How can you trust someone when they tell you repeatedly that they believe that you are an evil person? How do you trust someone when they tell you repeatedly that you are responsible for all the troubles in their life? How do you trust someone to manage an institution when they repeatedly tell you that they believe the institution an inherently corrupt failure?
I think this is the core problem that leftist African-American politicians face when trying to gain broad support from white Americans.
Most leftist African-American politicians build their careers preaching a racialist doctrine which holds the selfish and evil actions of white Americans responsible for all the ills of the African-American community. Although it is expressed in passive voice in such phrases as “America is a racist country” or “institutional racism”, white Americans read the message very clearly: the aggregated individual evil choices of white Americans are the cause of the nation’s problems.
The vast majority of white Americans believe racism a serious moral failing. They recognize the harm done by racism in the past and believe that racism violates the American ideals of individuality and merit reward. They view the accusation of racism as a very serious matter. When a politician casually and repeatedly accuses them of committing such an evil act, they notice.
We elect political leaders to represent us. How can a politician claim to honestly represent those in the electorate he believes are evil? Most leftist African-American politicians basically say to white Americans, “I think you are a bad person and you should vote for me so that I can use the violent power of the state to stop you from doing evil.”
Who would ever vote for that kind of message? Who could ever trust a leader elected upon such a message?
Americans desperately hunger for a non-white president. Colin Powell could have probably walked into the oval office in 2000 had he wished to. Barack Obama appealed to a broad spectrum of white Americans precisely because he didn’t seem to hold a racialist view of white Americans. He talked of unity and perfecting America instead of calling white Americans evil. White Americans saw Obama as an individual who could represent and lead them.
Obama’s close association with Rev. Wright may have destroyed his political ambitions by undermining the perception that he is a new kind of African-American politician, who does not see white Americans as evil. It called into question the sincerity of his views about the majority of Americans and American institutions. How can he represent, protect and lead the white Americans that his long-time minister, confidant and mentor sees as evil people?
Leftist African-Americans like Rev. Wright take it as axiomatic that they cannot trust white Americans due to their evil and corrupt nature. Yet they seem puzzled and angered that white Americans do not trust them in return.
Trust is a two-way street. To be trusted, one must give trust. Let us hope that one day, those on the Left learn that lesson.