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|March 24, 2008|
Few have spoken more eloquently about race relations in this country than Sen. Barack Obama in defending the anti-American, black separatist views of his pastor and mentor, Jeremiah Wright. By now, millions in America have seen Pastor Wright twirling with exhilaration after 9-11 chanting “God damn America” and his bizarre rants that America has engaged in genocide by creating an AIDS epidemic in the Black community, and a continued litany of anti-American venom.
Obama places this all in the contentious context of Black-White race relations. But whole communities in this country—millions of people—have nothing to do with the Black-White racial legacy of slavery, Jim Crow, discrimination and the racial disenfranchisement that Obama rightly speaks of. These people love their country and they find tolerance of anti-American God damning hate speech abhorrent. Who are these people outside the Black-White racial conflict?
They are American-Jewish people, almost all of whom came to this country after 1890, most during the 20th Century, and generally fleeing the awful persecution of wars, pogroms, genocide and Holocaust. These families are not descendants of the slave days and did not create Jim Crow. These families fought off their own problems of discrimination and still do. These families love their country.
They are Hispanic and other Latino peoples, most of who were conquered into this nation after the Treaty of Hidalgo in 1848 annexed half of Mexico to settle the Mexican-American War, and others who huddled in darkened trucks and walked through killing deserts during the 20th Century to clean our toilets, wash our dishes and mow our lawns. Others fled Cuba or Latin American dictators or harsh conditions they rarely speak of. These families are not descendants of the slave days and did not create Jim Crow. These families fought off their own problems of discrimination and still do. These families love their adopted country.
They are Asians. The Chinese were brought here as indentured workers in the mid-1800s and were even the subject of a discriminatory Congressional law, the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act. Japanese came in the latter 1800s, often smuggled workers, and had to endure concentration camps as recently as the days after Pearl Harbor. Millions of hardworking, rarely heard from Koreans, Vietnamese, Thais and other Asian groups are not descendants of the slave days and did not create Jim Crow. They love their adopted country.
They are the Mennonites who came to Kansas and other farm lands fleeing oppression in Russia and fought religious discrimination well into the 20th Century. They are the Filipinos who excel at the highest academic levels, and fled poverty and oppression in their native lands. They are the sub-continental Indians and Pakistanis who came to this country seeking a better way of life and have no involvement in America’s slavery and Jim Crow past. They are Lebanese who fled the horrors of civil war. All these people love their adopted country.
And they are many more such groups, the Greeks, the Russians, the Polish, the Lithuanians, and the Syrians to name a few.
The facets of America’s diverse and glistening ethnic diamond are dazzling—but not if you are blinded by the glare of America’s legacy of slavery and racial oppression. American society seen through the tunnel vision of slavery and Jim Crow and discrimination is indeed black and white. Anyone could understand how such a stinging legacy can burn the retina and the mind.
But Barack Obama is not entitled to be a Black President. John F. Kennedy was not entitled to be a Catholic President. Joe Lieberman would not have been entitled to be a Jewish President. Bill Richardson would not have been entitled to be a Hispanic President. Hillary Clinton cannot be a female president.
The president can only be that person who rises above the strife and shackle that every ethnic and minority community knows, and ascends to a higher status, one representing not the product of their community but the amalgam of the nation at large. A president’s background must be a footnote not a headline. Moreover, a president must be sufficiently attuned to the desperation and vision of all Americans to rise above their circumstances and achieve the American dream. No man who can accept, tolerate or excuse hatred for this country can be entrusted with the White House.
Barack Obama is a great American and has earned an awesome place in America’s political future. But his lack of judgment in mind-melding to Pastor Wright and not seeing how such a nexus to a deep-seated hatred of this country is profoundly offensive to millions creates a permanent disqualifier for the White House. Obama can’t distance, disown or denounce his own 20 years of passion for that pastor and his beliefs. It is too late for that. His flaw is permanent.
Americans should vote for Barack Obama—for Senator, but not for President.