Thursday, June 12, 2008


The Obama campaign has launched a new website:

It is intended to, as the title suggests, combat untruths that have surfaced against him during the democratic nominating process and in the recently begun general election fracas.

First item on the list?  The so-called “whitey” tape.  The campaign refers to Rush Limbaugh (that guy is still on the air?), Larry Johnson (?), and “proven GOP sleazemeister” Roger Stone (not that they’re going to be calling names, or anything) citing this video of Michelle Obama at this RainbowPUSH conference at Trinity.  This is the same rumor I referred to a few days back when I heard there was some kind of tape.

The Obama camp’s response?  The tape doesn’t exist.  They go on to say the RainbowPush conference was not a Trinity, but at the Sheraton, and M. Obama was not on any panel.

I still find that to be curious.

I also think that if there is such a tape, it’s not as inflammatory as it’s being made out to be.  Like I said, I prefer “cracker” or “da man” to “whitey”.  Whitey just seems so…  second grade.  But I’ll take what I can get as long as people think I have the ability or means to keep anyone down.  For just a second, it’s kind of flattering to think that people think I’m that powerful (insert evil laugh here), but then it’s sad to think that they think so poorly of themselves that they think little old me can keep them down.  Oh well.

But I also think that if it does exist it’ll be tough for the democratic party to not look like a bunch of hypocrites in light of their demonizing anyone who even tangentially refers to something which may even remotely be considered racist if they try really, really hard to misconstrue the comments, right Senator Lott?


All the same, I STILL don’t think the most interesting thing about this whole mess is whether or not there is some stupid tape (which the Obama camp denies) or whether or not the alleged event happened (which the Obama camp eventually denies, sort of, if you keep reading), but rather the fact that when the story comes out, people think, even for a moment, that it COULD happen.


With the shoe on the other foot, and it’s an alleged tape of Cindy McCain at some kind of panel discussion talking about blacks and black leaders jobbing the system and making babies to get more welfare money and any other thread of racial generalizations (even though apartment complexes known as “welfare baby factories” are not hard to find, we’re just not allowed to talk about it), the immediate reaction would be “no way, prove it”.  On the other hand, when the rumor surfaces of Michelle Obama doing the polar opposite and complaining about “whitey” and blah blah blah…  the initial reaction is “really?  That can’t be good for Barak…  if it happened.”


And if you think about it in the greater context, it’s not an unreasonable reaction.  For nearly 30 years we’ve seen the Al Sharptons and Jesse Jacksons (and even the Lou Farakhans) complaining about how white America excludes black America from everything and all we want to do is keep them poor and stupid.  The racial discourse in this country for nearly 30 years was one of power and victimization.  That has changed considerably over the last several years, but certainly when I was growing up (and the generation that represents the Jacksons and Sharptons of the world) frames things in just that light.  It’s the sort of framing that will have a guy be fired for saying something stupid on a radio station, but will still be unapologetic after all these years over demonizing a perfectly innocent cop.


This speaks to that “two Americas” thing I mentioned several days back.  This is the challenge before Barak Obama.  Where is he?  Is he in the America that was?  The America that is?  And speaking of that “America that is”, in the great mishmash of the struggle to overcome the past to realize the future, which does he think is winning?  When I look at the “America that is” I see the future winning out over the past, but when I look back to the late 70’s I don’t see that hopefulness in America, and Pres. Carter didn’t either (as evidenced by his “malaise” speech).  There is a large segment of America that looks forward and only sees what’s been left behind, as evidenced by Rev. Wrights speeches and sermons when he seems to suggest that I, because of my skin color and not the content of my character, would have him in chains if I could (“Louis Farakhan isn’t my enemy, he didn’t have me in chains”).  Or that because of the events that transpired 80 years ago in Tuskegee, Alabama, the plague that is raging across Africa and the world today could have been caused by the US Government.


There are 2 Americas.  There is the one that looks forward and sees tomorrow, and the one that looks forward and sees yesterday.  The one sees hope of tomorrow winning out over the struggles of the past.  The other still fights to open doors that were kicked in 30 or 40 (or 100) years ago rather than ushering people through those doors to a new tomorrow.


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