A Black Political Dilemma — Jan. 2008

Posted by Jim Clingman January 2nd, 2008

There are two interesting scenarios being played out in the political arena regarding whom Black people will support for President in November 2008. One, of course, is the Obama versus Hillary issue, and the other is the question of Black Republican support for one of their party’s candidates. The former issue is far more palatable than the latter, but both are germane to Black folks in general. Blacks Dems are faced with choosing from a pool of candidates, each of whom would be miles ahead of what we have now. Black Repubs have a bunch of Reagan wannabe’s from which to choose. That sounds like a Hobson’s Choice – a choice between what is offered and nothing at all.

I don’t know about you, but I sure don’t want a reincarnated Ronald Reagan, so I will not be voting for one of the elephants this year. I am, however, eager to see who the Black Repubs will endorse. That’s really going to be funny. Guiliani: The “leader.” I am still trying to figure out how he could be elected. But, Bush was, so I had better shut up. Huckabee: The guitar-playin’ preacher. Romney: The financial wizard and Reagan sycophant. McCain: The Elder, bordering on senility. Nuff said. Thompson: Acting like an actor. Ron Paul: You fill in the blank. C’mon, Black Republicans; take your pick and let us know who he is. We need a good laugh.

On to the Dems. What a show they are giving us! Looks like Edwards, Hillary, and Barack, with Edwards fading fast. Whatcha gonna do on this one Black folks? Feeling torn? The traditional Black political icons chose sides some time ago. They want Hillary. But what do they do now that Obama looks viable? Uh Oh. We’d better have a caucus, y’all. No worries though. Any one of those three would be all right; but as they said on a BET interview of Barack, “What’s in it for us?” That is a question that should have been asked years ago, especially when it comes to political candidates. This election is going to be a good one, folks.

Looks like it’s going to come down to Obama and Clinton. As far as I am concerned, the Repubs don’t even count. So let’s look at the two contenders by looking back at a quote from Susan B. Anthony, as written by Dr. Anyim Palmer.

“The old antislavery school says that women must stay back, that we must wait until male Negroes are voters. But we say, if you will not give the whole loaf of justice to an entire people, give it to the most intelligent first. If justice, intelligence, and morality are to be placed in the government, then let the question of White women be brought up first and that of the Negro last.”

Dr. Palmer went on to make the following assessment of Anthony’s words. “Although over a hundred years have passed since this memorable statement…, little has changed. One may be certain that no meaningful change is likely to occur in this century that will be of any material benefit to Black people in America. Those charged by the establishment with setting forth, prescribing, and defining the goals of Black people are carefully screened. It must be confirmed and reconfirmed that for the most part, they are utterly harmless. It must be clearly understood that the goals of Black people are primarily crafted by the oppressors of Black people and their useless lackeys. It should then be clear that the goals subsequently crafted were of little, if any, value to people of color.”

I refer you to the Obama/Clinton debate between Glen Ford and Michael Eric Dyson on the Amy Goodman Show; you will be able to draw your own conclusions in reference to Dr. Palmer’s commentary. So, what is in this thing for us? Will we get Hillary, wife of the “first” Black President? Or, will we get Obama, the half-white, half-Black President, along with a heaping dose of euphoria? Beyond the excitement, the promises, the rhetoric, and the hope, what’s in it for us?

Right now we have a Congress that is more interested in steroids and Clemens than they are in clemency for William Mayo. We have a President who, after seven years, is desperately trying to create a legacy in the final year of his disastrous Presidency. Nothing in either of those entities for us.

Now we are on the verge of getting a female or a Black man in the highest office in the land, and still we must wonder how we will fare. Will Hillary take the Susan B. Anthony route to her victory? Will Obama, in keeping with his “help everyone” mantra, continue the status quo by maintaining the same economic gap between whites and Blacks in this country?

Maybe a Clinton/Obama (or vice-versa) ticket is in order. They had better have a side conversation about that before they kill both of their chances to win, and leave us with one of the Reaganites, who will take us back to Reaganomics and the “Reaganomic Blues.”

What a dilemma for Black people this election year, both Repubs and Dems. I have never been a political hack; I get informed and I vote, but I have little “hope” for positive change for Black folks until we get our economic act together. Just imagine what strength Blacks would have in the 2008 election if, collectively, we were economic players as well as mere voters. Garvey and Malcolm told us that; our dilemma is that we have yet to follow their advice. So, have fun this year, y’all; but continue to pose the question, “What’s in it for us?”

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