Thursday, June 26, 2008
Enigma: Crip or Blood?
"There's only one thing different about Barack Obama when it comes to being a Democratic presidential candidate. He's half African-American.
"Whether that will make any difference, I don't know. I haven't heard him have a strong crackdown on economic exploitation in the ghettos. Payday loans, predatory lending, asbestos, lead. What's keeping him from doing that? Is it because he wants to talk white? He doesn't want to appear like Jesse Jackson? We'll see all that play out in the next few months and if he gets elected afterwards.''
"And it's clear from Sen. Obama's campaign that he is not willing to tackle the white power structure whether in the form of the corporate power structure or many of the super-rich -- who are taking advantage of 100 million low-income Americans who are suffering in poverty or near poverty." -- Ralph Nader, interview, Rocky Mountain News, June 24, 2008
The worst reason not to vote for Barack Obama is because he's black. Because he isn't. He may identify himself as black but that is only skin-deep (and not very deep at that). Ralph Nader, who in his dotage has become the little boy who says the emperor has no clothes, got it right. Obama "talks white" because he would look ridiculous trying to talk or act black (see picture above). He was was abandoned by both his black father and white mother and raised by his white grandparents, a World War II veteran and his wife, a bank vice-president. Obama's upbringing was not only white but skipped back a generation. That's no doubt part of his appeal to guilt-ridden whites: He is not only 50% white racially but 100% white attitudinally. Barack Obama is the "white hope" of blacks. If he can't be elected president, then there is little chance that any other black or mixed-race candidate ever will be.
Obama has spent much of his life trying to connect with his black roots, which are like a phantom limb which he feels but cannot quite grasp. The first black that he ever met was his own father, whom he saw for the first and only time during an airport pitstop in Hawaii. Those precious minutes were transmuted into a book about the "lessons" which his father taught him. Actually, the only "lessons" which he could have taught him were as a negative role model -- how to fail as a father, how to fail as a Harvard graduate, how to fail as a politician, how to fail as a man. His complete absence from Obama Jr.'s life allowed him to create a black identity which was mercifully free of his direct influence.
When Obama finished his law studies at Columbia, he moved to Chicago vent on pursuing a political career. It was then that he embraced his black identity, or, rather, decided that he should have one. He could not have accomplished this makeover himself, and, fortunately, he didn't have to. He had the active guidance of his spiritual mentor and father surrogate Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who was a caricature of black nationalism in the era of post-nationalism in the African world. Obama's white upbringing served him in good stead when deciding what to copy and what not to copy about Rev. Wright. The leopard skins, whether his father's or Wright's, he wisely discarded (except when he visited the "motherland"). What he adapted from Wright was his worldview, which in turn mirrored W.E.B. Dubois's after he became a Communist in his nineties. He also followed Rev. Wright's recommendation in the choice of a wife. She was (and is) his firmest anchor to the black community. Some have called her his "passport" to the African-American community.
Ralph Nader is again right when he says that there is nothing in Obama's politics that can be identified as distinctively "African-American." He is a liberal just as Nader himself, though certainly not independent of the Democratic Party. His brand of liberalism (known as socialism everywhere else in the world) has little in common with the core beliefs of most African-Americans, who tend to be as right-of-center on social issues as Obama is left-of-center. This is a real breach between Obama and the black community and his Father's Day speech about the responsibilities of fatherhood was a calculated attempt to bridge that enormous gap at the only point where it would be possible. Still, it was certainly ironic to hear the country's most prominent advocate of partial birth abortion (the medical murder of a baby who had the intrepidity to be born despite an abortionist's worst attempts to kill him in utero) lecture African-Americans (most of whom rightly see abortion as the white liberals's "final solution") about the damage done to children's psyches by invisible fathers. About the damage done to the bodies of babies, whose brains were smashed-in with a mallet or whose limbs were torn apart during partial birth abortion, Obama, who voted against outlawing the procedure, couldn't care less. (Yes, the Supreme Court has banned partial bith abortion, no thanks to Barack Obama).
If Barack Obama is elected president he will certainly not be an advocate for the concerns and interests of African-Americans unless these happen to coincide with his socialist core beliefs and agenda. A vote for Obama is not a vote for racial integration. Whatever that sign gesture is which Obama is mimicking in the photo chances are that any white kid today would know it better than he does. The truth is that America is already integrated and does need a token black to accomplish overnight what a historic process stretching over 400 years has already achieved to the benefit of all Americans.