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Flip-flopping on Obama

By       Message Herbert Calhoun     Permalink
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In the interest of truth in advertisement, I should mention up front that I am a Black man who made a $100 contribution to Obama's campaign early on and then saw the handwriting on the wall, thought better of it and immediately switched giving the same amount to John Edwards' campaign.

Why did I flip-flop on Obama? I did so because, the handwriting that I saw was that of another emerging non-white candidate stepping into the shoes of the same old well-worn template of the other illustrative anointed "non-white"- American leaders, leaders whose very forgettable works are now seared in our recent collective memory by the likes of Linda Chavez, John Yoo, Alberto Gonzales, Clarence Thomas, Colin Powell, Condoleeza Rice, J.C. Watts, just to name a few of the more obvious ones.

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What they all have in common is that they were all so thoroughly socialized into American racist politics, that they were sent out front to do the "racial dirty work"- that their racist white overseers no longer were willing to do, or willing to leave their fingerprints on. The other collective legacy of this group is that to a man (and woman) none would be caught dead doing anything positive for their own tribal group interest. This template is now so well established that non-whites are better off electing a racist white than a non-white.

What also distinguishes these leaders from their white counterparts is that as a prerequisite for their jobs, they are forced to announce their loyalty to white tribal and racial politics up front: as their first and most important act of fealty. The most obvious way of doing this is through race-based tribal groveling. And failing that, by conspicuously ignoring, denigrating or avoiding to mention their own respective tribal group's concerns. Without this opening act of genuflection in the direction of white racial tribalism, and away from their own, these non-white candidates could not be considered "safe enough"- to hold office. Their bona fides could not otherwise be guaranteed. As Bill Clinton put so eloquently about Obama, "he remains a risk,"- "an uncertain quantity."- In Clinton's coded language, this meant of course that Obama, before being properly vetted, represented a clear threat to the established racial social order. And as a result of such a perception, he was not a candidate that could be entrusted to be elected to the highest office in the land.

Unlike Hilary Clinton, who openly and unabashedly championed women's reproductive rights, and other tribal women causes; or Joe Lieberman, who works tirelessly and openly for Jewish tribal causes, and even switched parties to continue doing so. Hilary

OrOO Or even John McCain for that matter, who as a "conservative Republican,"- openly courts the passive aggressive racist vote. However, unlike their white counterparts, all of the non-white candidates such as Obama, are expected, as their first act of loyalty to the established social order, to grovel before their white audience through well-established and coded racist genuflections. Historically for blacks, this kind of groveling is normally referred to as "Uncle Tommish"- or "Aunt Jemimaism."- Its purpose is to make clear that upon arriving in office the non-white candidate in question will "work tirelessly"- for the racist agenda and for the racist interests that remain the subtext of American society and is the whole of the substance of the established social order.

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For those who may think this is just over-the-top hyperbole, I should also point out that I am one of literally only a handful of Black professionals who was inside fighting behind the scenes against the deep plantation level racism that existed in the bowels of the U.S. State Department while Colin Power was the Secretary of State. Somehow, upon Powell's appointment, I had gotten the cockamamie idea that since Powell was Black, under his leadership the plantation embarrassment that the State Department had become, would be addressed and corrected. It was not. Business of course continued as usual, and the racial situation remained the same, and at least among whites, Powell became the "darling"- (or is it the "pet"-) of the Republican Party. I retired before Ms. Rice took over the helm, but the scuttlebutt from my old colleagues is that the situation actually got worse under her tutelage.

But one does not need my personal story to attest to this phenomenon, for it is so widespread in the US Government, that the evidence is everywhere self-evident.

How We Know that Obama is now fit for the Job of the U.S. Presidency

None of this of course is irrelevant to, but is actually prelude to the Obama case for the presidency. Now that he has become the democratic nominee, all that remains for him to do to establish his fitness for the job is to establish his racial bona fides. Nothing else even remotely matters to the American public or to the American social order. All the chatter now is about "how black Obama is," as if a parsing his pedigree down to the level of the gene, might somehow reveal how good or bad a President he might become. By that measure, President Bush should have been an outstanding President.

With all of the problems we have in the world, how does Obama establish with a certainty his bona fides before the white American public? He does so by pawing the ground, and snarling his teeth back at black folks like a junkyard dog. As his first act as a nominee he viciously bites his own tail by attacking his own tribe: Black men. Suddenly, and unaccountably, all that matters in the colonized mind of this "presumptive leader of the Western world,"- the number one problem in the world is that Blacks as a whole are irresponsible human beings; "they are not pulling their weight."- "There may still be a bit of racism remaining on the margins of American society, but in the main, Blacks are responsible for their own miserable plight."- Sounds like a script written by the Ku Klux Klan to me.

That was Obama's opening salvo; that was his job interview speech to the American public. That was his valedictory message to the NAACP, and to the world at large: Mr. Obama, the racist white people did not miss your point. You have passed the test. You are now in the safety zone. You are no longer just an Oreo, Like Condoleeza, Colin and Clarence, you are an "honorary white American."- You can have the job. Congratulations!

But as if this were not enough, unlike Powell, Watts, Thomas, Gonzales, Chavez, Yoo, and Condoleeza who at least had the cover of being Republicans, Obama, this hand-picked Democrat from Oprah-land, has gone one step further: He has not just attacked the black tribe as a whole, but his own sub-tribal group, black men in particular, including his own father, and he has done so viciously and keeps the Bill Cosby refrain going as if it is a new reverse "rap style campaign song: ["Whose your daddy? whose your daddy? You don't know because like me, you don't have a daddy! bump-de-bump- de bump "-etc.]

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With such an open demonstration of self-hatred, no wonder "everyone's favorite Black candidate for life,"- the Reverend Jessie Jackson has suggested that Obama needed to be neutered. But surely, the good Reverend must already have known that America's Grand Dame, the Talk Show Queen for life, Oprah, has already done that job for him.

The Meaning of Obama Campaign and the NACCP "Meet the Candidates Session."-

For those who doubt this analysis or consider it flippant, then the recent "NAACP Meet the Candidates Session"- should seal the case for me. When both candidates can go before the NAACP and tell that organization to "go to hell"- in their own special coded language, and that august body, by giving them both standing ovation, actually demonstrates that it looked forward to going there, I believe we have passed a new dangerously negative Rubicon in American politics and American race relations.

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Retired Foreign Service Officer and past Manager of Political and Military Affairs at the US Department of State. For a brief time an Assistant Professor of International Relations at the University of Denver and the University of Washington at (more...)

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