"No matter how paranoid or conspiracy-minded you are, what the government is actually doing is worse than you imagine." - - - William Blum

February 01, 2008

Barack Obama is definitely becoming increasingly popular with many voters. All campaign rhetoric aside, with his relatively minor experience in federal government and politics, he is a truly risky candidate when contemplating the potential success of his presidency.

If he wins the Democratic nomination, I predict that there will be a slanderous, racist and truth-starved attack launched by the Republican party that will make the swiftboating of Kerry seem like a pleasant walk in the park.

If Obama should somehow survive the right-wing onslaught and get elected, we will then see the hybernating racism that is permanently entrenched in our social body burst forth in the media, in politics and in our education system. The right-wing blowback should be something to behold and for once give most Americans a genuine clarity about the racial tension that they thought was mostly purged by the civil rights movement of the '60s.

I'm not saying that these are excuses for not making Obama President. If he somehow figures out how to cope with and move beyond this social sewage, maybe he will provide adequate leadership for starting the repair of the devastation of the country and planet which was spearheaded by the Bush-fronted Neocons. I think it's great that maybe we are finally going to confront and resolve this issue (black president), as it would have happened eventually.

What bothers me the most is my serious doubts that the country is ready for this inevitable confrontation, and thus we may all suffer the consequences of a nation ripped apart by racism. Am I being too pessimistic here?

(UPDATE: A link to this post was added to the NY Times and we've had 2,500 hits and counting. I guess we've struck a nerve.)


jc said...

I believe there is justification for your fears and apprehensions. This is an issue black people, indeed all minorities experience in the U.S. all the time, maybe every day. I do believe the greatest shock will be for white people. If black people are wise, they will use this as an opportunity to generate understanding between our white brothers and sisters. It is a time for healing. Obama does not belong to black people. His mother, and white grandparents, were obviously loving people. His success is not due to his African roots except genetically. His success is a testimony as to what all humans can produce through love and understanding. God bless his mother and family who supported him and produced someone truly special. This is a new moment. Lets look at the opportunity and not focus on the half empty glass.

Anonymous said...

Why are people so scared to confront real issues? You've spoken clearly as someone who probably hasn't experienced being discriminated against. Your statement suggests that because the majority is not ready to look at themselves in the mirror, we shouldn't have real discussion about race and the effects that our country's racist past has on the present. How else do you explain networks dedicating hours upon hours to missing white people in the Caribbean when we have people going missing in inner cities daily? Even though it may be ugly, turning the page on poverty and other social ills will require a discussion of race. A person who really wants progress should welcome at least a bit of discomfort.

Anonymous said...

I once wrote a book about bullying on the schoolyard, and how to make it stop. Research has shown that the only way to really stop such behavior is to create and maintain an environment in which cruelty is publicly acknowledged as taboo and is never tolerated by anyone.
I believe that this is the kind of environment that Democratic voters are creating when they use the ballot box to express their disgust for racist-sounding statements. In South Carolina, they sent a message of zero tolerance to the candidates and their supporters. The results were clear at the recent debate in L.A.--two well-behaved debaters who focused on issues rather than insults.
I believe this nation is ready to create an equivalent environment across America. I am voting for Obama precisely because he presents us all with the opportunity to vote against hatred and divisiveness.
Of course, the Republicans will rip and tear at the fabric of American cohesiveness, but this time the majority has had it and will refuse to tolerate their bullying.
Only in a climate of universal respect will we be able to meet our many profound social challenges.
It's a paradigm change. And it's about time.

richwitty said...

Yes you are. What century are you living in? What kind of fear are you trying to feed? You must belong to 60-and-older crowd?

Anonymous said...

Yes, you are being too pessimistic. Have a little faith in people won't you? What did the general public do to make you think so poorly of the sensibility of your fellow Americans? I'm not talking about pundits or bigots, but the vast majority who want good things for everyone. If they're inspired, no lies will take root in their minds. It's not naivety, it's hope.

Anonymous said...

Obama will unite the people who support Obama. Everyone else will look on and have to decide for themselves. Some will be disappointed because he's a conciliator rather than a leader and they may not be happy with the concessions.

I do know as black that the only time whites will claim a black as in 'half-white' is if he's successful. If he is down and out in a crack house or on the street, he's all black.

Racism is a live and well in these United States. Currently it's just more in vogue to hate brown skinned people than black ones. But fashions change, there is a recession coming and its got to be someone's fault.

Ryan said...

You are being way too pessimistic. So insanely pessimistic that I suspect an ulterior motive. (Clinton-supporter or just looking to feed your own anger based on an unrealistically cynical worldview?)

I know lots of white people, and know OF more white people, including OLD white people, who are voting for Obama in the primary, and even more who would vote for him in the general. I don't know ANY white people who wouldn't, and this includes a few who voted for Bush. These people are in different parts of the country. (full disclosure: I know mostly white people, and am white.)

Anyone who thinks white people have a problem with Obama is thinking what they want to think without looking at the evidence from Iowa and rural Nevada.

Anonymous said...

You are being appallingly pessimistic and even racist yourself in a self-fulfilling way. Speak for your darn self! Who gave you clairvoyance about all Americans!? Your "fears" say more about YOU than anything else!

Anonymous said...

Abraham Lincoln successfully guided our country through what is arguably its most difficult period in history.

His experience? ONE term as federal senator.

Why was he able to succeed?

His ability to lead.

Leadership is not only about experience. You tap the people beneath you who specialize in that experience and are better at it than you ever will be.

Leadership is about the ability to lead and inspire. That is how all of the truly Great Presidents succeeded, because they lead and motivated their people.

This is Baracks true strength.

Michael said...

From the tone of your rhetoric it is clear that you are suffering more from latent racist feelings than the population at large. You are making assumptions based on transference of your own prejudices.

Anonymous said...

I believe Barack Obama is a level headed candidate who can rally Americans of all types. I am white and I know that race relations are probably the worst it has been since before civil rights. From a white's perspective, many (not all) blacks of lesser socio-economic background have what I call a "Tude"...meaning attitude (chip on their shoulder)towards whites. Like all whites owe them something for the past two hundred years of racial scorn. There is no denying that wrongs were done, but why does present generation whites have to suffer from those mistakes. Is Barack O going to help change this, or will Blacks now have even more attitude towards whites and entitlement if he is elected? I don't know, and I hope he can heal this country on race relations. But if blacks don't take the opportunity to use it constructively, then I fear this could be a rebellion within this country to make it more divisive.

Anonymous said...

You write as though you are one with life experience, unlike many of those who comment. When it comes to politics, like religion, people have a tendency to believe what they want to believe and not what the facts indicate. Obama is inexperienced in corporate leadership, the single most important skill necessary for governing. He has not successfully (with some predetermined definition of success) run an organization that produced something other than an idealogy. He will make an inexperienced world leader and Chief Executive Officer of the most powerful organization the planet has ever seen. Why would anyone vote for such a neophyte, except for some ambiguous personal nirvana hoped for or some sense that feelings should trump facts? Our ability to rationalize our own personal prejudices seems to be without limit.

Anonymous said...

Bob Dylan, released a new song Friday- YEs We can

Anonymous said...

Obama!!! Please!
Made me cry- We need each other in order to change this country and the world – it has been so awful for so long!
Vote on Tuesday if you can – lets make this the most viewed video between now and Tuesday!

David said...

If anyone can show me an example of a politician whose years of experience lead to better and more honest judgment (with the possible exceptions of Barbara Boxer and Dennis Kucinich) as opposed to that same person's youthful idealistic self, then I will buy into Hillary's argument about experience. She transformed from the idealist taking on the entire US Congress to try for national healthcare, to her current iteration-the seasoned triangulator.
I am certain that judgment is a very critical issue and Obama's original assessment about Iraq exhibited such judgment. When choosing between "seasoned" experience and untainted idealsim, I will take the latter!
Another point-does anyone sincerely believe that IF Hillary could be elected that we will not have more years of rancor-similar to that of Bush and Clinton I (keep in mind she has the highest negative numbers of any candidate-46%, of which Jerry Falwell expressed before his passing that for his followers a Clinton candidacy would be the next best thing to Lucifer to energize his them- is she electable?!).
I first started paying close attention to Obama after I read how he united the Harvard Law Review at a time when the acrimony was so intense that some worried that it would fold! Read how the conservatives praised his honesty and even handedness.
One cannot fake inspiration, and clearly Obama is brimming with it. When he speaks people get motivated and mobilized. We have not had such a candidate on the left since Bobby Kennedy. The Right had Reagan, perhaps Obama is our chance to place a progressive with true self motivated inspiration-to unite the country and remind everyone that ultimately, it IS our government. They work for us.
Let's go with integrity, honor and inspiration-Go Obama.