Volume 8, #2
“The Master Race”
I know it’s hard sometimes, but there is still some reason for optimism in this world of ours. Fresh off of her victory in the science fair, my niece earned an A in math and that’s pretty cool for her to do her part to shatter stereotypes concerning both blacks and women. Carolina won at Dook for the 2nd year in a row and that makes me happier than anything in all of sport. And listening to Nas’ latest album gives me confirmation that hip-hop is very much alive and kicking.
And the announcement from Illinois Senator Barack Obama that he is entering next year’s presidential race is the most recent shining hope for the world.
I was skeptical about Obama running at first for the same reasons much of the national media was. Hell, just five years ago he was a lowly state senator trying to convince the likes of me to elect a democratic candidate in the conservative 15th district. Now, before he’s even completed half of his term in the United States Senate this uppity nigga thinks he can run for president? More notable is the question of whether or not America is truly ready for a black president. My instinct leads me to conclude in the negative, but I really hope I’m wrong.
Ideally, I’d love for Barack to run in like 2012, 2016. My hope was for him to sit this one out, maybe have some ambitious democrat choose him to be their running mate. And he would use his position as vice-president to sweep him to the nation’s highest office like George H.W. Bush, Richard Nixon and Al Gore before him – sort of.
But in surveying the national landscape for 2008 Obama saw what I saw. That the people need something and someone to believe in right now.
After George W. Bush’s policies were soundly rejected in the midterm congressional elections, I must admit I did get some joy in seeing him visibly broken and frustrated in the next day’s press conference. Much like small New Orleans children, all of that so-called Texas swagger was washed away overnight. He knew that it was largely his incompetence that cost his party the power they had worked so hard to steal, rape, plunder and pillage for. It was great to have Rumsfeld’s head served on a platter as a result of the election. Clearly all of these problems weren’t the president’s fault and someone had to take the fall. But after 7 long years, witnessing this consistent level of sophomoric ineptitude is more sad than comical. It’s not cool that this dude can routinely be counted on for material for Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Letterman and Leno. The people should be proud of their leaders and want to be behind them. America hasn’t had that for a long time, if ever.
And while I have been highly critical of the government, as well as the masses that they have closed out of the system, I feel that most Americans are good and decent people. They’re the kind of people who will invite you to stay for dinner and insist that you eat on the good china. These people deserve earnest, resolute, wise leadership. And we haven’t gotten that for a long time…if ever.
The early jockeying for 2008 has circulated the same tired, played out politicians giving the public the same choices: mush in solid or liquid form. Letting the Republicans win (any Republican) would be totally unacceptable after our collective eight-year nightmare. And many of the early Democratic hopefuls already seem to be auditioning to see who can best present a Republican-lite message. They were ready to tout out a candidate that would be scared to fight back like John Kerry. A visible panderer who would say anything to get elected like Hillary Clinton. Or an idiot like Joe Biden who will constantly be saying wild shit that the Republicans would make into campaign commercials. The Dems need a candidate with more polish, but absent the obvious bullshit quality of George W. Bush.
Obama saw this state-of-affairs in national politics and felt that he had no choice but to try and personally fill this void at best. And at worst, at least elevate our national conversation. And make it an actual conversation, not yelling past each other like we have been for the last 300 years or so.
So for that alone, Obama’s announcement is a great day in America and his choosing of Springfield as the site is poignant. But there is hard work ahead. Already, poisonous darts are being shot in his direction with disclosures such as Obama being a cigarette smoker becoming political fodder overnight. Even some small black children understand enough about America to know that there’s a very real possibility that Obama might get killed at the mere suggestion of being president. And personally, if he wins I’ll be totally shocked if there’s not at least an attempt on dude’s life. Obama’s in good health so they can’t run the Harold Washington okey-dokey on niggas and try and make it look like he died of natural causes. He needs to get a physical everyday and he should hire the Fruit of Islam to personally handle his security. After he’s elected of course, any association with anything too black before victory is secure could doom any election prospects.
All of our issues will not be laid squarely on the table in this election. But, one thing that is really dope about this presidential campaign is that when the first debate takes place in New Hampshire in April, it will really look like America looks. We’ll have a normal gamut of Protestant white males. But we’ll have a woman, an Hispanic and a black candidate. And Hillary Clinton, New Mexico governor Bill Richardson and Obama are all strong, intelligent, politically savvy, viable candidates. Not just tokens there to symbolize progress. And even the white males on the Democratic side are not your typical sons of white privilege. Edwards grew up poor like many white folks in rural America and Dennis Kucinich will likely present the most favorable platform to black folks, even more so than Obama who will be forced to play it close to the vest at times. And do understand black folks, Barack is not going to be able to just completely let his nuts hang. He’ll have to concede some battles for the larger war at hand. This doesn’t make him a sellout, it makes him politically wise. Ask yourself would you rather have Obama in office, who may have to give a little to get a little in regards to black folks? Or Rudy Giuliani whose all-out war on black and brown people in New York City is well documented? Giuliani’s just waiting to stick a plunger up the ass of some Iraqi fugitive combatant.
One thing that’s unacceptable, however, is the characterization of Barack being the first candidate that is non-threatening to white America. This is some bullshit and I think displays the psychotic stupidity of white folks. There has never been a black candidate that is threatening or even the least bit hostile to white America. Civil Rights candidates Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are viewed antagonistically by America because they refused to ignore the crimes committed by the state against black folks. This is a historical and social fact, and is something that more white leaders should fight for as well. But if asking America to live up to the values of the Constitution is threatening then the Republic truly has come undone. Barack still cares about justice for black folks, he’s just intelligent enough to know that the ruling elite of this country have become a lot less discriminatory in fucking over poor white people too since the 1960s.
I am no illusionist. I have studied politics long enough to know that Obama –or any other candidate- is no savior. But he does represent some hope, some promise that we can have a leader who genuinely wants to help pull the people up, rather than insult their intelligence and talk past them by focusing on issues which have little relevance to the American people. Or that benefit a few at the expense of us all.
We’ve seen enough celebrities fall from grace to know that often what we see on TV is a façade. Bill and Hillary smiled for the camera while lurid details of Bill’s affair were coming out. Ronald Reagan got on a horse, threw on some blue jeans and convinced a generation of people that this b-rate Hollywood actor identified with cowboys and outdoorsman. And the current president’s deceptions are too many to detail here.
So clearly people aren’t always what they seem through the veil of public relations. But Barack Obama seems like a really good and decent, self-respecting man.
After years of liars and war criminals, it is good when a man like that can still enter public life and be taken seriously. People will tell you that Obama’s campaign represents many things in coming months, but for me the return to civility could be the most important symbol taken from his entry in the race. Peace and God bless.