Tuesday, May 21, 2024

The Intrinsic Value of Obama’s Nomination…?

August 19, 2008 by  
Filed under News, Politics, Weekly Columns

(Akiit.com) And so here we are…fast approaching the Democratic National Convention. For the young people and those not intimately familiar with the inner-workings of the political machine; this is the moment when Senator Barack Obama “officially” begins his bid for the presidency of these United States. Everything up until now has been the pre-game show, the exhibition season, the overture before the musical if you will.

It’s during (and after) the DNC that the proverbial rubber meets the road. No more discussion about running mates, no more chants for “Hillary for President” or the supposed questions of Barack Obama’s electability. It’s an 8-week sprint to the Oval office…or the hell of trivia answer obscurity.

Somewhere, Senator John Kerry is being added to the game Trivial Pursuit as the answer to the question of “who lost to George Bush in 2004?”

When you’re best remembered for your failure in American politics, you are officially in the hell of trivia answer obscurity.

Moving right along…

So America, what have we learned thus far? Well, we’ve learned that we as a country are both capable of great progress and great regress. We’ve learned that for all the wonderful strides Obama as made individually, African-Americans are still the most hated group of people collectively.

You will never find another presidential candidate in the history of politics compared to the #1 American enemy in all the world.

That’s what we call racial regress.

Conversely, you might never see another candidate galvanize voters both young and old, Black and White in the way that Obama has.

That correctly can be characterized as racial progress.

By definition, there is something irreplaceable and unrepeatable about being the first of a kind. Never has a single candidate managed to reach such a wide and disparate demographic. At the same time, never has a presidential candidate been openly disrespected by fellow politicians and general populace alike. Senator Obama is a trailblazer in many ways…some less desirable than others.

Much has been made about Senator Obama’s middle name of “Hussein,” yet little has ever been made about George “Walker” Bush sharing the same middle name as convicted terrorist John “Walker” Lynn. And last Mo’Kelly checked, Saddam “Hussein” was cleared of any involvement in 9/11 or other terrorist acts against America.

Nevertheless, Obama has managed to press forward.

From Colin Powell to Bruce Springsteen, Senator Obama resonates with a multitude of Americans never before seen in American politics.


Not Kennedy (either John or Robert), not Jesse. Not Abraham, not FDR. Now before you accuse Mo’Kelly of historical heresy…hear me out.

In this multicultural America, never has so much been asked of any candidate. It’s hard enough to just be a Black man in America. Don’t believe the hype, despite Obama’s ascent in American politics…the world has not changed at ground zero for African-American men. You can best believe that the perception of Obama is separate and distinct from the perception of Black men collectively. On one hand, it’s a good thing as it allows the possibility for Obama to succeed. On the other, it’s indicative of the painful reality that Black men are “acceptable” individually, but never collectively. History would have you believe that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was an acceptable anomaly; an aberration.

Reality argues otherwise…

Obama’s rise is nothing short of cataclysmic in nature. There is no “reasonable explanation” as to why an African-American man…(literally an AFRICAN and AMERICAN man) should enjoy the popularity Obama does. No presidential candidate has ever been asked to answer to so many varied voting groups, so many ethnic derivations, so many political schisms while also proclaiming himself as African-American in the process. Candidates prior to Obama had only to wrestle with “Democrats” and/or “Republicans. “ Obama has had to deal with that and questions about his “Blackness,”…questions about his faith, questions about his patriotism and even questions as to his citizenship. John F. Kennedy never had to prove his “Whiteness,” his patriotism and surely never had his citizenship called into question. Never before in the history of American politics has so much been thrown at one presidential candidate.

The facts don’t lie.

As of this editorial, Senator Obama has not publicly selected his Vice Presidential running mate. Surely before the end of the week, that will have changed and will set the stage for the most eagerly anticipated Democratic National Convention in the history of this country…all hyperbole aside.

Such is the ongoing contradiction of America. Only during the height of our greatest social achievements can we also bear witness to our considerable social failures. Such was the case during the civil rights movement. The signing of the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act unfortunately don’t mean as much without the murders of Emmett Till and/or the four little girls at the 16th street Baptist Church to underpin them. Three years ago almost to the day, Hurricane Katrina set the stage for the devastation of New Orleans. Its damage…unprecedented. Its rebuilding process…still uncompleted. A “Black” presidential nominee in the same space as a decimated Black population more than slightly difficult to reconcile.

At times, I’m torn. I know I’d much “rather” see the residents of New Orleans made whole and return home instead of having a “Black” president. Let’s be real, what would more improve the lives of African-Americans collectively?

Clearly a New Orleans made whole would…

The reality is such that the exaltation of ONE African-American does little (if anything) to uplift African-Americans collectively. It’s a harsh and cruel fact. For all the pomp and circumstance certain to accompany the official nomination of Senator Obama at next week’s Democratic National Convention…the reality is that no matter what happens in November, the status quo for African-Americans has not and likely will not change.

It’s enough to question whether Obama’s nomination is of greater symbolic or legitimate significance. Not trying to equate Obama to Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas…but what did African-Americans “gain” through the addition of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court? Or, how have African-Americans benefited from the appointment of Condi Rice as Secretary of State?

Such a contradiction America is and has always been. It’s reminiscent of the success of Joe Louis and/or Jackie Robinson. Neither was allowed to drink from the same water fountain as their White counterparts, much less at the same lunch counter; regardless of their success.

About ten days from now, Senator Barack Obama will officially begin his bid fro the presidency of these United States…but the question still remains, are African-Americans better off collectively for it?

Written By Morris W. O’Kelly

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