The conventional wisdom, if one pays attention to the media, is that Obama is slipping. His halo is tarnished. His 'I have a dream" moment has passed and he is looking just like any other political candidate, except that he can't bowl. Horrors. The underlying force that appears to be at work is what I would refer to as 'creeping racism.' There are some in our society, and I count any number of them among my acquaintances, who are waiting for the other shoe to drop against Obama so that they can exult in the 'I told you so' moment that will banish this wonderful young man to the back bench of government. Here is a glimpse of how this works. What follows are excerpts from an e-mail I received this morning;
LET ME SEE IF I HAVE THIS STRAIGHT:
HIS FATHER WAS A KENYAN, MOSLEM, BLACK- WE HAVE SEEN PICTURES OF HIS
HIS MOTHER IS A KANSAN, ATHEIST, WHITE-
WHERE ARE THE PICTURES OF HIS KANSAN, WHITE MOTHER AND HIS WHITE
GRANDPARENTS WHO RAISED HIM.
HIS FATHER DESERTED HIS MOTHER AND HIM WHEN HE WAS VERY YOUNG AND WENT BACK TO HIS FAMILY IN KENYA
HIS MOTHER MARRIED AN INDONESIAN MOSLEM AND TOOK HIM TO JAKARTA WHERE HE WAS SCHOOLED IN A MOSLEM SCHOOL
HIS MOTHER RETURNED TO HAWAII AND HE WAS RAISED BY HIS WHITE KANSAN GRANDPARENTS
HE LATER WENT TO THE BEST HIGH DOLLAR SCHOOLS, HOW?
HE LIVES IN A $1.4 MILLION DOLLAR HOUSE THAT HE ACQUIRED THROUGH A
DEAL WITH A WEALTHY FUND RAISER. HOW?
HE "WORKED" AS A CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST IN CHICAGO- HAS NEVER HELD A
PRODUCTIVE JOB. THE PRESIDENCY IS NOT A CIVIL RIGHTS POST
NOR IS IT SUBJECT TO AFFIRMATIVE ACTION SET ASIDES
HE ENTERED POLITICS AT THE STATE LEVEL AND THEN THE NATIONAL LEVEL
WHERE HE HAS MINIMAL EXPERIENCE
HE IS PROUD OF HIS "AFRICAN HERITAGE" BUT IT SEEMS THAT HIS ONLY
AFRICAN CONNECTION WAS THAT HIS AFRICAN FATHER GOT A WHITE GIRL PREGNANT AND DESERTED HER. I DIDN'T KNOW THAT SPERM CARRIED A "CULTURAL" GENE. WHERE IS THE PRIDE IN HIS WHITE CULTURE?
HE GOES TO A "AFROCENTRIC" CHURCH THAT HATES WHITES, HATES JEWS, AND BLAMES AMERICA FOR ALL THE WORLDS PERCEIVED FAULTS
AND THEN REPEATEDLY COVERS UP FOR THE PASTOR AND THE CHURCH
HE CLAIMS THAT HE COULD NOT CONFRONT HIS PASTOR BUT HE WANTS US TO BELIEVE THAT HE CAN CONFRONT NORTH KOREA AND IRAN, RIGHT!!!
YEAH, I THINK I SEE HOW HE COULD BE A UNITER AND BRING US TOGETHER, I
THINK THE HOPE IS THAT HE HOPES NO ONE WILL PUT THE PIECES TOGETHER.
It is difficult to sort out the various and insidious notions of which this message is comprised. What is obvious, however, is a seething hatred that forms the basis for this entire message. I recognize this hatred. It is the same hatred that fueled my upbringing as a Protestant Irish kid living in a predominantly Italian and Polish Catholic ('dagos and polock mackerel snappers') community on the east side of Detroit in the 1950s. I don't want to mention the words that were then routinely used for black people, but every white person who reads this knows exactly what I am talking about. It is my opinion that all of this hatred is based on fear; fear of something different. It is no accident that Obama's campaign is led by the energy of young people who do not experience this fear, but who do recognize that something is badly out of place when the blueprint of our society is constantly violated in a thousand different ways by older white guys in blue suits. Recently I sat at a dinner party and the lady next to me confided that she was extremely conservative. Her reason, she said, that she was against Obama was that it was a fact that he was a Muslim. Simple as that. It is an old trial lawyer's maxim that if one throws enough mud, some of it will stick. Her 'belief' is an example. The bottom line is this and is directed at young people. Keep at it. Don't surrender your enthusiasm. Change is good. This country needs more than a five cent cigar. It needs the infusion of young blood, young multiracial blood, that can cut across barriers unconsciously erected in the minds of old white guys who spend their days, months, years, lives hating anything different. As the maxim goes, insanity is expecting different results from the same behavior.