Over the past month or two I’ve gotten several phone calls from the Obama for President campaigners. The typical conversation starts off with one of the friendliest hellos imaginable without sounding like a script from Hee Haw followed by an explanation that Senator Barack Obama is counting on me to help fund his bid for the White House and since I was suckered into giving to Mr. Obama before maybe I’d be so retarded to do it again.
On one phone call, not wanting to be rude, I explained that it simply wasn’t in my budget. On another, again not wanting to be rude, I explained that I had just given money to the relief effort in Haiti after one of the hurricanes tried to scrub the nation free of people and it wasn’t in my budget. But the last time they called and gave their spiel I wasn’t in the most pleasant of moods. The moment I realized who it was I didn’t care if I was rude or not. My mind quickly returned to the feeling I had after donating to Mr. Obama’s cause only to hear the man’s Father’s Day speech in front of the Apostolic Church of God on Chicago’s south side. I replayed the message in my head that black men need to step up to the plate instead of being fools. I didn’t appreciate Mr. Obama’s assumption, like the majority of people in America, that black men and the black community is more irresponsible than other communities. Racism will stop being an issue when black people straighten up.
But forty plus years of mom’s social etiquette programming quickly reigned in my impulse to be rude. I simply stated that I was not interested in making a donation at this time. The caller cheerfully relayed their disappointment and reminded me to vote on November 4th, as if I could forget. With the election little more than a week away I could tolerate one more phone call soliciting a donation.
The phone call reminded me of my political leanings and why. I am not even close to being a fan of Barack Obama. I really don’t think Barack Obama is a fan of me. More than likely Mr. Obama would see me in my shades, my locks, my white T-shirt, and my should’ve been thrown away years ago Converse’s and make the assumption that I’m just another irresponsible black fool pissing away his life. Mr. Obama would be more than happy to go into middle class America’s neighborhoods and get broadsided by “joe the plumber” as he reaches out to shake the Republican operative’s hand but continues to keep his distance from my black neighborhood.
To date, Mr. Obama continues to keep blacks at arms length, at least when it comes to this presidential campaign’s photo opportunities. I’ve seen the video clips of Mr. Obama going door to door in a middle class neighborhood somewhere with people trying miserably to act surprised to see Mr. Obama knocking on their door. I have to confess that if Mr. Obama knocked on my door I’d probably answer the door as if I had just won the Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes. But so far, these neighborhoods look like Opie Taylor’s ‘hood back in Mayberry. Where the black people at?
On Father’s Day, Mr. Obama used the black community as a whipping boy. He couldn’t demonstrate his strong belief in family values on irresponsible people in the dominant community, but he sure could mouth off on black men and the black community without fear of retribution. In fact, Mr. Obama’s criticism of black people demonstrates to the dominant community his desire to minimize his affiliation with the black community and demonstrate his conformation to the racial status quo.
When I made my donation to Mr. Obama earlier this year, it was the first time I ever contributed to a political campaign. I was motivated to do so after a particularly nasty attack on Mr. Obama by Hillary Clinton, Mr. Obama’s most significant opponent at the time. I was actually a supporter of Ms. Clinton prior to her attacks on Mr. Obama’s character. I was incensed to hear her say that she acknowledged Mr. McCain’s experience but saw Mr. Obama as little more than an eloquent speech maker. That was a huge turnoff, every bit as bad Mr. Obama’s implication that generally speaking black men are a bunch of irresponsible fools. Her implications that she appeals to hardworking white Americans left me wondering what she thought of black Americans. Ms. Clinton appeared too polarizing for my taste. Mr. Obama appeared to be the better in a tightly contested bid for the Democratic Party nomination.
The same can be said In the final analysis in this part of the election as well. Like most politicians who have more appeal, Mr. Obama appears to be little more than the lesser of two evils. He might end up being America’s first black President. But I really haven’t seen him demonstrate much of a desire to be the President of the black community along with the rest of the communities of America. Even America’s first black President is ready to treat the black community as an afterthought. Why would I want to pay to support that kind of behavior when I’ve been getting it for free?