(Just for fun, from out of my NCOBrief archives, an essay from July, 2010.)
You know, out of all of the things that I was afraid might happen, after the presidential coronation of Obama, the Fresh Prince of Chicago . . . I never considered that race relations might be one of those things which would worsen. Hey – lots of fairly thoughtful and well-intentioned people of pallor voted for him, with varying degrees of enthusiasm, or at least in some expectation of him being a fairly well adjusted and centrist politician, or at least a fast learner. Wasn’t that what all the top pundits, and the mainstream media were insisting, all during the 2008 campaign . . . well, once they got up from their knees and wiped the drool off their chins.
And when he won the election by a respectable although not an overwhelming margin – hardly a crushing mandate – I am sure there were other bloggers thinking as I did, and looking on the bright side; hey, can we finally get past this “AmeriKKA is the most racist nation evah!” crap. Here I was hoping – even as I knew full well that the man had spent twenty years sitting in the Reverend Jeremiah’s mega-church. I could tell myself that maybe he went to that church for street cred and connections within the black community – no, Obama couldn’t possibly give credence to the sewage-spew of racial hatred that the good Reverend spouted like a fountain, every Sunday, to tumultuous applause from the pews – no, not when he moved on from grubby Chicago politics, and was running to be the president of this country – a country in which the race that Obama identified with is only 13-15% of the population. No, better to think (assume, pray!) that his membership there was a grubby political square-filling, in the Chicago political machine.
If I have known anything at all in my life, I know that a politician who is a minority hoping to get elected to any office get anywhere at all with a racially or sexually diverse electorate had best not be identified strictly as representing only that minority, to the exclusion of all others. In plain words, a seeker for an elected office, being a racial minority, or female had a better chance of success in downplaying their minority-hood, generally, in being seen to represent larger values than just their membership in a relatively small segment of the electorate. This was plain to me, as I grew up in Los Angeles, in the 1970s and 1980s. The mayor – Tom Bradley, who seemed to have been mayor for ever, demonstrated exactly that: he was black, but black with a small ‘b’ – in that he had the year-round dark tan, but actually seemed to be more motivated in being an effective mayor for the good of the entire community – rather than just catering to the racial special interests. Tom Bradley got elected, over and over again, without any particular fuss that I recall, in a racially diverse and wealthy city in which the color of his skin mattered less – much less – than the content of his character or his ability to administer to the interests of all of his constituents.
I had so hoped – against any evidence produced by the mainstream media and bloggers alike during that campaign season – that Obama would prove to be more of the Tom Bradley-variety of politician/administrator. That he would live up to the generous advance billing provided by the press . . . but alas. False hope, that. As if it weren’t annoying enough that any criticism of his policies is dismissed with a swipe of the race card through the electronic dispenser o’ sweet creamy diversity pablum, now it looks like justice is to be administered – not in a color-blind fashion, but according to the color of the skin of the person accused. It is perfectly acceptable to the current top administrators of the Department of Justice to have representatives of the New Black Panther Party, swaggering up and down at a polling place, intimidating voters. Nice. So, what are we to expect out of this new, post-racial, Obama Administration? Not having a pundit-approved crystal ball at my disposal, I couldn’t begin to guess – but I will venture one small prophecy: that the Icecapades will be hosted in Hell before another small-time, relatively obscure and totally inexperienced yet somehow charismatic minor pol, spat up from the unsavory bowels of a big-city political combine will be elected to such a high office. Not all the efforts of all the media punditocracy will be able to make that happen again . . . and we’d better do more than pray it doesn’t. We can probably endure another two and half years of the Won, but I don’t think we could survive another of his ilk, or the rank stupidity of those who put him there in the first place.