Barack Hussein Obama (Part Three/Finale).
Almost six months ago, when I started this three part series on the reasons why I felt that Barack (Barry) Hussein Obama should run for the US presidency, many people didn’t feel me; those two columns didn’t generate the usual responses that my writings on New York’s political cesspool generally do. Plus, after all: this enigma (Obama), calling himself a Negro (black-man), had no chance of winning; right?
Truth be told, it appears to me that most of the people here on Room Eight (along with most of the readers), really want me to focus my writings on Brooklyn’s political gossip, spiced with a lil history of my personal involvement in some of the in-fighting. It’s what draws many of them to Room Eight (www.r8ny.com); it’s what makes me the most read (and most commented on) blogger of this particular colony of political writers. It’s what makes this blog so popular in Brooklyn especially (and in some other parts of the city too). Political gossip and credible innuendo is sexy; it’s like a catfight (for men). So; a lot of people will probably hate this particular column for various reasons; I must admit that the hate will be somewhat understandable given the true nature of this country; which despite all its great attributes: is still very racist.
I am going to make some bold and startling predictions/ conclusions/observations here; so fasten your seatbelts please; it could get quite rough later on in the upcoming thread. But as I always say: I call as I see it; I tell it like it is; then I duck. So let me start ducking from now; I foresee lots of shots coming my way after this hits the blog.
To the usual suspects who attack near everything I write here, do take the high road; go into the archives of Room Eight and review my first two columns on this topic before you make inane comments; please. Part one was done on the 25th January, and Part two was done on February 10th; both this year, 2007. I must admit also, that when I started this, I had the audacity to hope that my columns would generate a debate on race matters, race relations and racial issues; I was too audacious that time, but maybe this time it would/could; maybe. I can always hope (audaciously), can’t I/lol?
In the first two columns, I felt that I had presented some unique insights into the Obama phenomena; I also suggested that Blacks born in the USA wrongly felt that they had a lock on “blackness”, as if they owned and patented the definition. To me, they appeared to be somewhat ignorant of the fact that the black struggle against racism was international in its scope. Thus the reality that questions of whether Obama was “black enough” could get so much traction in mainstream media, made some of us foreign-born blacks cringe; especially when the rest of the candidates were all white; with only one Hispanic exception.
Look; fifteen months from now, we will be selecting a new president for this country; and as the election gets closer, the stakes will go higher; that’s when the reality of an Obama presidency will start sinking in more and more, to those who initially thought it unthinkable. That’s when things start to change; that’s when the unthinkable becomes the thinkable.
There are many who would disagree with this, but with Al Gore a non-starter, there are only two things stopping Barack Obama from becoming the next president of the United States. One is called: racism. Yes; racism in all of its many varied and subtle forms. The other is a cousin (this time around): assassination. The latter could be either political or physical in nature. In fact it could be both political and physical; in that order.
Before you all get bent out of shape, let me explain this further. There is a quiet storm sweeping this country’s politics; it’s called: Barack Obama. What most mainstream mediums (black, white, Hispanic, et al) are avoiding in their reporting is: this very storm. Obama has been drawing more crowds to his rallies and political events, than all the other presidential candidates; and it’s not because he is still some kind of novelty. He has raised more funds than any one of them; he has gotten more contributors than any one of them; and he has inspired more people than all of them combined. With his messages of idealism, involvement, change, self-development, hope and the like, he has inspired people of all races, ethnicities, nationalities, genders, ages, religions/creeds, political affiliations and socio-economic status. His intellect, good looks, charisma, articulation, dynamism, humanity and such, have endeared him to many who have been disillusioned by the contemporary realities of the political process. And by the way: he is still a work in progress; and that’s obvious to many studying this phenomenon. He is enlisting many people who are new to the political process; the implications are mind-boggling.
This man Obama, who challenges us to be better than we are; who says that we should put aside partisan, regional, nationalistic, ethnic and racial differences, in order to work for a better America (and world) for all; who attempts to transcend his racial origins (mulatto) without offending anyone’s racial sensibilities; who is willing to cross party lines to work out legislative compromises; whose vision is for a truly better tomorrow and a truly better United States of Amnesia (and world), is coming on like a late train. All of this will be rather threatening for those in this country who see him as Black and not as mixed; and all who see him as black and not as fully human; herein is the danger.
You see; in this country, white skin privilege creates white skin blinders/blindness and leads to white skin denial; this denial is a real problem. This denial creates the James Earl Rays of America; it also spawns the John Wilkes Booths and the countless shady characters (cowards) who hide behind these types. There are small but deadly numbers of whites in this country, who still see blacks as inferior; who still see blacks as three-fifths human; who hate blacks, period. An Obama presidency is totally repulsive to their mind set. They will see an Obama presidency as revulsive; they will see a threat to their hopes of eternal white supremacy. They will see an audaciously hopeful black man who needs to be stopped. America needs to go into “Obama Security Alert”; immediately.
Obama has to start wearing bullet-proof vests right now; he needs to be cautious and careful without being cowardly; and he needs to also take the many threats to his life seriously. Ask Colin Powell’s wife why Colin never ran for the presidency? Obama needs to be cognizant of the historical realities of racism in this country. He has already proven his bravery by simply getting into this race. The CIA, Secret Service, FBI, Homeland Security, Local police departments, and all other official security forces, need to be on full alert from here on in. A mobilization effort should be undertaken like one that has never been undertaken before, in order to insure that this man survives this campaign. If he doesn’t; there could be a racial explosion the likes of which this country has never seen. Race relations will be set back two hundred years. We are all vested in this; we all need to be vigilant: starting right now.
From a historical point of view and given the legacy of racism, it is ironically-fitting that a man born to a black father and a white mother (imagine) becomes the first non-white male president of this country. I arrived at this yesterday (4th July), as America celebrated another anniversary of independence from British monarchial tyranny which ended in 1776. If we truly hold as self-evident, that all people are created equal, then after all this time, there is no excuse for putting another white male in the Oval office.
I am sure that white denial will try to repudiate all that I just wrote, just as it denies many aspects of racism in this country. For example; that despite the civil-rights gains of the 1970s, racial-discrimination is alive and well and living in the good ole US of A (Amnesia); that white-flight begins when a predominantly-white neighborhood arrives at eight to ten percent black residents; that job discrimination is still common place for blacks competing with whites; that police brutality is a nationwide phenomenon that affects (afflicts) blacks a hundred or more times than it affects (afflicts) whites; that the average white person is about 50 times wealthier than the average black person; that blacks face racism in economic development, housing, jobs, health-care, education, business opportunities, music, arts, movies, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.
Yet, Obama hasn’t made racism the crux of his crusade. In actuality, he perpetually lectures black audiences to hold other blacks totally responsible for their personal behaviors, poverty, child-abuse, drug use, violence, family-breakdowns, crime, circumstances, dilemmas, dysfunctions, maladies and other idiosyncrasies. He preaches self-reliance without letting government and civic-institutions totally off the hook. He puts his money where his mouth goes, by personally rolling-up his sleeves to tackle real issues in the polity. He claims his blackness without totally denying his whiteness. He claims his blackness without a separatist agenda; unlike many angry black militant political types. He refuses to be pulled into some type of racial-jihad against white America and the (supposed) conspiratorial racist government(s). He appears to have rejected this type of thinking–still popular in some black quarters. Further; he refuses to conform to the “reverend” politics of black America, with its flawed emphasis on media, symbolism and personality cult-like-worship; with its lack of objectivity and its flawed emphasis on “black” and not on “American”. And yet, he skillfully and tactically uses media to fit his goals, needs and objectives. He is both idealistic and pragmatic at the same time, without being politically bloodied by the intrinsic contradictions. He is a special politician and a special human being. He is nothing short of brilliant.
With all this said, don’t think for a minute that I do not consider Barry a shrewd, cunning and skillfully competent politician; adept at controlling the spin, and blessed with many of the skills necessary for success in this sphere. He is all that and more. What is key though is that his supporters get the sense that he is real, on every level of human consciousness. This is what Hilary Rodham-Clinton lacks; this is why she keeps bringing up this “inexperience” thing in trying to gain points against him. He has her beat in the areas that really count: judgement, credibility, respect, admiration, loyalty, devotion and love.
Last week, in front of a predominantly black audience at Howard University, Barack Obama refused to pander or patronize, even though he could have scored big points doing both; but Hilary Clinton did. It was a defining moment in this campaign.
With a statement that was obscenely crass and contrived, the pre-fabricated Hilary Rodham-Clinton said this: “If HIV/AIDS was the leading cause of death of white women aged 25 to 34, there would be an outrage, outcry in this country”. This line met with the most applause of the night; it should not have, since it feeds in to the same type of conspiratorial hogwash that has kept many blacks from total involvement in the political process. It plays to people’s fears, not to their hopes and aspirations.
Here is a woman, who for the past 24 years (at least), has been roving the corridors of power, on local, state and national levels of politics; a very bright woman who was politically active on her college campuses way back in the ‘70s; and a woman who has also worked in top law firms and has been a player on the Washington scene for decades. Here is a woman who at one point in the Clinton-administration was in effect: the quasi-health czar. This woman who twice ran for the US senate, winning both election and re-election in New York; who has made umpteen speeches over these past 24 years, and has been in this presidential campaign for sometime now. Suddenly, this woman chooses that night, and that audience, to make as profound a remark as that-given all its implications. Good gosh: I was born at night, but I sure wasn’t born last night. That was so darn predictable; so Hilary-like. This was crass pandering being taken to its obscene extreme. It was despicable; it was shameful. But then: do the Clintons ever express shame when they do their crap? You tell me.
Why do you think that Hilary has such high negatives whenever polling is done? There are many reasons posited; but the main one seems to be that a lot of people see her as ruthlessly ambitious; someone willing to surrender morals and values for raw power. To many; that’s scary.
Then late last week there came another defining moment of this campaign, and another one that instructs and informs the potential voters to no end. That was when President Bush #2, partially pardoned Vice-president Chaney’s pit bull Scooter Libby, after he was convicted and sentenced for conspiracy/ perjury. I won’t elaborate on the details of this trial here, except to say that a female CIA agent (spy) was intentionally outed (internationally), ostensibly by various people in the Bush administration, since they saw her husband as an enemy and critic of their contrived war with Iraq. This is the same Libby who as a lawyer, successfully lobbied Bill and Hilary Clinton to pardon a fugitive and corrupt financier (Marc Rich), during the final days of Clinton’s presidency, when there was a fire-sale on presidential pardons, for those who contributed to the Clintons, or for those who were connected to contributors. Have we forgotten that Hilary’s brother was collecting 200 thousand dollars a pop, in order to represent those seeking pardons?
These very Clintons who once pimped the Lincoln bedroom in the White House, have no moral authority to question the pardons of George Bush; and for a democrat like myself, this is not easy to swallow. Herein lies the reasoning behind Michelle Obama’s recent outburst, that the Clintons represent the politics of the past; and that all Hilary has on Barack is more years in Washington (another cesspool); and by now, I am sure that we all know that “Washington” is just a code word for all that’s despicable in our national politics.
Yet, it goes even deeper: Bill and Hilary’s behavior in the White House actually disqualifies them from a do-over; and this is where all the so-called feminists who are fanatically trying to rally behind Bilary’s moribund candidacy are being disingenuous. At the height of the “Paula Jones” scandal, one of Clinton’s pit-bulls (Carville) was making the rounds of the talk shows one Sunday morning, and said the following: “what do you expect to get (a Paula Jones) when you drag a hundred dollar-bill through a trailer-park”. In so doing he unfairly sullied the reputations of many a decent young (and old) woman of humble circumstances. It was one of the many low moments of that administration. I have never heard an apology from Hil or Bill, for what their lackeys did and said, about the many women who claimed that Bill sexually used, abused or harassed them, over the years. Over time, their minions have destroyed many a woman in enabling Bill’s runaway zipper. How quickly do we forget Gennifer Flowers; how easily do we forget all the women who made scurrilous charges against Bill’s womanizing ways; how easily do we forget that Bill’s lap dogs went after everyone of them with a vengeance, trying to discredit them in every which way. They even alluded to one as being mentally deranged. Some of these charges (against Bill) were so vile that I won’t even repeat; but you all know what I am talking about. How dare these so-called feminists act like all this was trivial stuff, not needing of condemnation?
Look; didn’t Hilary not go on Sixty Minutes (CBS) and lie to the nation when the Gennifer Flowers tapes became the hot media story? Didn’t Bill Clinton have to apologize to New York’s then governor Mario Cuomo about a “mafia” innuendo (acknowledging his voice on the tapes)? Didn’t Bill do the same thing (lie to the country) when it was about Monica Lewinsky? How many other vulnerable women were victimized? You can’t cop-out by saying: “oh, that’s just his personal life; separate it from his performance in office”. That’s bull-crap. Simply put: standards are standards. We the people need to always set high standards for those who seek to represent us; period. The failure to do this is what has us up the creek we are in. Too often we surrender the high ground; there are always high costs to this.
Democrats who were (and still are) Clinton apologists, have also surrendered their moral right to go after the horrible George Bush, who has done even more crap than Bilary. The only difference is that Georgie-boy seems to have controlled his zipper better. George’s performance in office is worse than Bill’s by far; I refuse to get into that here, since it will require a dissertation.
Listen people; this George Bush snr. - Bill Clinton - George Bush jnr. – Hilary Clinton – Jeb Bush (waiting in the wings), presidential-monarchy-like syndrome must be snuffed: NOW. Enough already. We could do better. Who said that only two families can lead us? Who died and willed the presidential gene-pool to the Clinton and Bush families? Is there an Adam America? I don’t think so.
Let’s go back to Bilary’s HIV/AIDS remark: aren’t black people tired of being fooled, snookered, duped, used and abused; politically and otherwise? GEEZE.
First; from way off in the capitol, Congressman Charlie Rangel blessed Hilary’s run for the senate from New York; then near all the other black elected officials in New York (and also most of those in the House of Representatives), fall in line like they were mindless zombies; endorsing her run one by one; without a rationale for their support. These were one of the few power-moments for black electeds in a long while; but guess what: they conceded without any benefits. Don’t tell me that they didn’t read the primer: “power never compromises without demands”. Hilary needed them like crazy at that point in time; what a missed opportunity! For a fleeting moment they had a lil power to play with.
They then paraded her around the black churches like nobody’s business. Then they started to say ridiculously incredulous things like: “Bill Clinton was the first BLACK president”. Gimme a friggin break; please! But then, some blacks actually feel for all this crap. Then as her candidacy builds up steam and credibility, this carpetbagger (Hilary) appears at our black churches near every Saturday and Sunday. You could swear she left some of those pants-suits that she always wore, hanging in some of those black vestries. She worked the black community like a snake-oil saleswoman. One of her high paid white political consultants must have given her the formula: win some white women feminist types and win the black vote overwhelmingly; you know you are going to get slaughtered amongst the white-male demographic.
Hilary Clinton garnered over ninety per cent of the black vote to win, but the first thing she says in her victory speech was; “I will do my utmost to restore (fix) New York’s upstate economy”. Look; upstate is mainly white (if you didn’t know). What about downstate? What about the 50% joblessness among black males in NYC? What about the 40% rate amongst black females, and the 35% amongst Hispanics? What about racial profiling that afflicts blacks? What about police brutality and murder? What about the more than one million and a quarter blacks (male and female) imprisoned? What about racial discrimination in jobs, housing, health care, government contracts, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera?
So it’s easy for Hilary Clinton to run to our black churches on weekends, but easier for her to run away from our black issues on weekdays. And the black electeds let her get away with this; over and over and over and again; and you wonder why their collective performance in office enthralls me so much/lol?
Then last year Hilary Clinton runs for re-election: same ole, same ole. She racks up almost 100% endorsements from black and Hispanic officials, without a single comment on the 2005 report from the City Council’s Economic Development Committee. This report showed that out of 136,915 contracts that the city handed out to business entities (worth 18.8 billion dollars); only 11.7% ($2.2 billion) went to women and minority contractors. White males got 88.3 % ($16.7 billion). With all of Bilary’s so-called feminist credentials, has she ever argued that white-males have too much power in this society? You tell me.
Lets not forget the gays; she has played them like a fiddle also. Hilary has flirted with them on their key contemporary issue (same-sex marriage), and they have fallen for it. The suspicion is that she lacks the political courage to support same-sex marriage, but they let her get away with the titillation without letting her go all the way. She is skillful, I must admit. But after all this time in politics, what does Hilary Clinton really stand for? Beyond her hard core political ambition; what are the issues that drive her? What is her true position on abortion? Where is she in all the debates on immigration reform? Are her positions on these issues, clear and unambiguous? You tell me.
Hilary Clinton is the consummate political opportunist; she is also trying to work out her marriage-pains with this presidential exercise. She is trying to deal with her Bill Clinton-inflicted self-esteem (and self-image) issues by all her political maneuverings. There is nothing idealistic driving her; if there were, she would have articulated that already. America has been waiting for years; it’s too late now; any such attempt will be viewed suspiciously (as usual).
Let’s go back to Obama; here is a guy who obviously suffered through the “missing-father syndrome”, but rose up and conquered it (as best as he could, I guess); and continues to seek a higher spiritual plain. Here is a guy who asks us to look for ourselves in others, and to look for others in ourselves. A decent man, full of compassion; a man who sacrificed big bucks as a black- ivy leaguer, in order to build experience working in the trenches of poor urban areas. A man who was once, so ashamed of his roots as a youngster, that he called himself Barry instead of Barack, while playing high-school ball. This is a man who has experienced living outside this continent and hemisphere; a self-acknowledged Christian who has experienced different peoples, faiths and cultures. All of these things, when combined with his other attributes, experiences (professional, political and otherwise), ideals, values and philosophy, makes him (to me) exceptionally qualified to lead this country in the right direction. Here is a man (and his wife and kids) who can restore dignity to the white house and the oval office.
The true test of Obama’s character will come when Bilary hires Al Sharpton (endorsement included, batteries not included) to do a hatchet job on him. This will be the defining moment for the black vote. Sharptongue; the brilliant but over rated political charlatan can make things uncomfortable for Barack. The hope here is that blacks will be able to see through all that, despite their apparent inability to have seen through Hilary’s remarks last week.
Stay tuned-in folks; we are still in the backstretch of this long presidential race.
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