As I write this column, I am reminded of the chorus of a song made famous by Cyndi Lauper. “I see your true colors shining through…”
As the historic run to the White House continues, with Sen. Barack Obama clearly in contention to consummate his candidacy with a respectable, if not ultimately, successful run at the highest office in the land, I have seen the true colors of many shining through.
Take, for instance, an email chain that has been going back and forth among some of my fellow Little League baseball coaches. One participant in particular, in an effort to substantiate a perceived pro-Obama mainstream media conspiracy, stated the following as the factual information about Obama that the media has ignored:
“He is from a Muslim family… He was born illegitimately from a 17-year-old white lady who had sex in the ghetto with a drunken abusive black man.”
In this country where many would have us believe that we have moved past the point where a man is no longer measured by the color of his skin, my coaching colleague’s not-so-anonymous, racially charged sentiments represent just one example of true colors shining through in the midst of a campaign where race is part of the race.
The Campaign Two-Step has been mastered by both presidential candidates. The McCain camp spins and twirls racial innuendos covertly hidden under terms such as “terrorist” and statements such as “This is not a man who sees America as you and I see America.”
The Obama camp slides across the campaign landscape, carefully avoiding the bias-inspired footwork of McCain and Palin, while skillfully moon-walking away from any direct acknowledgement of his African-Americanism or any perceived pro-black sentiment.
The dance moves to the sway and swing of a country struggling to march to the tune of political correctness. While the uplifting philosophical lyrics of a politically correct nation may have once offered a refreshing refrain from intolerance and overt racial bias, the possibility of a president with even 50 percent black blood has spurred deft creativity in political dirty dancing.
In two Republican rallies earlier this month, individuals introducing John McCain emphatically referred to the Democratic candidate by his full name: Barack Hussein Obama. Has anyone out there heard the Republican candidate introduced as John Sidney McCain?
A middle name should not be that big of an issue, but when you add Sarah Palin’s insinuation that Obama is an unrepentant terrorist sympathizer, it comes as no surprise that Republican events are beginning to resemble post-Civil War lynch mobs with shouts of “Kill him” and “Off with his head” in reference to Obama.
The vilifying of Obama as an outsider or “that one,” in the vernacular of Senator McCain, seems to be acceptable and respectable in the eyes of the Republican faithful. However, when Barack acknowledges the undeniable fact that he does not look like the presidents on our dollar bills, he is accused of playing the race card, and “playing it from the bottom of the deck” by McCain campaign manager Rick Davis.
Like Jackie Robinson upon entering the major leagues, Obama has had to consciously forego any retaliation for assaults (shrouded or otherwise) against his heritage and ethnicity. Furthermore, he has had to limit, if not totally refrain from, addressing issues that are of particular concern and relevance to the black community for fear that he will be perceived as partial to African Americans and not equipped to lead the majority.
Though a smattering of black scholars and African-American leaders have taken umbrage to Obama’s reticence to be more responsive to his black brethren in particular, they need to understand that Obama needs to do his dance now, if he hopes to dance in January at his inaugural ball.
Richard McCulloch • RichMcCulloch@Hotmail.com