I've been on the receiving end of Black defensiveness when it comes to the United States presidential elections when any slight but objective criticism of Democratic Presidential hopeful Senator Barack Obama is viewed as Black treachery. As a matter of fact Black people now behave as mindless zealots who want to yank out the ropes and start the neck-tie party from the nearest sycamore tree if another Black, even in simple, non-threatening conversation, dares to say anything that appears not to be jive with the picture perfect, sanitized version of the Obama screed.
Even among educated Blacks unthinking mindlessness now abounds and they who are better able to analyze, critique, and offer pieces of wisdom to the masses that can lead to positive and progressive approaches to politics, have shamelessly settled for the jaundiced ideology of the herd. But in a way their position and behavior is understandable since their middle class status naturally comes with a certain degree of political ambivalence and vacillation.
Now poll after poll show that among registered Democratic voters Obama supporters are saying that they will vote for a Republican if Hillary Clinton, his opponent and rival for the party's nomination, somehow gets the nod. Moreover, the behavior that Blacks condemn in other non-Black peoples they are now acting in very much the same way that ignorant street rabble behave in places like Egypt, Turkey and elsewhere.
And the very real prospect of Obama making it to the White House has literally caused the Black community to be plunged into a state akin to messianic rapture that has obliterated and obfuscated any objective discussion of what happens the day after the becomes president. For Blacks without an agenda or a list of demands for their blind, unwavering and unquestioning support there is the very real possibility that "the day" after they will find that they have been left out in the cold – once again, this time by one of their own.
The kind of Black intolerance that has surfaced during this presidential election is instructive and tells us a lot about Blacks approach to Blacks. For example, popular Black talk show host Tavis Smiley has resigned from the popular "Tom Joyner Morning Show" because of the volume of complaints from the radio audience over his challenging of Obama's commitment to Black people. Smiley committed the grievous and unpardonable sin was of criticizing Obama – not on his policies or programs – but on his commitment to Black people.
The popular talk show host and successful author publicly complained that Obama snubbed his February 2008 "State of the Black Union" forum and criticized him for not attending the April 4th 40th Anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination in Memphis, Tennessee. Of course, even a principled criticism is viewed with immediate hostility and labeled sinful by Obama's supporters so one more Black voice in white-controlled and dominated talk radio had to go.
In the aftermath, the chorus of angry calls labeled Smiley "ego driven" and said that "Obama does not need to kiss his butt" to get the Black vote. Lost in that formulation is the fact that while 9 out of 10 Blacks have voted for Obama, even if the gets 100% of the Black vote that's not enough for him to win the presidency. As a matter of fact, the Black vote is not the swing vote nor is it really "in play" in the presidential elections for even if Blacks stay home Obama can still win the presidency if his campaign continues in the way that it is going – reaching out to young white voters white middle class Americans.
With just barely 27 million Black Americans in the United States this vote borders on irrelevancy given the fact that the Hispanic population now put around 33 million and the white population of just over 300 million will be the key target populations that Obama will go after. Add to that the fact that Blacks have asked for nothing for their blind support they should expect nothing since Obama is not beholding to any of them – despite their "owning him" – if and when he gets to the White House.