Obama and the Fulfillment of History?November 9, 2008Dangerous Dan No Comments »
I've decided I'm the last person in the country who doesn't really care all that much that Barack Obama is the first black man elected president. Sure, it's a decidedly positive development in America, but I'm annoyed by all the adulation for several reasons.
Obama's election is not exactly a fulfillment of King's Dream, part of which was that people be judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin. Too many people, however, disregarded the content of Obama's character due to the color of his skin. Much attention was given to the overt and possible covert racism among the electorate's whites. There was little talk or concern, though, about people who used Obama's race as a major qualification for voting for Obama. This is judging him by his skin color and not by the content of his character and is itself racist. Too many times, though, I saw people accusing McCain supporters of being racist because these pro-Obama folks imagined no other reason could exist for not voting for their candidate. I have friends who have a pronounced ignorance of politics and anything substantive to do with Obama and yet they were seduced by the Obama narrative that made no small use of the historic angle of his nomination. I ignored his color and couldn't give one whit if he was even one of the denizens of the Star Wars cantina. I paid attention to his character, his biography, and his policy proposals and found all not only to be wanting, but to be dangerous in a man desiring to be to be president.
I also have a great irritation for race politics in America. Though so many point fingers at the right, it is the left that plays this game. They've invested too much in identity politics and while they often talk about being post-racial and Obama being a post-racial candidate/president, it will be impossible for them to ever move beyond race. Since to them a person's race is irrevocably a primary and immutable part of a person's identity, they cannot understand how to interpret who an individual is without using race as a guideline. The problem, though, is how to identify what ideology belongs to a race. Race and ideology are inherently separate; there is no natural connection between the two and any connection must be artificial and created. If race is then identity and an ideology is attached to it, there is the challenge of deciding what this ideology is to be. The associated problem this creates is that only those of the race who hold the ideology can be considered authentic members of the race. These race politics dictate who is authentically black. By most objective indicators, Obama is far from being authentically American black. He is half white with a Kenyan father, who was born in Hawaii, raised both there and in Indonesia, and went to Columbia and Harvard Law. Then you take a man like Clarence Thomas who was descended from slaves, born in a one room shack, and was raised in Georgia during its time of deep racism. By most standards, Thomas has had the more authentically black American experience, but race authenticity is not based on experience or even objectivity, it is based on subjective ideology. Obama holds the correct ideology and is willing to play the liberal race-games they have set up. Thomas, however, refused to play these games and his ideology is, to the left, heretical. Thus, though their respective experiences would indicate the opposite, Obama is authentically black and Thomas is not. Obama gets held up as an example for all of America's blacks with young men marching in lockstep and saying what Obama has made possible for them, people weeping, and endless barrels of ink spilled on how history has been fulfilled. Seventeen years ago, Clarance Thomas became one of the most powerful people in America and there was no such reaction. No, Thomas's nomination to the Supreme Court was actually opposed by the NAACP and the Urban League. Black elites like Manning Marble called him a race traitor and Emerge magazine put him on the cover as a lawn jockey and called him Uncle Thomas. The authentic blacks used every racial attack on him that had ever been inflicted on blacks by racist whites. It was despicable, but it was allowed because Thomas was not truly one of them. You need only to choose a conservative black in politics to see similar treatment: Condi Rice, Michael Steele, Ward Connerly, Colin Powell (at least before he decided to support Obama), and more.
The irony here is that despite accusations towards conservatives, it is liberals who cannot get beyond race. They do not how and too many of their ideas make it impossible for them to do so. It is also they who practice the toxic politics also practiced by racist tyrannical regimes. So, no I do not much care that Obama is the first black man to become president. I judge him not by his color and see only an exceptionally poor candidate who is about to become the leader of my country. And I give no credence to those who see themselves in him. They do not know the man who has much less in common with them than they think, but believe him to be like them because they have been suckered into buying into an ideology-based racial authenticity to which Obama has adhered and in which he fits. Tragically, the only consolation I take in Obama's victory is that I won't have to listen to people spending the next four years stupidly talking about how America is still racist, not ready for a black president, etc.