From The Ramparts
Junious Ricardo Stanton
“This nation has had a dismal record on race relations. White America has considered the nation and the world it's own private playground. The nation has finally turned the page. Whatever happens from here is still unknown but it is clear the nation has moved forward. The ideals that have always been more myth than reality are finally now actual reality. Barack Obama may be only half black but he is black enough to lift the nation above its 200+ years of dismal racial history. As a white person living in this country it is a pleasure to see the eyes of African Americans. It certainly does not erase the past, but the Presidency of Barack Obama goes a long way to lifting this nation up. It has been nearly a century and a half since Abraham Lincoln began the process but finally the better angels have prevailed.” by Edmund Ross
On November 4, 2008 the nation rejected the past and opted to try a different way. Barack Hussein Obama was elected as president of the United States after a hard fought primary and general election cycle that lasted twenty one months. Watching the election returns I was surprised how smoothly things went after seeing large scale accounts of vote flipping problems in West Virginia and Texas during their early voting period. I was surprised at the turn out of young first time voters. Iwas happy for all the older black folks who rallied around Obama’s message of change and overcame their skepticism to stand in long lines to cast their vote for change. Polls have indicated most people were disenchanted with the way things were going in AmeriKKKa and they yearned for a new day and a new direction.
Obama a former community organizer who was derided and mocked by the Republicans for being one, (who’s laughing now?) knew the importance of having a hard core group of workers dedicated not only to voter registration but also to having an early response team to stay on top of all the rumors and disinformation his opponents both the Democrats and Republicans launched at him and a get out the vote strategy. Using technology and people power the Obama team was able to energize and mobilize an army of volunteers and professional staffers that outflanked, outworked and out organized Obama’s opponents.
Many see Obama’s win as a good sign for not only the United States but the world. Around the world many people were hoping for an Obama win because they feel he will lead the United States in a whole new direction. After eight years of incessant scandal, mind numbing incompetence, malfeasance, arrogance and hubris, people of conscience hungered for change. The world saw how the Bu$h administration used 9-11 as a pretext to bully and bogard its way around the world. The world saw the lies about Iraqi WMDs, revelations of torture, the illegal renditions, stolen elections and the implosion of the AmeriKKKan economy and their view of AmeriKKKa was not good. At home many felt the country had reached a nadir and change was drastically needed.
As a candidate, John McCain was seen as an extension of Bu$h-Cheney. Barack Obama’s candidacy offered a change palatable to the masses. Along the way to victory, Obama had to overcome remnants of deep seated racism, blistering attacks by the Clinton and Republican political machines. The corporate media kept the marketplace of ideas embargoed and the vision of a new AmeriKKKa very narrow. While most AmeriKKKans were not ready for the truths and policies espoused by people like Dennis Kucinich, Ron Paul, Ralph Nader and Cynthia McKinney they were receptive to Obama’s message of hope, empowerment and engagement. As conditions worsened, most people still weren’t ready for radical change. Obama became more attractive to the voters.
Many black folks never thought we would live to see a black man or woman elected president of the United States. Given AmeriKKKa’s racial history, Obama’s election is a monumental occasion, a truly historical event. Hopefully people will remain engaged in the political process. Over the years, racism, apathy and cynicism have undermined honesty and integrity and allowed corruption and mismanagement to thrive around the country. The election of Barack Obama represents change. The question is, does it augur deep or superficial changes? Real change will mean an ongoing engagement and participation. Real change will demand transparency and accountability. Real change means a change in consciousness, behavior, politics and institutions. It will mean a transformation of this culture/society.
We need to pray for Obama. We need to humble ourselves and ask the CREATOR for guidance; both for him and us. We need it. There was a time in AmeriKKKa when African people were the moral compass of this country. As the despised and rejected victims of virulent racism and violence our ancestors prayed and exhorted the nation to change its’ ways and do the right thing. Over the years we have and acquiesced to materialism, hedonism and apathy. That needs to change! That type of transformation must begin in us. Change begins in the mind. Change the way you think. Change what you expect and anticipate. Empower your imagination and think in new ways. Think about the possibilities, think outside the box.
Do not expect Obama to pack his cabinet with black folks or to champion “black issues”. Just as black mayors of major cities do not favor black neighborhoods or black people in general in their policies, Obama cannot be seen as partisan. He will be inclusive. Hopefully the corruption endemic within the system will not taint Obama and make him totally sell his soul. Hopefully through our prayers, meditations, incantations and efforts; Obama will manifest his African side, exert an integrated (right and left brained) approach to living to make a genuine difference in the world. That in itself would be a major change.