To be an Afro-American, or an American black, is to be in the situation, intolerably exaggerated, of all those who have ever found themselves part of a civilization which in no wise honorably defend–which they were compelled, indeed, endlessly to attack and condemn–and who yet spoke out of the most passionate love, hoping to make the kingdom new, to make it honorably and worthy of life. (James Baldwin, No Name In The Street, (1972)
James Baldwin, wrote these words in 1972. They are profoundly prophetic and apropos to our current political and sociological conditions. An African American led this country’s latest progressive political revolution, was treated abhorrently by racist philistines who questioned his presidential legitimacy because of the color of his skin. The leader of these philistines happens to be the current occupier of the Oval Office.
Yet Obama did not allow racial division and hate to give way to hating; he did not allow hatred and condemnation to affect his capacity to love; he inspired unity among blacks, Hispanics, educated whites, and even among the demographic Democrats find so elusive: working class white people. We were, in the words of James Baldwin, “hoping to name the kingdom new, to make it honorably and worthy of life.”
And I am forever grateful to President Obama for renewing my hope in politics–in proving that good governance is one of the most effective ways bring about positive changes in people’s lives.
Despite the years of enslavement and persecution African Americans have faced over the years, black people have refused to relinquish their hope. MLK spoke of the “the sweltering heat of oppression.”–this phrase Martin Luther King Jr uttered over 50 years ago, resonates to this day with both black folks and white folks. Martin Luther King’s picture and speech hangs in my office next to photographs of John F. Kennedy and Bobby Kennedy. Every time I experience the symptoms of the disease of apathy—a disease so rampant nowadays amongst progressives—I look up at those photos and that speech to remind myself of the progressive principles that these men, whom I consider heroes, gave their lives fighting for. And it inspires me to never surrender to the disease of apathy; to continue to the fight for progressive values.
These men died defending love and peace. MLK Jr is a hero to me—a white Irish Catholic from South Boston. If one fails to maintain hope that we have the ability to unite as one people—a people who dutifully protect the rights of their fellow citizens despite ethnicity, despite skin color—then they are incapable of understanding the most important phrase in the Constitution, which states unequivocally that “all men are created equal.”
Our Founders did not say “all white men are created equal”; therefore, the philistines who voted for Trump because he was overtly racist—or anyone who voted for someone according to racial identity—then they are ignorant of our Founding Creed.
We have the ability to unite as one people and America’s black leaders have spoken and written far more eloquently than any other demographic about maintaining unity and hope in the face of injustice—the face of tragedy. One only needs to read the words of Martin Luther King Jr., President Obama, James Baldwin, Cornell West, etc., to become aware that the race that has given us the most hope—the race that has inspired us to unite as one people—is the race that has faced the most injustice. That being said, anyone unable to overcome identity politics should look to these great African-American intellectuals for the inspiration to overcome their perceived racial injustice. These men had ancestors that were slaves, yet they still call for us to unite as one people and live up to the creed, “all men are created equal…”
I emulate the black community—a community I admire just as much as my own community—and I will not let the tragedy of the 2016 Election disengage from espousing my progressives beliefs.
To this day we are battling to keep America faithful to the liberal beliefs espoused by our Founding Fathers. African Americans in Alabama recently did battle with the Trump faction who actually voted for a pedophile. 95% of African Americans voted according to their liberal beliefs and for the sake of moral decency. It is vexing that 73% of white people voted for a child molester. The high turnout of black people in Alabama and the statewide legislative elections in Virginia does not bode well for Trump and the Republican Party. The Black People of Alabama saved the country from another national embarrassment—the election of Trump being the other—and I commend them for their sense of civic responsibility.
Recent elections held in Virginia mirrored the results of Alabama. Once again, my fellow Black liberals have blessed me with hope after a long period of despair and cynicism.
And the hope bequeathed to me by the African American leaders who, despite the many reasons to relinquish hope, including suffering threats to their lives, continued to propagate the message that inspired a generation of Asians, Hispanics, Blacks, Whites, and other people of color to elect President Obama, who embodies the message of hope, unity, and love, in the face of injustice.
Imagine for a moment that Obama had two immigrant wives, multiple failed marriages, multiple failed businesses. Imagine Obama standing in front a sign with the campaign slogan “Make America Great Again”. Imagine that Obama refused to turn over his tax returns; had extensive ties to a foreign government that just so happens to be our greatest enemy: Russia and Putin; imagine if Lspent millions of tax dollars on maintaining three residences for the Secret Service to protect.
Trunpists are the biggest hypocrites–and racists I ever met in my life. Obama, by virtue of his odd name and his skin color was accused of being a terrorist—and according to Trump, the leader of ISIS. Yet Trump has a bromance going with a dictator who interfered with our sacred democratic process by hacking into the DNC. And what was Trump’s response to Russia: keep spying on us.
Trump’s aides and even his cabinet members met with well-known Russian spies during the course of the election, then lied about it. The same voters who called Obama un-American, a terrorist, and much worse voted for a guy who supports a nefarious dictator who interfered with our election; who is interfering with the election of our Western allies; and has trampled over the sovereignty of Ukraine and Georgia. Trump supporters have put the West in serious danger by voting for a guy who has seriously weakened America and Western Power.
If Obama had immigrant wives and failed marriages, bankrupted businesses, refused to release his tax documents-. He wouldn’t have made it through the Democratic Primary in ’08. Yet Trump somehow won the primary and electoral college. Folks are hurting, and in the age of the 30 second sound bite, where free media seems to be earned through bizarre rants that scapegoat immigrants and people of color for the financial struggle of segments of the American Electorate, Trump’s message resonated.
How would Trump supporters reacted to the man they called a terrorist, a communist, and disgusting racial epithets if he appeared on stage with a slogan that said “Make America Great Again”.
By the way, Trump is the most nefarious hypocrite in this country after calling Obama corrupt for not releasing his “long form” birth certificate–this coming from a guy that has broke with a decades long tradition of releasing his tax documents).
The fallacious right wing talking point that Obama has weakened America’s power in the world is such bullshit. Despite criticism from the left wing of his own party, he droned ISIS back to the Stone Age, assassinated its leaders with the heroic service of our Navy Seals, gave the order to kill bin Laden, and kicked ISIS’s ass out of Iraq. He gave the appearance that the United States was backing out of the Middle East, so that the Reform Party of Iran could achieve victory in Iraq (sending the madman Ahmedinijad packing), which led to the end of Iran’s nuclear program. But he did not back out of the Middle East: he used a scalpal rather than a sledge hammer. The scalpal–drones and special forces–has decimated ISIS. Anytime ISIS elected a new leader, Obama took him out. Leaderless and confused, they cannot even hold on to territory never mind plan an attack on the Homeland. The sledge hammer used by Bush and his neo-cons has destroyed the Cradle of Civilization. These pictures were taken from a friend of mine from Baghdad today:
Bushes quagmire expanded Iranian influence, and has created a hatred towards the United States that will last generations.
President Obama inherited this disaster in the Middle East, and a capitalistic system on the brink of collapse. Yet, he achieved a record of 83 straight months of job growth, expanded our economy while Europe’a shrank, and hit new records with the Stock Market. He increased America’s influence in the world with soft power (the ability to attract people and nations to one’s cause through ideological appeal. And he used hard power in a way to create the least amount of blow back; a stark difference from Trump’s indiscriminate bombings and impetuous decisions to green light missions that led to the death of an 8 year old and a Navy Seal (his sacrifice will never be forgotten).
Obama stood up to the world’s bullies, particularly Putin. Eastern Europe is the most militarized it has been since the Cold War. And now we have Trump who thinks that a sociopathic dictator help bent on weakening the West, is his buddy.
President Obama already realizes that America is great, and he was willing to defend the West from Russian aggression.
Trump does not respect American Values. A patriotic president does not call on our enemy to spy on us; he does not allow espionage to go unpunished; he does not reward a dictator that has attacked us and our Western Allies to the White House for a visit (and then egregiously attack the our 1st Ammendment right of freedom of the press by shutting out the American Press, while allowing the Russian press access; a guy with nothing to hide does not fire the non-partisan FBI Director for investigating possible ties to the Russian government; and he does not utter the words “Make America Great Again”–we already are great.
President Obama realized this, and he also cherished American Values and projected American values and strength around the world; whereas Trump I nothing more than a treasonous self-serving stooge whose Administration has been a complete and utter failure.
President Obama cherishes American values, abhorrs corruption, stood up to the world’s bullies. Trump denegrates American values, is corrupt as the day is long, and befriends the dictator who is currently attacking the West. One has to be a serious hypocrite to call President Obama unpatriotic, a terrorists, or weak, while supporting the guy who tramples freedom of speech and freedom of press and befriends the dictator who is undermining our Western Values.