Saturday, April 26, 2008

A ridiculous democracy (continued)

Previously in "A ridiculous democracy"

An election in which a Democrat winner would be of especial historic significance -- either Barack Obama as the first black man, or Hillary Clinton as the first woman.

Clinton sometimes sounds like a feminist, but always piggybacks on her husband's success.

Obama, one of first African-American leaders to appeal to non-black Americans and thus be a "viable" candidate, seemed for long at pains to avoid political blaxploitation.

Not inevitable, but Clinton did, eventually, play the race card herself (or her husband did, or campaign did) (January 24).

ABC ran a report (March 13) about Obama's "anti-American" pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, evidently taking at least some quotes out of context (see video below). Making Obama anti-American by association (after all, he already is half-foreign, or Muslim, or something, so it follows logically that he must be anti-American. Because all of those folks hate America, don't they?)

Obama was forced into the difficult choice of publicly embracing/rejecting his spiritual mentor (against the backdrop of persistent questioning of his Christianity).

Obama passed test with flying colors, saying of Wright:

...he has been like family to me. He strengthened my faith, officiated my wedding, and baptized my children. Not once in my conversations with him have I heard him talk about any ethnic group in derogatory terms, or treat whites with whom he interacted with anything but courtesy and respect. He contains within him the contradictions - the good and the bad - of the community that he has served diligently for so many years.

I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother - a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.

These people are a part of me. And they are a part of America, this country that I love.

Oddly enough, the Chicago Sun Times, which reported that Obama defended his pastor (March 26) today said he distanced himself from his pastor (April 25). And ABC, which started the Rev. Wright furore with the mishmash of soundbites, also said in yesterday's video (below) that Obama "distanced himself" but doesn't clarify from what/whom. For the record, Obama distanced himself from Wrights divisive remarks, and explicitly not from Wright the man or Wright the preacher. It's not true what they say about history being written by winners. Most of the time, it's written by bozos who can't complete a thought.

So, what it boils down to is this: America is refusing to be color-blind. When a black man runs for president as a person, and not as a black person, he is forced to address the fact that he's black. And the same America which forces him to address that fact (the media, some politicians, and sections of the electorate) compound that circumstance of birth with other similarly irrelevant circumstances, like having the DNA of someone who's Muslim. US media and politicians try to force identity politics upon those who have done everything to rise above it. This is the tragedy of racism in America.

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