black Edwards – good looking, young, not a lot of experience, no heavy political baggage (that we know of).

    It would be a mistake for Obama to run – he cannot win, and will most likely commit political suicide before he has a chance to create a political record (which may be the plan anyway…).

  22. I mean, who is Obama? He doesn’t say ANYTHING, doesn’t stand for ANYTHING and hasn’t done ANYTHING. Plus, he is operating within a racist/imperialist system and offers NO challenge to it – WHATSOEVER – other than to tweak the rose bushes of the concentration camp.

    But he looks good in a suit and for that we should be grateful.

  23. scoota

    You have your own political agenda and want to force it on Obama. Obama is not supported by democrats or any republicans of any credibility because he is black. You are a racist. You claim that everyone who does not support reparations and affirmative action is a racist, but the only way people are going to think about each other as equals, as I already do, is by ignoring race.. and by God, electing a black president is just one more way to do just that. Think of the upsurging of self respect and belief that could give a young black child, for example, and you call this a negative. In fact, anyone who is black and makes it to power you call an uncle tom, imperialist stooge or some other slanderous remark. Perhaps you just want no one to succeed so you can continue to have an excuse for whatever failures you have. Don’t confuse race and capitalism, imperialism or any other ism. You, sir, appear to be the racist. Stop drawing lines – you are just inciting hatred.

  24. Scoota,

    Reparations which will never be paid is a surefire red flag to those who suffer from racial amnesia as you do. It is a provacative reference that always allows people to get to the heart of what they really believe. You seem to believe that we should forget all that came before: slavery, jim crow segregation, the lynchings, and the rest of it. I’m sorry I’m sulling your misguided effort at racial absolution through Obama. He is not a savior and his election as President won’t prove much.

    My views regarding Affrimative Action are fleshed out in some detail. Obama, to his credit, agrees with those views and joined a Supreme Court Brief in the latest Affirmative Action case being heard by the Supreme Court. His views are quite mainstream and he was joined by Ted Kennedy, a personal hero of mine. As to your ridiculous assertion that we must ignore race when nobody on earth does, even the wingnut conservatives that claim too, is just crazy, misguided, and betrays a certain ignorance that is inimical to good race relations. Thank you for expressing your views fully and completely. I forgive you for calling me a racist because you know absolutely nothing about me or my family.

  25. not_even_close

    Obama’s an adimitted Marxist and racist. The author of “Obama for President?” hasn’t a clue to his own rant, and is a racist, too. A colonel once told me that, “most people have their thumb up their ass and their mind in China.” The author fits this shoe perfectly…immersed in delusion of foolishness. – Brotha

  26. not_even_close

    Why can’t you keep your fascism on RedState? Your trolling is unwelcome. If you think Obama, the candidate of many colors is a racist, its really you that’s not even close.

  27. YA! KNOW

    YOU KNOW IT’S JUST LIKE BACK IN THE OLD DAYS, IF YOU ARE BLACK AND WANT TO GET AHEAD, YOU HAVE TO BE TWICE AS GOOD AS THE WHITE MAN AND THREE TIMES AS FAST.

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