As I continue shedding old skin and reordering my thinking now that I’m outside the Matrix I find myself revisiting my support of Barack Obama. While I would still likely vote for him again I have to think of all the ways I can benefit from this alliance while measuring it for reciprocity. You can’t ask for anything until you know what you want though. I’d like to think of myself as enlightened on some topics. Still with other issues I am just now realizing how much I’m learning. Discernment is more valuable than all the coltan in the world.
So aside from the usual arguments from people about how we need to give Obama time (sounds like an excuse) or how much is on his plate (he wanted the job) I want to explore the reasons why he gets so much support from blacks and what influences that decision.
- Michelle Obama and the (assumed automatic) kinship she’s thought to have with other black women. Also the one we want to have with her.
- Powerful Symbolism – aka the “razzle dazzle” “pomp & circumstance”.
- Seen as validation of blacks’ worthiness – continuing to use outside signifiers instead of building strategic alliances.
- Not Clinton/Edwards/Mccain.
- He’s a man – because if it was about qualifications and race more would have voted for Cynthia McKinney.
- Emotional payoff – the comparisons to MLK (and somehow NEVER to Malcolm X).
- Cheap thrill to stick one’s tongue out at whites.
- Believed the promise of “change”.
- Decided he was “black” enough after the Clintons started race-baiting.
- Many (most?) think he will look out for black interests strictly because he identifies as black.
We need to rethink our loyalties. Black women actually represent the single largest percentage voting block for Obama, yet I don’t recall him discussing ANY specific agenda or policies that directly and singularly assist us. I know health care, green energy and other things will benefit everyone but still we have a unique set of needs. This doesn’t mean our needs can’t be addressed but we have ensure that they are and be prepared to walk away if they aren’t. Will blacks actually do that?
The White House Council on Girls & Women doesn’t have a prominent placement or direct contact on the White House web site. It has potential to be a heavyweight office but like everything else we must measure how things have improved from their previous condition and what are expectation for the future are. He nominated Regina Benjamin to be the next Surgeon General and she gets attacked for being overweight. I saw the larger black community’s complete SILENCE on this issue with few exceptions and only after WHITE oriented-media and feminist organizations stood up for her. How many black men publicly decried her treatment? Now think of all the print and tv time given to covering Skippy Gates – why even the President stepped into the fray. People spend their time and resources on things they love – not things they feel obligated to. I find it rather challenging to even have a conversation around the Idol worship going on. Blacks are NOT prepared for the brewing backlash. We are spend, spend, spend with NO safety net.
If financial advisors like Suze Orman urge people to save at least 8 months’ salary in cash to use for a rainy day fund when the times were “good” to cover during the hardships and unexpected tumbles then how much more should we be doing this for our political lives? No wait, our “actual” lives. We know whites have been stockpiling weapons. The KKK has resurfaced – they’re never far away. I’d like to petition the Justice Department to classify then correctly as a domestic terrorist group and use the full weight of the Federal gov’t to crush them once and for all.
Then there’s these birthers, the teaparty participants and all those other agitated people who showed up for the McCain/Palin rallies. They haven’t gone anywhere. The only thing I’ll mention with regards to Skippy Gates (since I’ve discussed why he’s NO friend to black women) is how he’s considered an upper class, non-threatening black man. If it’s open season on grandpa then it’s open season on ALL blacks and not just the men. Black women are also victims of law enforcement railroading tactics.