When Sen. Barack Obama clinched the Democratic nomination, it was a historic moment, a milestone in America’s civil rights legacy. He was the first African- American to be nominated for the U.S. presidency by a major party.
His rock-star status had been legitimized before a crowd of more than 20,000 starry-eyed, screaming, crying, almost-fainting supporters. Obamamania. Almost rivaling Beatlemania.
Calling this historic win which “sent a wave of euphoria through the black community and America in general” a “world celebration,’’ the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. said he cried.
National Newspaper Publishers Association’s Editor-in-Chief Hazel Trice Edney wrote in the Louisiana Weekly that another civil rights icon, the Rev. Joseph Lowery, co-founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., said, “I think America can be proud that the people have listened to the voice that leads us into a better future and not a voice that causes us to cling to the hostile, conflicting politics of the past.”
House Majority Whip U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) is quoted as saying that he thinks “it’s kind of interesting for the first African-American nominee to be laying out a vision for this country on…August 28, the 45th anniversary of Dr. King’s ‘I Have a Dream Speech’…about the judgment of people by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin…That to me is history worth living for.”
I agree it was historic and, like other black folk, I was proud. But like most black Republicans, I stopped short at seeing this as the only time I was proud or that this was the “Hand of
God” as I heard many black preachers, all Democrats, proclaim.
One compared Obama to Moses; another to Jesus. One even said that God had sent this “mixed-race” silver-tongued, Harvard-educated man to “lead His people.”
Reminds me of the “charming Romanian politician named Nicolae Carpathia, who quickly attracted millions of followers, seemingly overnight” in Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins’
Left Behind series, which focused on the Bible book of Revelation.
Of course, after energizing millions of followers, the silver-tongue Carpathia turned out not to be the savior or even the great unifier, but secretly the Antichrist, which is what some are calling Obama.
Well, I don’t think Obama is the Antichrist any more than I think he is the “Second Coming.”
So I am not inclined to become so enthralled that I lose consciousness in a fit of ecstasy as I note this historic day, but to look at the Democratic presumptive nominee like any other politician – with a critical eye.
Therefore, when he says he wants to tax the windfall profits of the “evil” oil companies, I do the math and see that instead of hurting them, it will ultimately be the consumers who will end up paying the price.
And when he talks about bringing Republicans and Democrats together for the good of the country, I look at the fact that he is the most liberal of Democrats with no evidence of being bipartisan.
But when he promises to make America the leader of the free world like it “used to be,” I can’t help but look at his friends who don’t even like America – like domestic terrorists Bernardine Dohrn and William Ayers, who were sorry they didn’t bomb enough buildings on American soil.
He opposes vouchers, which comprise one of the single most effective strategies that helped low income black mothers provide the same quality education for their children as
middle class mothers do.
He said Iran and Venezuela were “little countries” that didn’t pose a threat to America. It is of no consequence to him that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad promotes “Death to America” or that his friend, Venezuelan dictator President Hugo Chavez, stood in Harlem ranting against President Bush, calling him “El Diablo.”
Funny you can’t go to Venezuela and call Chavez anything but El Presidente and not disappear.
But let’s not let facts get in the way of our euphoric, hypnotic trance. We must bask in the glory that only 40 years ago, Democrats were beating blacks who just wanted to vote.
If Obama wins, we can pop the champagne, and when our taxes go up, we can just blame Bush again and pay the piper.
Barbara Howard is president of Barbara Howard & Associates and the Florida state chair for C.O.R.E. (the Congress of Racial Equality).
EDITOR’S NOTE: Federal bombing conspiracy charges against anti-Vietnam War activists Bernardine Dohrn and her husband, William Ayers, were dropped because of improper FBI surveillance.