During a speech at what ironically was termed “UNITY 08” — a convention sponsored by members of “Journalists of Color, Inc.” — Senator Barack Obama illustrated why he is anything but a “post-racial” candidate. Given his background, his appearance at an event wherein “diversity” was the main ideological course on the menu is not surprising, as he continues to be a person for whom ethnicity is of central importance. Just as was the case during the Democratic primary, Obama self-sabotaged precisely at the moment in which the punditocracy was selling us on the inevitability of his victory. Once again, his words betrayed him. On full display was his inner nature — an inner nature he works hard to conceal.
At UNITY he informed supporters: “There’s no doubt that when it comes to our treatment of Native Americans as well as other persons of color in this country, we’ve got some very sad and difficult things to account for. I personally would want to see our tragic history, or the tragic elements of our history, acknowledged. I consistently believe that when it comes to whether it’s Native Americans or African-American issues or reparations, the most important thing for the U.S. government to do is not just offer words, but offer deeds.”
The supposed uniter was given a chance to utter an uplifting message to minorities, but he declined to do so. Instead of convincing them to bond with their fellow countrymen, he sowed feelings of resentment. Again Obama showcased disdain for America’s history, but the precise meaning of his speech was not clear. Perhaps he sought to issue a statement to coincide with a House of Representatives resolution apologizing for the “fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality, and inhumanity of slavery and Jim Crow” laws or maybe he wanted to elucidate the need for our government to pay reparations to black Americans as a class under the auspices of making amends for slavery.
What is for certain is that reparations are a political minefield. In practice they would be an unfeasible and reprehensible endeavor. David Horowitz skillfully articulated the problems concerning them in the pages of Uncivil Wars. There he put forth numerous arguments against their efficacy, the strongest of which are as follows: no single ethnic group was responsible for the travesty of slavery; no single ethnic group exclusively benefited from it; only a minority of white Americans ever owned slaves while thousands died in the process of freeing them; reparations have already been paid via “trillions of dollars in transfer payments” spent on social programs and preferential government policies; the idea of reparations is separatist as it pits blacks against “the nation that gave them freedom”; and, lastly, most citizens alive today have no relationship with the institution of slavery whatsoever.
Regardless of whether Obama had reparations on his mind, he undeniably demeaned his country’s past in the hopes of titillating his principal constituents: disaffected minorities and guilt-ridden Caucasians. What is curious about this tactic is that such an appeal will yield no advantage because that substrata of the population expressed their enduring fidelity to him long ago. Assuredly, such statements will alienate independents, though. This may not have occurred to him as his analysis was a product of his worldview. As most conservatives recognize, the junior senator from Illinois is a devout leftist. Thus, expecting him to purge radicalism from a speech is like asking a monolingual American to dream in Tagalog.
A couple of days after Obama’s request for government “deeds,” he further burnished his race-obsessionist credentials by implying that there was something unseemly about John McCain’s continued disapproval of him and refusal to hop on the love train. Specifically he said, “And so the only way they figure they’re going to win this election is if they make you scared of me. So what they’re saying is, ‘Well, we know we’re not very good but you can’t risk electing Obama. You know, he’s new, he’s … doesn’t look like the other presidents on the currency, you know, he’s got a, he’s got a funny name.'”
Of course, John McCain never made any statements remotely like that — ever. To what did the phrase not looking like “other presidents” refer? Well, as with everything, it was an allusion to race. One need not be a physicist — or even a community organizer for that matter — to make the connection. Even an ABC News correspondent managed to do so. While I grant that Senator McCain is not universally admired, how many voters believe he has one racist ligament in his body? I bet practically none.
Obama’s campaign denied that their golden-tongued champion meant what he clearly did, but later in the day he baritoned out the same pap about not resembling “the presidents on the dollar bills and the five dollar bills.” All of this is absurd. Neither Barack’s name nor his appearance will scare practically anyone, yet his campaign must fathom that the public will be uneasy about the prospects of a novice fluent in politically correct mumbo jumbo becoming our next commander-in-chief. Obama could not respond to this very real fear because he has no antidote for it. Insipid rhetoric — the kind for which he is famous — fares poorly against reason; so he constructed a straw man argument to deal with it instead.
At this point, in lieu of the preponderance of the evidence, it is time for the media to desist from disseminating lies about Obama being a uniter. The only segments of society he will bring together are the memberships of Moveon.org and the NAACP. His repeated playing of the race card illustrates that the Democratic nominee has put his lust for getting elected ahead of our nation’s need to be as one. While racial preoccupation was warranted before the passage of the civil rights legislation in the 1960s, it is now as cancerous as melanoma. Over a five-decade period America has made sensational gains in social equality, and we undoubtedly would all “get along” if leftists suspended their war on history and acknowledged the justice of the present day.
Like other conservatives who live in a “blue” urban environment, the majority of my associates possess pseudo-liberal inclinations and will be voting for Obama in the fall. Although it’s still early, I have heard several parrot the now-clichéd talking point: “This election will tell us where America is at in terms of race.” This is a falsity as it will do no such thing. The notes Obama hits with his racialist innuendos are cacophonous. They will not resonate with the majority of Americans. Most of us are repelled by conspiracy theories and revere the land in which we were born. We would like our candidates to focus on actual problems or, to put it in language Senator Obama can relate to, his noxious intimations to race are “a diversion.” The general public’s reluctance to worship Barack Obama — as evidenced by John McCain recently gaining on him in the polls — has nothing to do with race and everything to do with the Democratic nominee’s ornate flaws.
That one of his parents hailed from a different continent is totally superfluous. In contrast, Obama’s socialist bent is remarkably pertinent. Given a federal $3 trillion annual budget along with a projected shortfall of $482 billion for 2009, his victory could well destroy us. If Obama truly cared about the future of black Americans he would abandon the vernacular of grievance and follow the counsel of prominent economist Walter Williams — a black man who would have made a far better spiritual advisor to him than Reverend Jeremiah Wright.
Dr. Williams recommends that black youth — as should all youth — “graduate from high school. Get married before you have children and stay married. Work at any kind of job, even one that starts out paying the minimum wage. Finally, do not engage in criminal behavior.” Now that, as opposed to empty syllables, is a message of hope and change. Internalizing such suggestions, rather than stewing in resentment, will ensure the advancement of every American. Unfortunately, “all Americans” is a demographic for which Senator Obama has little interest.