Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Campaign 2008 In Black & White.

From the Rocky Mountain News:
     Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader accused Sen. Barack Obama, the presumed Democratic Party nominee, of downplaying poverty issues, trying to "talk white" and appealing to "white guilt" during his run for the White House.
     In a wide-ranging interview with the Rocky Mountain News on Monday, he said he is running because he believes Democrats, like Republicans, are too closely aligned with corporate interests.
     "There's only one thing different about Barack Obama when it comes to being a Democratic presidential candidate. He's half African-American," Nader said. "Whether that will make any difference, I don't know. I haven't heard him have a strong crackdown on economic exploitation in the ghettos. Payday loans, predatory lending, asbestos, lead. What's keeping him from doing that? Is it because he wants to talk white? He doesn't want to appear like Jesse Jackson? We'll see all that play out in the next few months and if he gets elected afterwards."

     The Obama campaign had only a brief response, calling the remarks disappointing.

     Asked to clarify whether he thought Obama does try to "talk white," Nader said: "Of course.

     "I mean, first of all, the number one thing that a black American politician aspiring to the presidency should be is to candidly describe the plight of the poor, especially in the inner cities and the rural areas, and have a very detailed platform about how the poor is going to be defended by the law, is going to be protected by the law, and is going to be liberated by the law," Nader said. "Haven't heard a thing."

     I agree with Nader that both major parties are in a liplock with Wall Street, and he's right about any candidate's responsibility to address the economic needs in America's inner cities. But his claim that Obama is trying to "talk white" doesn't seem to have dampened the excitement that the many black people I've talked to feel for Obama's candidacy. I've never spoken to a black person that says Obama talks "white", although he certainly has his black detractors, too.

     I'm anxious to see who gets Obama's VP nod, because once we head full-steam into the general election, two united voices can better address all the issues we face, including the urgent need for a sound domestic economic policy for the millions at and below the poverty line.

     Main Street covers a helluva lot more of the American Neighborhood than Wall Street, and it reaches into communities of all colors.

     I think Obama understands that.    

     Nader didn't cause the Democrat's loss to Boy George in 2000; Democrats caused that. Saint Ralph's idealism adds an important voice to the national debate, although I'm not sure this white man's take on whether a black man is talking "white" resonates much with the black community he seems to say Obama is neglecting.

     But I'm sure that Sean Hannity will trumpet it as yet another example of Barack Obama throwing black people everywhere under that imaginary bus.   


     I swallowed hard and went on Hannity's website to see if he's making noise about Nader's comments.

     Yup. He sure as hell is...

     The echo-chamber will be yammering about this until the next phony issue pops up.        

      So Nader gets some media play to (temporarily) quench his thirst, talk radio and cable TV get to demagogue Saint Ralph's tortured reasoning, and Obama gets to express his "disappointment" at yet another silly distraction.

     This is your country. 

     In black and white.  



1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am a unabashed Nader supporter but not a blind loyalist. And sometimes Ralph doesn’t get it right. Consider this part of what Ralph said during the aforementioned interview…

"He wants to show that he is not a threatening . . . another politically threatening African-American politician," Nader said. "He wants to appeal to white guilt. You appeal to white guilt not by coming on as black is beautiful, black is powerful. Basically he's coming on as someone who is not going to threaten the white power structure, whether it's corporate or whether it's simply oligarchic. And they love it. Whites just eat it up."

What Ralph failed to know or understand is that Barack Obama is not creating some grand façade of false character. Obama is not a threatening white guilt wielding African-American politician by nature. He simply is what he is, a slightly left of center politician who grew up in a racially, ideologically, spiritually, and economically mixed environment. He is a little black, a little white, a little left, a little right, part Christian, part Muslim, with an absent dad, and a supportive mother. Obama is a homogenous blend that is the American dream for everyone. And that’s his appeal. So many people can relate to Obama because there is a piece of him that is a piece of them.

Obama’s very presence does say that black is beautiful and that white is beautiful and on greater scale, everyone is beautiful even my main man Ralph Nader.