Obama’s mother was white, his father African. He grew up not as a disadvantaged, poverty-stricken youth but he surely must have faced some sort of discrimination… maybe it only happened once, maybe it happened 100 times. During his run for the nomination and the presidency, everyone was waiting for the racial cartoon or racist comments to come out… doesn’t seem like that really happened or it would have been on the cover of Newsweek or Time magazine. Already we have had a few incidents regarding race… the Henry Louis Gates issue with the white police officer and cries of racism by Gates, the “Joker” poster which was called “racist” by some, and, most recently, the govenor of New York saying people were down on him because he is black.
President Obama held his absurd “beer summit” with Gates and the cop who arrested him and he made a few prefunctory remarks as one would expect regarding the matter (as well as some apologies for besmurching the police). But did he really say anything substantiative regarding race?
Obviously we have never had a non-white as U.S. president so it would be tough to find a parallel to the issues of today but we can look back at someone who did face questions over his religion. I am speaking of John Kennedy. Here are a few things he said on September 12, 1960 regarding the question as to whether a Catholic could be president:
These are the real issues which should decide this campaign. And they are not religious issues — for war and hunger and ignorance and despair know no religious barriers.
But because I am a Catholic, and no Catholic has ever been elected president, the real issues in this campaign have been obscured — perhaps deliberately, in some quarters less responsible than this. So it is apparently necessary for me to state once again not what kind of church I believe in — for that should be important only to me — but what kind of America I believe in.
I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute, where no Catholic prelate would tell the president (should he be Catholic) how to act[…]
For while this year it may be a Catholic against whom the finger of suspicion is pointed, in other years it has been, and may someday be again, a Jew— or a Quaker or a Unitarian or a Baptist.
Finally, I believe in an America where religious intolerance will someday end; where all men and all churches are treated as equal; where every man has the same right to attend or not attend the church of his choice; where there is no Catholic vote, no anti-Catholic vote, no bloc voting of any kind[…]
Let’s be clear… being Catholic is not the same as being black, Asian, or anybody else who is not white… nobody can spot the Catholics from the Baptists on the street, after all, but Catholics, like blacks, have been the targets in the U.S. of many organizations including the Klu Klux Klan. And Kennedy was the first Catholic elected president so his election did break a longstanding barrier.
My point is that Kennedy spoke from personal experience, from deep seated beliefs, and he addressed issues that were probably in the minds of many Americans rightly or wrongly. I cannot remember hearing Barack Obama speak so personally of race or any discriminations he faced from whites in his life. Perhaps I am mistaken in this conclusion (and if so please point it out) but I don’t think I am.
Obama does have the gift of gab. He is a great speaker and his rhetoric is eloquent but this mainly seems to be when he is standing in front of a teleprompter. He admits to having used drugs and having spent time around people whose lives went into the dumpster but where has our nation’s first non-white president taken us in terms of the racial discussion?
Maybe it is too much to ask of one man to single handedly lead an entire country into the racial debate because it would awaken extremists on the Left and the Right. But I have this silly view that a president should lead the country from his or her deep seated beliefs. And if Obama spoke from his heart, from personal experience, how could that be wrong? Obviously he overcame a few challenges to become president and surely he must have learned a few things along the way. But yet, with all of this, we have silence.
I view his lack of teaching on race kind of like I view his policy goals… he won’t draw a line in the sand and say: “This is what I believe!” We have seen it with Obamakare and we have seen it with Gates Gate. Obama will make a statement, catch some heat, then back off and say he just wants the best ideas let’s all be friends. To me, these are not the qualities that define an American.
Americans, to me, are special people overall because they do say what they believe in, they take a stand, they zig when others zag whether it is throwing tea in Boston Harbor, rebuilding Europe after WWII, or pardoning a former president because it was the best interest of the nation to put things behind us. America is a place where you can screw up and make mistakes but if you come clean about things and change your behavior people will give you a second, third, or even forth chance if you are “that good.”
I find that Obama is too smooth, too “above the fray” to truly be sincere. When will we hear from him about a “driving while black” experience and what he learned from it? I think the country would appreciate it and I know that I would gain a lot of respect for the man were he to speak from the heart.
What is most ironic, too, is that Democrats seem to portray themselves as the friends of minorities, the defender of the down trodden, etc. And yet, though Obama gets “credit” for the first Hispanice Supreme Court justice, George W. Bush actually nominated the first Hispanic to that post (Estrada) and had the most ethnically diverse cabinet in U.S. history and spent more U.S. money on AIDS in Africa than any other president before him.
I think Democrats’ attempts to play the race card are becoming more and more frenzied because they are afraid of losing minority voters and thus they must try harder and harder to pander to those people in an attempt to keep them in the fold even if their policies (Cap and Trade, minimum wage, high taxes) actually hurt the most disadvantaged of society the hardest.
Once again, an example of reality not being in synch with someone’s narrative so it must be ignored.
To quote a line from the movie Ronin: “Where there’s doubt there is none.”