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Shuffling The Race Card
2008-08-27 22:39
by Will Carroll

I'm still loathe to talk politics, still not completely on board with Obama, and still waiting for this campaign to grow a pair. That said, the DNC speeches, especially from John Kerry and Joe Biden, plus the strategic moves by Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton have made it a success.

But that could all blow up tomorrow, a Mile High.

The "greek temple" is just the latest small detail that the Rove Republicans are seizing on. Of course, most Americans don't read Politico and won't see that George Bush put up columns in 2004. The Obama campaign has done just enough after Iowa to win, but couldn't shake Hillary and now they can't shake John McCain, so those details all count.

But what worries me most is what Barack Obama might say, or rather, how he might say it in front of those columns, in front of a screaming crowd of thousands, and most importantly, on August 28th.

Yes, it was August 28th, forty-five years ago, when Martin Luther King Jr. gave his speech and in Obama, many of the people moved by King are seeing that dream answered. A multi-racial, multi-cultural young man is being judged on the biggest stage in the world for the most powerful position in the world on the quality of his character.


I grew up in the South and know racism first hand. I've heard the harsh words and worse, the actions towards blacks and immigrants. I've seen the gnarled racism of Wallace-era segregation set in hearts of stone. I've seen the ugly racism of those with hate in their souls. I've seen the thoughtless racism of those who didn't hate as much as held it as an ignorance.

Those people are still there and still all across the country. They'll see Obama standing in a crowd of thousands, in front of columns, accepting the presidency and echoing Dr. King on the same day as his greatest speech, but they'll just see an uppity black boy speaking in the cadence of a call-and-response preacher.

There are times when Obama, like so many great black preachers, finds himself echoing the preachers he grew up with, though with Obama, I'm curious just how much he did grow up with them. Yes, we know that Jeremiah Wright speaks in those cadences, but I wonder if Obama echoes King more than Wright. I hear none of Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton, none of Crefilo Dollar and certainly none of Malcolm or Farrakhan.

If Obama's speech is to cross over, to speak to all of America and not just the ones that already have their early vote ballot filled out, he's going to have to catch himself when he starts to sound too much like King. Simply, Obama's dream is going to have to have it's own voice. To make his dream come true, he'll have to understand the race card is always in play and shuffle the deck.

2008-08-28 03:41:33
1.   CharlesFosterKane
While I don't doubt that racism festers in the hearts and minds of a good deal of Americans, I cannot fathom that it exists in enough of them to change this election that Nate Silver has at 58% for Obama who hasn't stood up for anything since he clinched the nomination.

The very thing you're asking him to--grow a pair--is what he'd avoid if he strayed from the oratory style which has brought him this far.

I'm not all sold on Obama yet either, but McCain scares the hell out of me more and more everyday.

Every time he opens his mouth to advocate our forces to 'fight oppression', I just tremble with fears of what entering wars that don't involve American interests will do to our economy and security.

There is a fraction of the population that won't vote for Obama no matter what--and straying from a stunning presentation that draws from Southern Baptist preachers isn't going to sway them.

Obama needs to be Obama. Stop compromising at every turn and argue his position. Win a few battles on principle instead of declaring a draw before taking the field.

I've got a feeling that tomorrow evening is going to be something special.

2008-08-28 05:43:54
2.   Ali Nagib
I've been saying all year (and I'm not the only one), this is all you need to know:

2008-08-28 05:50:26
3.   tsengsational
I love how there's a McCain ad right underneath this post.
2008-08-28 05:50:26
4.   jgpyke
If Obama wins, can we finally be a post-racial country?

If he loses, does that hafta mean the USA is "racist"? I mean, can't he just lose for being an empty suit (for example)?

2008-08-28 05:51:22
5.   chris in illinois
Grow a pair?? Remember John Kerry? Obama has fought back against the mudslinging from the McCain camp more in the last week than Kerry did in his entire campaign. His campaign has also been on the attack for weeks, taking advantage of McCain's miss-steps whenever possible.

So you're not sold on Obama, OK, have you at least realized that McCain might be worse than Bush?? At least the Bushies had a plan---strip the treasury bare and destroy the social service arms of the government---McCain's 'plan' appears to be to return the world to a cold war with Russia. Seeing as how he's a computer illiterate, maybe he's just trying to return the world to a time that he understood.

2008-08-28 05:52:56
6.   tsengsational

Oh god. I can't even imagine all the hoopla that's going to happen if Obama loses. Pundits and commentators will be talking for at least half a year about how America hasn't shaken off racism and how it's still prevalent in every day society.

But I'm still voting for the other guy.

2008-08-28 06:50:38
7.   chris in illinois
I'll relate an incident from work last week. I don't think it's any secret that I work in a book store, but I don't recall mentioning that I HATE working there during election cycles. We have loonies and the left and right analyzing our displays for bias----I've been yelled at by both sides this year for our perceived bias, apparently I'm a Godless liberal AND a goose-stepping fascist... don't get me started on the 'swift-boat' boondoggle of '04...whatever.

In any case, I had an older customer come up to me and ask me about the "Obama-nation" book that she held in her hand...

"Is it true that the author made a lot of stuff up about Obama?"

Me: "Well, I don't know about 'made-up', there are numerous stories out there doubting his truthfulness...he has publicly stated that he wrote the book to win an election, not be accurate."

60+ customer: "Well, I'm glad some of that stuff isn't true, but [whispering] I still can't see voting for a colored man."

None of us knows how much race affects anything, good grief there are 300 million of us, but I think it's safe to say that blind racism is still pretty strong in the over 50 crowd in this country. I doubt that racism will cease to be an issue until at some point in the future when everyone who is 50+ years old in 2008 is dead. I have dealt with the public for 20+ years now in my various lines of work and at least once a week I have had an interaction with an ignorant customer that made me be glad that I'm white.

4 & 6 , complain if you want, but consider yourself lucky that racism is mostly an abstract concept in your lives.

2008-08-28 08:57:15
8.   jgpyke
7 I wasn't complaining: I just want an Obama loss to be credited to something other than ONLY racism.

But if Obama loses and you want to call it racism, then please let's place the blame where it belongs: the racism among Democrats. Racist Democrats are the swing voters. Ask the Clintons.

2008-08-28 09:42:35
9.   Raf
4 We will never be a "post-racial" country
2008-08-28 10:04:22
10.   chris in illinois
9 Never say never. A generation ago my grandparents frowned upon people they knew who dated 'Italians' instead of good German folk.

A lot can change quickly. Twenty years ago in my neck of the woods you'd get your ass kicked if you were a black guy and you dared to kiss a white woman in public...95% of the people today wouldn't bat an eye.

It may not happen soon, but it'll happen.

Of course, some new branch of Christianity or Islam will be erecting new walls to separate us by then anyway.

2008-08-28 12:02:10
11.   Raf
10 If it's not one thing, it will be another. One group will have issue with another, for whatever reason.
2008-08-28 19:42:24
12.   Hugh Jorgan
The election is a choice. All the talk always seems to be singular without mentioning the other guy.
Overseas perspective:
1 guy is young, articulate and relative unknown...campaign based on hope and change
Other guy is old, articulate, known quantity...campaign based on basic conservative politics in a much different way then the previous guys in charge.
Oh, did I mention that old guy said he's never sent an email or used a computer?
Pick young guy, if he sucks just boot his arse out in 4 years. WTF give him go, it can't be any worse then the old guy.
2008-08-29 13:25:16
13.   Linkmeister
12 "campaign based on basic conservative politics in a much different way then the previous guys in charge"

Er, no. McCain has voted with Bush 90-95% of the time, and he's even more hawkish than the Bush-Cheney crowd. He's the neocons' dream candidate.

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