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Obama And Biden

Democratic presidential hopeful Senator Barack Obama has finally let the cat out of his proverbial bag. Senator Joe Biden will be the vice presidential running mate. Like most decisions of presidential politics it could have been better. Like most decisions of presidential politics it could have been a lot worse. What does it mean for the black community? Like most things at our national political level it doesn’t mean anything good for the black community. Like most things at our national political level, there is plenty of evidence to support the supposition that the black community is simply along for the ride.

Many black people were put off when Mr. Biden described his black competitor for the Democratic nomination in the most simplistic of terms as “clean” and “articulate” while delving into carefully constructed, somewhat intellectual reports of the political positions of the other contenders for the nomination like Senator John Edwards and Senator Hillary Clinton. It would be a reasonable assumption to take such a lame description as an indication that he dismissed Mr. Obama as no one to be taken seriously. Was it because Mr. Obama is black? Mr. Biden was also one of the first people to dismiss Mr. Obama as inexperienced and ill prepared

The only other thing that I can think of off the top of my head that could indicate Mr. Biden’s appreciation for issues sensitive to the black community are the Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill Hearing that Mr. Biden presided over. Mr. Biden is a long time member of the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary and served a number of years as ranking minority member. Mr. Biden was front and center in the Mr. Thomas’ contentious Supreme Court confirmation hearings back in 1991. Toward the end of the confirmation hearings, information was leaked to the press regarding an FBI interview with Anita Hill, an attorney who had worked for Mr. Thomas at the Department of Education and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Ms. Hill was called to testify during the confirmation hearing.

Ms. Hill made a number of allegations of sexual harassment against Mr. Thomas. The hearings broke down into a who did what between Mr. Thomas and Ms. Hill. However, Angela Wright, who also worked with Mr. Thomas at the EEOC, told the Senate Judiciary Committee that Mr. Thomas had repeatedly made comments to her, much like those he allegedly made to Hill, including pressuring her for dates and commenting on her body. Rose Jourdain testified that Ms. Wright had discussed Mr. Thomas’ behavior with her at the time the incidents occurred, and that she had considered it sexual harassment. In light of the fact that Thomas had testified that he had fired Ms. Wright for calling another employee a faggot, Mr. Biden decided against publicly hearing Ms. Wright’s testimony. There were powerful interests putting enormous pressure into getting Mr. Thomas confirmed quickly to replace Thurgood Marshall. Mr. Biden caved to those pressures and made the controversy look like nothing but a squabble between a bitter black woman and a maligned Supreme Court nominee chosen to continue the legacy of black people being represented in the highest court of our land. The rest is history. And if Mr. Thomas had his way, so would the black community.

With respect to the black community, the choice of Mr. Biden to be the Democrat’s running mate says a lot about our relationship, or more precisely the black community’s lack of a relationship, with the Senator from Illinois. I seriously doubt if the good Senator who would be President actually wants to do harm to the black community. He simply doesn’t think the political strength of the black community is worth the effort of a positive thought. If anyone had a history of making any disparaging remarks or behaviors that would call into question Mr. Obama’s affiliation to people that he really did care about, like his unconditional affinity for the people in the state of Israel, Mr. Obama would not take a chance of taking that kind of hit on his reputation. But there is no danger in raising the ire of black people. Besides, some black people are so stuck on making history they cannot take a moment to pull back from that single tree of thought to see the entire forest of our relationship with Mr. Obama.

Politically speaking Mr. Biden was a choice that the black community can live with. Just like the way the black community had to live with the choice of the ultra conservative Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court for the past seventeen years. It’s the kind of choice the black community has become accustomed to ever since we became a part of the American collective. Very little happens where the perspective of the black community is taken under any consideration. We should be used to this kind of treatment by now.

Sunday, August 24, 2008 - Posted by | African Americans, Barack Obama, Black Community, Black People, Democrats, Joe Biden, Life, News, Philosophy, Politics, Thoughts


  1. Just wondering, why is “clean and articulate” an offense? To me, it would be a compliment. I don’t see what AT ALL that has to do with race….. seems like sometimes (and I’m not trying to be offensive) people take offense to things that aren’t meant to be offensive because they’re a little overly sensitive in areas they no longer need to be. If you live in a constant state of defensiveness, how will you ever be able to get past it and see that nobody is attacking you anymore?

    And I do believe that Mr. Obama is inexperienced, but that has nothing to do with his “race.” Perhaps, if that’s how Biden felt, it was not an issue of race, either. It’s simply the fact that he’s a first term senator, coming off of one term in his state senate, and he’s never been a diplomat, in the military, or a leader, or held any position of management in his career….. perhaps that’s why he’s inexperienced…. he’s just too young and his resume is lacking!

    And I noticed at the top of your page, about the flooding in Florida….. have you considered that the government simply learned a valuable lesson from Katrina…. that in the future they need not let local state emergency systems take care of themselves, because obviously not all states are prepared to take care of themselves? If we do learn from our past mistakes, we shouldn’t take offense to that!!!

    I hope you do not take offense to this, I’m just hoping to maybe give you a different viewpoint to ponder upon…..

    Comment by Ura | Sunday, August 24, 2008 | Reply

  2. Thanks for the feedback Ura,

    “Just wondering, why is clean and articulate an offense? To me, it would be a compliment.”

    I don’t know of any other presidential candidate ever being described as clean and articulate. As I said in the article Mr. Biden had offered an intellectual assessment of his other opponent’s policies and programs. But all he could say about Mr. Obama is clean and articulate. Let’s look at it another way; I work as a database applications developer. If I got my performance review at the end of the year and all it said was that I spent the year being clean and articulate I would be offended. I have created management reports. I have recovered and rebuilt databases that other people thought were irrecoverable. I have created user interfaces for various database applications. And all someone can say about me is that I was clean and articulate. Maybe you would be satisfied with such commentary. But I would find it insulting.

    I’m sure if you were normally dirty and incomprehensible with a poor vernacular or poor pronunciation of words then there would be little doubt that you would be happy with such simple words of praise. However, I’m shooting for higher standards of recognition for who I am and what I have accomplished. You might think that I am simply living in a constant state of defensiveness. However, I think that you live in a constant state of denial in an attempt to appear as much of an assimilationist as possible.

    “And I do believe that Mr. Obama is inexperienced…he’s just too young and his resume is lacking!”

    When have you ever looked at Mr. Obama’s resume? If Mr. Obama did nothing but serve as a first time senator of the United States then I might be willing to buy your argument. But you will forgive me if I say that your comment sounds like something you may have heard from a political expert or one of Mr. Obama’s opponents. A U.S. Senator is in itself a position of leadership. Most people like you will be quick to dismiss this fact. But if that’s truly not enough the fact that he served as president of the Harvard Law Review, should help assuage those concerns. But too many people are ready to buy into what they are told about Mr. Obama instead of finding out for themselves. When a person doesn’t bother to learn anything about someone else, it’s easy to say that others don’t have any experience.

    When it comes to the presidency of the country, everybody is inexperienced. No one running for president at the moment has any presidential experience. Mr. Obama happens to have just as much experience as any other senator including John McCain and Joe Biden. Why is it an issue for Mr. Obama? Add the fact that the most experienced person for president is George Bush, Jr., I really don’t think experience is the primary concern here. Mr. Bush is more experienced than anyone with the sole exception of Bill Clinton. However, Mr. Bush is also the most incompetent president this country was ever doomed to suffer. Mr. Bush proves experience isn’t all that and judgment should be a far greater consideration.

    “…about the flooding in Florida….. have you considered that the government simply learned a valuable lesson from Katrina…”

    The government learned valuable lessons from Katrina? Like what, don’t wait too long to fish people out of water? That doesn’t sound like something that needed to be learned. I think that’s common sense. No disaster experienced by this country prior and no disaster ever since has ever been handled so abysmally. Anyone who thinks that the American government had to learn that it shouldn’t wait four days to get food, water, medicine, and some form of relief to American citizens is truly fooling themselves. It was not a mistake. It was a coldly calculated decision not to help black citizens.

    If anybody learned anything during the Katrina debacle, it should have been black people. We should have finally learned beyond a shadow of a doubt that the members of the dominant community do not care to help black people. Black people who want to pretend that Katrina and the government’s response was just a matter of confusion and learning lessons for handling disasters are drinking so much propaganda ladened kool-aid in a serious single effort to fool themselves. We should have learned the lessons of Katrina. Unfortunately, we choose not to. For many of us, it will take much more than that to wake us up. And by then it will be much too late.

    “I hope you do not take offense to this, I’m just hoping to maybe give you a different viewpoint to ponder upon…..”

    I take no offense to you and your attempt to offer a different viewpoint. But just like a house Negro would more than likely have a different perspective of the white plantation owner than a field Negro, it is obvious that the two of us have totally different understandings as to what is happening in the black community’s relationship with the racially generic dominant society that is predominantly white. Your words sound like the parroted, empty words of someone else. I hope you do not take offense to my viewpoint of your viewpoints.


    Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Sunday, August 24, 2008 | Reply

  3. Ura,

    If it had been customary for blacks to refer to white people as fat and lazy, then after some pushes by white people that practice ended. Would you find it offensive if a black person then said that some high profile white person was thin and hardworking?

    The connotation if you can’t see it is that he is not the norm, he is not stupid talking and dirty like most blacks. I don’t know if you are American and know our history but it was totally normal and customary for whites to refer to blacks as stupid, lazy, dirty beasts. So personally I think that a lot of white people want to be oblivious to obvious racist sentiment towards blacks. Then say that blacks are just “sensitive” etc.

    You know the government had no problems getting people out of Florida BEFORE Katrina. They had no problems going up the East coast when hurricanes hit and rescuing those people within a day of the storm. They had no problems getting people out of California when fires burn, before and after Katrina. So why then did Katrina cause such a problem? They have gotten people out of worse. Remember Hurricane Andrew, it was much worse than Katrina. So that is just another excuse to NOT see racism in the Actions of this country.

    We pay taxes to the Federal government as well as state and local governments, and we all deserve services from them. All of them, not just local or state. If they are not going to help people in their time of need, then we don’t need to give them our tax dollars.

    I think maybe you should think about the things that took place in Katrina and realize that those people, majority black, were left for 5 days WITH NO FOOD, WATER OR SANITARY CONDITIONS! I don’t think you would find those conditions tolerable. Especially if no other places afflicted with hurricanes had to endure this.


    Comment by theblacksentinel | Sunday, August 24, 2008 | Reply

  4. Thanks for the feedback theblacksentinel,

    I really find it amazing that so many people want to exist in a fog of understanding and are constantly making excuses for some people’s low opinion of the black community. It might be because of this and it might be because of that. The “might haves” might be true if only the black community wasn’t the one constantly losing out in the end. Unfortunately that isn’t the case. And instead of people seeing these manifestations of neglect for the black community we only see excuses.


    Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Sunday, August 24, 2008 | Reply

  5. In reference to Katrina, pre- and post- efforts thereof:
    Maybe it’s because a lot of people don’t understand how the government heirarchy works that the rescue efforts can be misunderstood, on a “who’s-got-to-do-what” basis anyways.

    First order of business for a city, comes from the city leaders, then state..if called on by the city, then feds, if called on by state. The federal level officials can’t legally intervene, unless allowed by state officials, for a certain period of time expires.

    A lot of people like to blame Bush for all of it. While Bush made some poor decisions (like appointing “Heckuva Job Brownie” to FEMA Director), the main brunt of the initial response actually lays with Nagin and Blanco. Red Cross volunteers, Church groups and other relief organizations and volunteers were literally lined up at the border to Louisiana, and turned back by the yet to be federalized LA National Guard, under orders from then Governor Blanco.
    Of course, she quickly deflected blame onto Bush, because he is a rather easy and popular target.
    As for the reporting on black’s “looting” grocery stores, and white’s “finding” food supplies, well that is obviously a load of crap that exposes systemic racism. However the rescue effort was less racially motivated than it was politically and egotistically motivated.
    As for rescue efforts in Florida before and after Katrina, you also have to look at, not racial demographics (as many of the cities affected still had huge minority populations), but the protocol followed, including pre-reviewed disaster policies that included asking for local, state and federal assistance prior to the arrival of the storms. This facilitated quicker responses by higher up organizations.
    A look at Biloxi and Gulfport MS (both have a significant percentage of poor minorities making up their population base)from Katrina shows that they chose to rely on as little federal assistance as possible…preparing for things ahead of time, as well as drawing up scenarios to lay plans for the aftermath. The MS Governor at the time actually prepared to see most federal assistance go to New Orleans. They took what they could get, AFTER the New Orleans response was in full swing, which is rather impressive considering they actually got hit more directly by Katrina than did N.O.
    Once the storm cleared, volunteers locally and from other areas immediately went to work to start the rebuilding process, relying on action rather than rhetoric and waiting for government red tape to filter things through.
    While some racial biases obviously affected the N.O. area in the aftermath, the overall response, was plagued with the idea of trying to secure funding before doing anything, besides of course shooting “looters” and confiscating firearms from everyone they could. In other words, they concentrated on problems as opposed to solutions. PArt of that, you can blame directly on Nagin’s close involvement with the execution of strategy concerned with the “rescue effort”.
    Anyways, sorry for the long rant, being concise isn’t my strongest suit obviously. Thanks for listening.

    Comment by Mike Lovell | Monday, August 25, 2008 | Reply

  6. Thanks for the feedback Mike Lovell,

    But look at the scenario this way, if there was a nuclear bomb detonated in New Orleans, would government officials wait until the mayor of the city called the governor who would then call the president for help? Is everybody going to wait until the legal bureaucracy gets all the T’s crossed and I’s dotted? How long does such legal wrangling take?

    Be that as it may, according to a Department of Defense briefing via satellite telephone on September 1, 2005, Lieutenant General Russel Honore, commander of Joint Task Force Katrina, said that on Friday, August 26, 2005, the governors of Louisiana and Mississippi requested additional assistance from the federal government. That was the Friday before the storm hit the city. It is a myth of damage control propaganda that the governor of Louisiana never asked for assistance.

    “Once the storm cleared, volunteers locally and from other areas immediately went to work…”

    But not the federal government. According to a September 5, 2005 article by Michael Giltz of AMERICAblog, “George Bush stayed on vacation. He didn’t get back to work. When the worst natural disaster in our nation’s history attacked us, George Bush STAYED ON VACATION. Why did the federal government stumble so badly on Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday? Because on Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday, George Bush stayed on vacation in Crawford, Texas. On Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday and Friday, vice president Dick Cheney STAYED ON VACATION in Jackson, Wyoming. On Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday, Secretary of State Condi Rice WENT ON VACATION in New York City and went to a splashy Broadway musical and bought obscenely expensive shoes. She went shopping!”

    For a more detailed summary of the events immediately preceding as well as what immediate followed Hurricane Katrina please click here.


    Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Monday, August 25, 2008 | Reply

  7. Interesting link……I learned a few things.
    As for your Nuclear Bomb scenario, the chain doesn’t apply, it’s immediately a federal issue headed by DOD. Why natural disasters don’t technically qualify for the same type of automatic response is honestly, beyond me.
    Thanks again for the link, and keep up the good work!

    Comment by Mike Lovell | Monday, August 25, 2008 | Reply

  8. Mike Lovell,

    You beat me to it. Even though it isn’t a federal issue it should be. A hurricane can be far more devastating than a nuclear device. But we leave our federal response to it a bureaucratic jumble of legality.


    Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Monday, August 25, 2008 | Reply

  9. About the hurricane Katrina issue…

    I grew up on the east coast, in the south, in an area prone to hurricanes. I actually went through Hurricane Hugo. I have been through Hurricane Isabel. I have been through many hurricane evacuations. (Hugo, Floyd, Dennis, and Irene.) Where we lived, shelters began popping up days before the hurricanes were due to come. People began leaving town as soon as warnings went out. EVERYONE KNEW to stock up on food, water, supplies, and to board your home up at least a week in advance. We all knew it was coming… and we all prepared. And from what I’ve learned in my experience, local governments are supposed to take care of evacuations and preparations, and THEN the federal government helps if need be AFTERWARDS. Everyone faults the federal government in this situation, but perhaps it was actually a fault of the local government in being ill-prepared. The local government should have gotten people out that weren’t able to get out. The local government should have been equipped enough to handle the initial threat. In this situation, it seems Ray Nagin needed someone to point his finger at to cover up his ill-preparedness as a mayor of an extremely large city on the coast. As a person who has been through multiple evacuations, I speak only from my own experience, from observing emergency evacuation plans implemented in the communities I have lived in. I am certainly not a parrot forming the empty words of someone else.

    And perhaps the federal government was not completely prepared to handle a disaster of that proportion, but it had nothing to do with race. Charleston has a large black population, and there was adequate response to Hurricane Hugo. In fact, Charleston is very similar to New Orleans as far as historical background and demographics. But the difference with New Orleans is, nobody expected what happened. Nobody expected it would be that bad. I believe we were ALL dumbfounded. If you must lay blame, first, the responsibility lies with the local government of New Orleans for being ill-prepared, second the state of Louisiana, and third with FEMA. But who IS ever fully prepared for a category five storm???

    As for Mr. Obama, I have extensively researched him. I would not comment on him if I had not. It is not just his lack of experience that concerns me about him…. I am an avid supporter of life and that is why I could NEVER support him. His positions on abortion are extremely radical, and his lack of empathy for “born alive” infants frightens me. How can you be human and not want to fully protect, in every way, a suffering human life? But that aside, being a “community organizer” might qualify you to be the mayor of a city, but not the President of a country. And being president of the Harvard Law Review does not qualify you to run a country, either. At most it might qualify you to be a president of a University or an esteemed speaker. And as for his senate experience, he began running for President as soon as he began his term. How, then, could he have gained leadership qualities when he has hardly been there to learn? Honestly, I don’t think that ANY senator really has that much experience to lead the country. Governers are much better equipped. But John McCain will control out of control spending (which is the best medicine for our economy in the long run), and fight for the sanctity of life, and that is what I believe in. We all have our issues that matter most to us, and we will obviously all never be able to agree….

    Thanks again for this stimulating debate.

    Comment by Ura | Thursday, August 28, 2008 | Reply

  10. Ura,

    The federal government is far from being the only source of blame in the response to Katrina. The federal government, the state government, the local government, as well as the citizens of New Orleans who could have left but made the choice to stay. But it was predicted years ahead of time that New Orleans will suffer a catastrophic hurricane that will breach its levies. In fact, there was a video of a conversation with George Bush the Friday night before the disaster, where Max Brown of one of the national weather service, warned the president that Katrina was going to be a nightmare. What did the president do? He left the meeting and put the good folks of New Orleans out of his head as he continued his vacation.

    As far as being an advocate of life who chooses to support the unsupportable contention that Mr. Obama needs more experience, I suggest you say what you feel and stop the subterfuge. It’s not that Mr. Obama is inexperienced. It is the fact that he supports a woman’s right to choose. Personally, I have the same philosophy. I do not feel I have the right to tell any woman what she can and cannot do with her body in that respect. I believe that is something best left to the individual’s beliefs.

    George Bush and John McCain are advocates of outlawing abortion and say they are committed to “…protect, in every way, a suffering human life.” But then they promise to commit every resource possible to continuing war for as long as it takes to win. How many hundreds of thousands of people have been killed, injured, maimed, or psychologically impacted because of this double fronted war on terror?

    Be that as it may being a “community organizer” is no qualification for president. Who said it was? Being the president of the Harvard Law Review does not qualify you to run a country. I have to agree. But becoming a senator, even a first time senator, is not leadership? For the sake of argument I will agree. None of these situations by themselves is enough to qualify an individual to be president. But all of these conditions packaged with other qualities such as the judgment not to vote for unnecessary wars or the promise to end wars that waste human life or the scary thought of having someone in office who is much more likely to support the continuation of policies that have ravaged this country while promising to stop abortions, I will take the community organizer any day of the week of any year of any century.


    Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Friday, August 29, 2008 | Reply

  11. Brother P.,

    I support Obama and I am okay with Biden at this point. However he has a pattern of racially insensitive and condescending statements.

    A blogger @ JJP outlined them:

    link text

    Comment by RhondaCoca | Friday, August 29, 2008 | Reply

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