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Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Post Post Race Democratic Primary

By: Carlton Huffman


It is perhaps the most bitter irony of the 2008 campaign that the election that was supposed to prove that we were beyond race has proven that we are anything but. The fawning over the progressive meaning of Obama’s candidacy, courtesy of Chris Matthews and others, seems but a distant memory in the ever increasingly heated Democratic primary. Diversity, all too often cited as a source of strength, is now a source of bitter enmity between the two warring Democratic camps.

It is easy during this time to point the finger at America’s favorite villains, the Clintons. After all was it not Hillary’s New Hampshire chairman, Bill Shaheen, that insinuated that Barack Obama’s past drug use could be used by Republicans to paint Obama as a drug dealer? It was indeed the Clinton’s, in their search for an excuse to explain a possible loss in South Carolina, that stated that Obama would only win due to the large amount of black voters in the state. Most recently it was Geraldine Ferraro who stated that Obama’s success as a presidential candidate was inextricably linked to his ethnic background. These examples are but a fraction to what lengths that Bill and Hillary Clinton have and will go to triumph over their opponents.

While the conclusion that it’s all the Clinton’s fault seems valid, it is just as true that Barack Obama has nobody but himself to blame for the course this campaign has taken. In almost every speech Obama cites the legacy of Martin Luther King and the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement, still a source of controversy in the minds of many Americans. It was Obama’s campaign that labeled Bill Clinton’s “fairy tale” comment in New Hampshire a dismissal of Barack Obama simply because he is black, when the criticism was anything but racial in nature. Who can forget Hillary’s 3 am commercial being linked to the notorious film “Birth of a Nation” and a subliminal racist appeal along the lines of “Wille Horton” and Jesse Helm’s “Hands” ad. Just this week we see the hypocrisy of Barack Obama and his sanctimonious criticism of divisive comments, when the preacher that married him and his wife, baptized his children, and been his self acknowledged sounding board wallows in the same racist rhetoric that Barack claims to decry.

After South Carolina during Obama’s victory speech the crowd loudly chanted “race doesn’t matter.” The crowd spoke way too soon as in Mississippi it seems that race was almost all that mattered with Obama winning 90% of the black vote and only 20% of the white vote. Whether it is Don Imus, the fallacious prosecution of the Duke Lacrosse steam, the lauding or denouncing of the Jena 6, and the display of the Confederate flag race is alive and well as a source of divisiveness in 21st Century America. Simply labeling diversity a strength, downgrading Christmas while upgrading Kwanza, asking how high whenever Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton scream “jump”, and taking a day off for Martin Luther King Day is not going to exorcise the very real and present demons tormenting America. With six weeks left to Pennsylvania and over a month till North Carolina’s primary we are left to wonder how much worse can this campaign can get?

1 Comments: | Post yours

Anonymous Anonymous said...

So says the shepherd, so goes the flock.

March 18, 2008 at 2:03 PM  

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