Monday, May 19, 2008

"Because He's Black"

With Hillary Clinton's chances fading, the issue of race is boiling to the surface, as it did in West Virginia and will again in Kentucky tomorrow.

Last night on PBS, Bill Moyers quoted one of last week's voters telling a BBC interviewer why Barack Obama can't win the White House: "Because he's black."

"There it was," Moyers pointed out, "no longer a whisper but out in public, on the record: Because he is black. The fault line in American history is now a dividing line in this election...We heard it all week and now the political world is asking: Could the candidate who has won more votes, more states and more delegates lose in November and could the reason be race?"

Ugly as the question is, it will be asked and answered between now and November, but what it says about America, regardless of whether Obama wins or loses, is something we all need to know.

How deep does the prejudice go? As he loses two border states, Obama drew 75,000 people in Oregon yesterday, a huge crowd that brings back visual memories of Martin Luther King in Washington over 40 years ago making his "I have a dream" speech.

The New York Times reports Obama's reaction: “Wow! Wow! Wow!” were his first words as he surveyed the multitude, which included people in kayaks and small pleasure craft on the river on an unseasonably hot day in Oregon.

"It is 'fair to say this is the most spectacular setting for the most spectacular crowd' of his campaign, he told the audience."

Obama is living out King's dream this year, but how will it end? In a replay of yesterday's heartening spectacle or as a nightmare in the darkest part of the American heart silently voting its fears and prejudices in the solitude of ballot boxes in November?


Unknown said...

If he loses because of race (and not because of issues or suitability), the problem will roost not only in this country, but be on display for the entire world.

Can one imagine the weariness of those overseas as they might contemplate another four years of a Presidency that carries on like Bush? And the attitude that will carry on toward America and its reputation, buoyed by the belief (whether valid or not) that we can't elect someone who is (half) black?

Larry Jones said...

Obama will win in November because most people won't vote for another Republican this time, after the disastrous Bush Administration. The ruination has touched nearly everyone. But the United States is full of bigots (enabled by the winking and smirking GOP) and the Obama candidacy will smoke them out. They are the descendants of the enlightened folks who used to say they have nothing against negroes, but they wouldn't want their sister to marry one. Too bad for them -- maybe their sister could have been First Lady.

treehugger08 said...

I agree with both Bill and Larry -- isn't it time we 'progressive, forward-thinking Americans' moved beyond that outdated prejudiced idiocy?
I have never voted the party line, voting instead for the candidate that I felt could accomplish the most and at least not be an embarassment in the eyes of the world. While I did not vote for the current president in either election he has still managed to completely embarass us on every imaginable level. And as so many people have said, McCain (Republicans, et al) will not be elected simply because too many people in this country would vote for Mickey Mouse as long as he wasn't republican (or espoused too many republican ideals -- as the other Democratic candidate in this current election does).
Last week I logged onto McCain's website and discovered that he had been instrumental in increasing the amount of money veterans are eligible for, and as my husband is a 100% disabled veteran that impressed me; imagine how disappointed I was today when I read that he is planning to do whatever he can to kill the bill that Chuck Hagel has introduced that would increase veteran's education benefits by 52 billion over 10 years. What was his reasoning for voting against it? It was too expensive.

Anonymous said...

The reality is that Obama will lose votes because he's black. It's just a fact that the majority of White America generally will not elect a black man to the Presidency. In another 20-40 years, maybe. But I wouldn't worry about our image with the rest of the world. Prejudice is alive and well overseas, and I've seen it firsthand. It still amazes me that blacks insist upon going to places where they are not wanted.