Three threats may somersault an Obama presidency. First is the infamous Tom Bradley factor. Secondly, there is the curse of the ‘hanging chad’. The third threat is an assassin bullet. Tom Bradley entered American political lexicon due to a notorious electoral incident which happened in California in 1982. Bradley, a popular black politician lost that year’s California governor’s race despite being ahead in the polls. How did it happen? It happened when reason was dethroned and primordial racial /tribal solidarity took over. Majority of Bradley supporters were white. But at the last minute when history was to be enacted in the polling both, majority of his white supporters opted for their own-his white opponent.
In his campaign, Obama has been overstretching his overture to the regular white guys in order to break down the Bradley mythology which may or may not happen. Then there is the pervasive evil of ‘hanging chad’, ‘butterfly ballot’, ‘dimpled chad’ and ‘pregnant chad’. All pundits have pointed toward bitter ‘chad’ battles in this month’s election. Hanging chad refers to the small piece of paper punched out of punch card ballots. Al Gore, like Bradley, led in the 2000 presidential election but lost out to George Bush due to the mystery of ‘hanging chad’ in Florida. He also lost 2,000 voters to Pat Buchanan because of the unreliable ‘butterfly ballot’ used in the same upstate Florida.
Lastly, Obama may not be president, if, at the last minute, a rogue supremacist assassinate him. If these scenarios did not happen, then Obama is on the way to rewriting history as the first black man in the Oval Office. There have been year long adulation and euphoric overindulgence for an Obama presidency. These have been calibrated in many ways. Media houses, political pundits, housewives, students, black Africans have all been smitten by a new addiction-Obamamania. Even women in the US are shaving their pubic hair in support of Obama. Their message to the world is clear: no more Bush. There have been concerts, fund-raising, bumper sticker war, conferences, blogs, phone – ins all rooting for Obama. His thematic message of change and hope has caught the deaf ears of the entire human race and they have all listened.
Telegenic Obama may be the darling of bored housewives around the civilised world but the dew of manic euphoria being showered on this handsome mixed race senator has not dethrone my pessimism of a black nightmare in the white house. Personally, it is not easy to side with pessimism when the whole world is optimistic and already calling Obama president-in-waiting. Even as healer of a mad world on a tailspin of decadence and mayhem. How did it all begin? The arrival of this rising star started surreptitiously. It was in 2005. The complacency of world politics was shattered when in that year a man who describes himself as “a scrawny uptown boy from the South Side with a comic name” took the oath of office and set US politics on a spin while the world watched with thunderous amazement.
He upstaged all stereotypes and defied the racists in their ill will toward minority. He was bold, brash, beautiful, brilliant and black. Gosh…..These are the attributes racists do not normally ascribe to blacks. Not only that, young Obama who in 2005 was 43 was also articulate (a Harvard Law degree graduate) and of a mixed race (black Kenyan popsy, white American mumsy with a dash of Cherokee blood). Waow!!! Isn’t that sexy?
But in a matter of weeks, Obama’s fault line that had been hidden from the public sphere may soon be exposed. Already, there have been loud grumbles that he is too black for some white voters and too white for some black voters. Calling Obama black is an indirect insult to his white mum. Among voters the issue of fear and trust come up repeatedly as reasons to doubt Obama. The racist subtext of fear and trust extend into that morbid association of blacks with these codes. Americans live in constant fear of black crime, foreign invasion and natural disasters. Obama still provokes fear and distrust in white America despite the fact that negroes had been working for 400 years for America and fighting all its dirty, unprovoked war in foreign lands. There is loud opposition and a real nightmare of seeing a goddam black terrorist Muslim as the new matador in the white house.
American history maybe black history but physical, racial segregation still divides Obama’s Chicago. In Washington, New York and Los Angeles, one crosses from nice, quiet, rich suburbs that are predominantly white into a largely dilapidated, poor, dirty ghetto teeming with black underclass and the shame of American soul. In America people still live in separate communities and when a black man passes, you quickly lock the car door. These are existential challenges for Obama. But Obama, the telegenic wonder is not the messiah. Obama is not prepared to plumb the depth of black despair and bring about belated economic, moral and political changes for the black poor who have been dehumanised and destroyed by the twin evil of racism and segregation.
Obama is too calm, too placid, too middle class and less a rain maker. He wears his middle class antecedent with pride and this sends distressing signals to black voters and some white underclass. Condoleezza Rice, the Secretary of State, Rev.Jesse Jackson, Oprah Winfrey and Colin Powell may have endorsed Obama out of a shared burden of history and tribal sentiment. In reality, they harbour genuine suspicion that Obama may turn out to be a black presidential nightmare and an educated Uncle Tom who will be far removed from the deep seated aspiration of his black brothers and sisters.
Africans would feel the impact of Obama’s presidential nightmare more than any other continent. His body language is not pro-African despite his blood linkage to the continent. The received orthodoxy of American economic interests is to exploit, despoil and destroy other economies of the world. The racist view in the West is that all black African leaders are naturally despotic, corrupt, brutal and stupid. Obama would not change this view of his race. He is not a Malcolm X come to judgment but an uppity, ambitious, middle class Chicagoan who is about to get inducted as the most powerful geezer in the world.
Of a genetic truth, black African leaders have squandered the trust and hope reposed in them in the past. Mobutu, Idi-Amin, Biya, Eyadema, Abacha and Obasanjo are history relics of grand collective betrayal. Obama’s black blood line must re-invoke this predominantly black curse during his term. Black leaders have been disappointing in bringing about change among the race. Nelson Mandela ruled South Africa for eight years and left his black brothers in worst poverty than under white rule. Mbeki was no better despite the continental support for his pet political doctrine of African renaissance. Mbeki lacked the courage to rattle the economic dominance of white South Africans and expectedly the anger of his placidity morphed into class mayhem this year. Worse, he left with deserved ignominy. Few African leaders have the raw courage, sense of mission and determined redistribution of shameless accumulation of wealth by white overlords like the enigmatic and now iconic Robert Mugabe- the Harare trench warrior!!!
Obama may be elected an American president but his natural constituency should be for his people-the despised, contained, brutalised, exploited and hated African- Americans. His windy catchphrase of change will only be meaningful if there is a real and enduring resurgence of black pride, achievement, inclusion, promotion and respect for blacks worldwide. Black people need him to lead, heal and put pride back into their damaged psyche. In South Africa, Zimbabwe and all other western democracies, the instinct of the white tribe is to protect their own. That was why South Africa and old Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) experimented with apartheid. Even though both regimes were minorities. That is why modern day Australia practises genocide on the Aborigines, the owner of the land and the world snoozes off. They are not regarded as humans but the world has not gone to war over this modern day moral revulsion. Who will put the pride back into black race?
Would Obama be happy to be the black leader of US where whites have ten times the collective wealth of blacks? Their homeowner rate is twice to blacks. Black unemployment rate is higher than whites. African Americans are 12 percent of the population, but comprise 50 percent of the prison population and further 50 percent of inmates on death row. As president would he still remember how race alone affects, distorts and obscures virtually everything that Yankee does both at home and abroad? Would he remember that most white presidents throughout American history have automatic reflex to begrudge African-Americans and hit them hard?
Would Obama remember that it was racism of the virulent and distorting type that gives Yankee police blanket power to brutalise blacks and the state to deny them health care? Would Obama’s presidency allow the unbroken white mystique with its painful burden of 400 of unequal relation with African-Americans? Would President Obama continue to massage the rotten and ruinous American social and racial fabric in spite of his messianic call for change?
Does Obama have the black disease: hate your own, despise them, brutalise them, deny them and betray them? Obama should do a time travel through history. He should remember that from the time that greedy mariner from Genoa, Columbus, set foot on the New World, war, murder, plunder, slavery and colonialism have been white man’s civilising mission throughout the world. Would President Obama be courageous to look into the behaviour of America’s past as guide for his ‘change’ agenda? Or would Obama continue with America’s socialised super power arrogance, its psychotic misuse of power and its cultural hubris?
When white people accuse the black man of stupidity, what they perceive as our weakness is the oil that strengthens their own race. They call it racial solidarity. In realpolitik, white America will forever defend the interest of white people, its natural constituency. And that is why McCain’s body language seems to suggest that he does not want to be defeated by a black guy. He won’t even call Obama by name but “the senator”. McCain is real. He knows that in America race is everything. McCain is not fighting for the soul of those black dudes on death row. He is not throwing any life line to the millions of ghettoised, drugged, dazed and dehumanised black denizen in the forgotten war zones of the Bronx. Would Obama abandon this helpless people to play Uncle Tom? The American Dream favours an Obama victory on November 4. Are blacks worldwide to prepare for a nightmare under Obama presidency?