Margaret Kimberley, Black Agenda Report
A Barack Obama presidency would certainly be a first - the first time that most Black people will end their historic progressive politics and applaud America's criminal activity just because the head criminal looks like them.
Despite the fact that African Americans overwhelmingly agree with the thrust of Obama's former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright's critique of American society, history and government policies, they will undoubtedly vote in huge majorities for the Illinois senator who has repudiated him.
Wright has been castigated for doing nothing more than pointing out that there is a well documented history of genocides committed in this country.
Black people are and always have been the largest group of truth tellers in the United States. Our history proves that the country's most beloved mythologies are shams. Our every day lives tell us that racism persists, and that our political leaders lie constantly. We were always very difficult to fool, that is until Barack Obama ran for president.
Our commitment to truthfulness has been tested and found to be severely lacking, all in the name of seeing a black president. Obama's campaign has been filled with a laundry list of lies. Obama burst onto the national scene after his speech at 2004 Democratic convention. In that speech he famously said that "There is no Black America." His statements during his presidential campaign have since gone from bad to worse.
First there was no Black America, bad enough, then he acknowledged our existence but claimed we have no problems because "we are 90 per cent of the way towards equality." Then there was double talking, slippery, plausibly deniable praise of Ronald Reagan. Then the unambiguous praise "my foreign policy will be in some ways like Ronald Reagan's".
The litany of outrageous statements continues with the never ending campaign and so do the excuses from Obama supporters. He'll be different once he gets in. He can't just be the president of Black America. He has to get white people's votes after all. Who are you going to believe, Obama or your lying ears?
Obama would be the first Black president, but he follows Colin Powell, once a possible presidential candidate himself, into the corridors of power. Black America's opinions on the disastrous Powell tenure are indicative of what awaits an Obama presidency. When Powell chose to be Secretary of State for George W. Bush, he went down in history as one of the leading war criminals of our time. Yet to this day, most Black people make excuses for him and for his crimes.
At the United Nations on February 5, 2003, a day that should live in infamy, Powell lied about the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The subsequent failure to find any WMDs did not turn most Black opinion against him. His bold-faced lies to members of the Congressional Black Caucus during the overthrow of the Aristide presidency in Haiti didn't do it either.
Too few Black Americans will call Powell what he is, a man willing to do anything to keep his place at the table with the powerful. Lies to the international community about non-existent weapons of mass destruction didn't ruin his reputation, neither did lies about a US coup against a democratically elected president of a Black nation. The worst that was said of Powell is that he should have resigned sooner. The fact that he didn't do so because he enjoyed doing the dirty work for Bush and vice-president hawk Dick Cheney was and is still conveniently ignored.
Now Barack Obama will be the object of unconditional love from Black America. His pledge to leave Iraq is full of loopholes, and will not result in an end to the occupation. His language is less bellicose than Hillary Clinton "we'll obliterate them" on Iran, but he has said that "all options are on the table." If those options include killing thousands of people, what will Black America say? Will we play our traditional role of speaking truth to the powerful or will we excuse mass murder because the head murderer looks like us?
The omens don't look good. While Wright is generally supported, Black opinion makers have urged him to shut up because they fear that the truth will damage Obama's chance to win. Well regarded journalists like Les Payne dismiss Wright as readily as right wing pundits. "Wright mugged [italics mine] through a fiery condemnation of the US government." Bob Herbert, of the New York Times, stooped much lower. "We've allowed the entire political process in what is perhaps the most important election in the US since World War II to become thoroughly warped by the histrionics of a loony preacher [italics mine] from the South Side of Chicago."
"Anyone who dares question the words that come from Obama's own mouth are told to suspend disbelief."
Just shut up and let him win. Filmmaker Spike Lee said it and that is what Payne and Herbert and millions of Obama's supporters have said throughout this campaign and they haven't just been speaking to Jeremiah Wright. Anyone who dares question the words that come from Obama's own mouth are told to suspend disbelief and trust that all will be well in an Obama presidency.
It will be a sad day when Black people stop telling the truth, all in an effort to elevate one ambitious man to his dream job. An Obama inauguration would be truly historic. A Black man becoming president always seemed to be impossible, the stuff of science fiction and political pot boilers. It turns out that Obama's hand on the bible next January will be historic in more ways than one. Almost all of Black America will have decided to sell their souls in order to witness this scene. That will certainly be a change, but it isn't anything we should believe in.