Monday, February 11, 2008

I Can Admit When I’m Wrong

Unlike many of my fellow bloggers, the MSM, and the talking-heads and pundits, I can admit when I am wrong. I have written and believed that whites when in the solitude of the voting booths would not be able to overcome centuries of racial history in America and actually be able to vote for a black man for President. Despite what the pollsters and campaign spokespersons were saying, the biggest question mark going into the primaries of Super Tuesday and beyond was would whites be willing to support Obama in the numbers that they were polling at? The truth be told no one knew the answer to that question and it created a lot of anxiety in the campaigns and in the rest of America. The answer at least among the Democrats in the primaries is a resounding yes.

In astounding numbers Obama is receiving the votes and support of both white males and white females in states with little or no black populations. I also
questioned Obama’s support among blacks and now they are voting for him in large majorities helping him to carry many southern states and giving him the lead in polls for the border states. I don’t know what happened among blacks since the start of the primary season up until now, but there has been a wholesale shift of support from the Clinton brand to Obama. Prior to the primaries, the conventional wisdom was that Hillary and Barack would split the black vote at the worse along a 40-60 split, respectively. Somewhere in this process Obama has secured the black vote and eased the fears and questions many blacks had about him. I don’t know if they were actually questions about Obama or if it was more questions about America’s ability to vote for and support a black candidate. I think that as the electability question of Obama became less of an issue a lot of blacks who were afraid to support Obama began to jump on the bandwagon.

This is one of the few times in my life when I can honestly say that I am happy to have been wrong, because it means that the state of America is changing. Don’t get me wrong, even if we elect Obama the first black man to be President this will not in and of itself cure the many ills that plague America, but it will be one of those statement moments in history. What are statement moments in history? These are moments in history when the foundations of change are laid, even though the changes may be years or even decades away. These are moments when historians can look back and say this was the beginning of monumental change. The sad thing about change though is that it never works out like we think. Examples of this would be the Emancipation Proclamation, the Voting Rights Act, and Brown vs. Education, though these were foundations that could have ushered in monumental changes they were mitigated by obstacles of intransigence and apathy.

Regardless of how this election turns out, we are at a watershed moment in America and I am happy to have been here to witness it. I hope Obama goes on to win the nomination for obvious reasons, but also I want to see how the country will react when their next vote will actually put a black man in the White House. What will be the strategy of the Republicans to combat his candidacy? Race, inexperience, drug pushing? I just want to take this moment to congratulate those white Americans who were able to overcome the centuries of propaganda and racist history of America and vote for Obama. While many will minimize this moment and say this is the way it is suppose to be, I have never been confused with how things are suppose to be versus how things are. This election is one of the most difficult in American history, because there are two distinct historical narratives that can be written in one election. We can elect either the first woman or the first black man to be President and both have their appeal to various segments of the population. I have read that what it will come down to is which is more ingrained in the American psyche gender bias or race bias. I think this is too simplistic an approach and ignores the many other variables that are at play in this election. While it is certainly an issue worthy of discussion and will play itself out in the minds of many voters, if it comes down to a simple male or female question then chances are you won’t get pass the white male question in the first place.

So, on the one hand we have made some progress I just hope we do not accept the false narrative that our mission is accomplished and begin to hang up our banners and ignore the rest of the work that needs to be done. We still have too many of our fellow citizens incarcerated and disenfranchised, we still have to many of our fellow citizens accumulating wealth at the expense of the other hard working Americans, and we still have too many lobbyists and corporations dictating national policy. There are many more miles to go before we sleep America, so let’s pat our fellow citizens on the back and get back to work and may be some day we can live in the kind of America where electing a woman or black man for President won’t be news. And I won’t have to make these stupid apologies.

2 comments:

RicKelis said...

Good for you, Rodney. I'm not a "brother"-- yet I guess I am spiritually -- and certainly musically. I'm an R&B-jazz sax player who has been with black groups most of my life, including Ike & Tina and Tina when she went solo. My fears about Barak and what would happen when the voter curtain was drawn were allayed when I read about his support from the new generation. I've done some teaching in public schools and have seen how color-blind the kids have become (and not pre-judgemental re: gender preference and religion, etc.). And that group will be out in full force. And they will be carrying the liberal banner for years. David Frum, Bush's ex-speechifier, says they'll be voting against Bush well into the 2060s, in his article "Beware the coming Democratic sea change". As for older generations, there aren't Democrats to perpetuate the old "solid South" mentality and not too many are happy with the Republican party in general or anyone who would end up giving us a Bush third term like "more of the same" McCain. Obama promises anything but the same so I think he's got a good chance -- and what a statement that would make to the world. Somewhere up there Martin Luther King Jr has got to be smiling from ear to ear:-)

Malcolm said...

If you don’t mind a little “white man perspective”, I’ll let you in on a secret:

If Obama can win this nomination (which I think he will), and if he (hopefully) chooses anyone other than Hillary for his running mate, we’re going to hand him the biggest landslide since Reagan ’84.

There is a large portion of white America (myself included), who would wait in line to vote for Obama.

It’s good for America, and it’s long overdue.

 
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