A few months ago a slim, tall, pleasant looking, highly educated black man strode to the forefront of this nation’s Presidential election cycle. For a time there it certainly looked as if this nation was not only ready, but also willing to elect a man of color to the Presidency of the United States. When compared to the latter part of the twentieth century and the racial strife marring that period, the twenty first century looked like a dawn of a new era in this nation. To further magnify the achievements of the twenty first century, only 8 years of age, is the legitimate candidacy of a woman for the Presidency. This nation has come along way in acceptance of people “for who they are” and not “what they are”. It appeared that we had finally seen through a black man for his talents and message and actually did not see him as black, just as a presidential candidate with a soaring message of hope for all. Barack Obama was on an express train to the White House.
Obama’s message of bi-partisan involvement, coming together as a unified nation, care for those less fortunate, and those who have hit set backs of life presented him as a multi-cultural leader for all the people. Suddenly, he stopped his train to explain some unusual behaviors of his pastor and his involvement with his pastor. While stopped, a different Obama began to emerge. We have begun to see a man as highly educated, as highly articulate, and as smart as Bill Clinton start to parse his words, just as Bill Clinton has done for oh so many years. We have heard a number of variations explaining away his association with a very questionable church leader. This alone is troubling, but what is even more troubling is we now must begin to question his soaring message.
Bill Clinton was a well packaged candidate while on the campaign trail. His explanations were smooth and believable. His delivery depended on using just the right phrase or word. His moniker of “Slick Willy”, while a moniker of disdain, was also a moniker of grudging respect for his talents to mask the truth. So too are we seeing a Barack Obama begin to use equivocation to explain his questionable judgment. If you listen carefully to each of his explanations, you will hear a message very different from the one that has captured so many hearts and minds. This man – not seen as a black man – supported by people from all walks – women, men, young, old, black, white and many of the other origins of people in this country was accepted as a legitimate Presidential candidate. Listen carefully, and you will hear him now begin to educate us on how we have to treat race, how we get past our prejudices, and heal the racial divide. This same man, who is preaching to us about dealing with race and who had already been accepted by millions who easily put race aside and only saw a man, not a black man, running for President. This man is now lecturing the typical white person how they think and should think.
For all his education and for all his rhetoric are we to believe that he did not notice that in the twenty first century we had gotten past the black / white thing in the most important way that this nation can. We were earnestly considering him for the most important leadership position of the free world without regard to his color. We were simultaneously considering a woman for the same position. How much has this nation grown? Yet his explanations smack of a man who is not what he claims to be. They smack of a man who might actually believe the message of his pastor. Now we move on and we still consider a woman and only now we consider a black man for President – not a man, but a black man because his explanations revealed him to be just that, a black man running for President – not simply as a man of the human race. Time will now tell, as the vetting continues on all candidates, who he really is. Is this another well packaged candidate? Do we need to call him “Slick Barack”? No wonder Bill Clinton was out in front of this story about Barack Obama. He was able to see himself in Barack Obama’s shoes well before anyone else could catch on.