Whatever happens in the presidential election doesn’t matter to me anymore. I finally experienced something amazing, something that I never thought would happen: a politician addressed an extremely difficult subject and made me feel inspired rather than disgusted. Most politicians live off of a staple diet of pre-packaged ‘strategies’ and ‘talking points,’ mostly derived from polling data rather than personal convictions. After they’ve ingested this pablum they spew it back out and the press reports it as news.
Race is a difficult subject for our country. When people don’t want to deal with something difficult they construct simplistic notions as buffers from harsh reality. Skilled politicians know this, and on that basis they exploit our simplistic views of race. White politicians and black politicians do this. And the press does it too. Politicians do it to get elected, and the press does it to sell more newspapers.
It is no longer news that Obama is the first black with a realistic shot at becoming president. But what about his exposure to the sermons of a controversial black minister? What are we to make of that? Given that we have a hard time dealing with race and prejudice, what can Obama really say about Reverend Wright? If he disavows him it will seem like a convenient political ploy, another advisor tossed overboard to keep the political machine aloft. If he doesn’t disavow him then, well, that wouldn’t be good either. But those are the choices, right?
Maybe there’s another option? Hmmmmm, what would that be? Read this speech and consider Obama’s temerity. My god, this man has the audacity to assume that people can actually understand his true beliefs. And the further audacity to think that they might agree with him.
It doesn’t matter anymore if Obama wins. I’m not counting on people or events to pick the best candidate. Maybe he’s not the best candidate; I think he is but maybe I’m wrong. But I do know this: he’s the only one who doesn’t speak to us as though we’re all fools.
A lot of us are, though. And that’s why skilled politicians and newspapermen are usually so successful. And that’s why I’m not getting my hopes up about Obama becoming president.