How Much White Guilt Can We Afford?
We often hear that the presidential campaign of 2012 will be the most important in a generation (or more). The same has been said of many other campaigns, and such references can be embraced by both sides of the political spectrum. When Barack Obama ran in the 2008 primaries against Hillary Clinton, polls indicated that even most black voters didn't have the audacity to hope that the country was ready to elect the first African-American as their chief executive. That's probably because they didn't feel that white voters would be magnanimous enough to vote without racial bias.
However, once that major hurdle had been achieved and Obama was the nominee, blacks began to believe, for the first time in our history, that America had risen above its racist past and was about to put that past in the rearview mirror forever. In order for that to happen, a large percentage of white voters in the general election would have to pull the lever for Senator Obama. When they did, and he was elected by a decisive margin, blacks and many whites rejoiced together. Even some who had voted for McCain felt comforted by the thought that a milestone had been achieved in race relations.
Three years later, it seems more like a millstone. Without getting into the political battles of either party or the usual vitriolic competition that accompanies all these campaigns, it's increasingly more evident that the issue of race will loom menacingly over the contest next year. With black demagogues like Congresswoman Maxine Waters telling Tea Party members to go to Hell, and her colleague, Andre Carson, saying the Tea Party would like to see blacks hanging from trees, it's obvious how desperate the Democratic Party is to win next year.
This is what happens when a significant barrier is broken. Blacks are fearful that the first of their race to reach the Oval Office will be ignominiously rejected after one term, leaving behind a reputation as an incompetent. Since every other president has been a white male, there was never a question about their skin color being culpable for their failings. But, how would it look if the first black to lead the nation gets pummeled at the polls and is replaced by another white male? Would people conclude that blacks are not smart enough, hardworking enough, patriotic enough, etc. to be entrusted with such a grave responsibility in the future? They shouldn't. In 1980, when Jimmy Carter was booted out by Ronald Reagan, many blamed Carter's incompetence, but no one could say it was because of his color.
I don't doubt that white guilt (a foolish concept kept alive by liberal ideologues) played a role in securing Obama's first term in that swanky residence on Pennsylvania Avenue. Nevertheless, it's time for whites to take the position that they've been there and done that, so why not get serious this time and disregard skin pigment?
I find it interesting that many white Republicans have been rooting for Herman Cain this time around. I'll admit that he has business experience and is not a Washington insider, but I don't think that's what's motivating his fans to rally around him. Instead, I think it's their way of once again trying to prove that they're not bigots. Some are saying, "I'd like to hear what the Democrats would say if Cain went up against Obama," adding, "They wouldn't have the excuse that it's about race." On the contrary, if Cain were to be the GOP nominee, it would be a total capitulation to the "white guilt" theory. Cain is very likeable, but so is Obama! Cain's most laudable traits seem to be that he's not a professional politician and he's a successful corporate executive. Well, I didn't think Obama was experienced enough to be president with only 2 years as a U.S. senator, so I must confess that I don't think Cain has the experience to lead the greatest nation on earth by virtue of the fact that he resurrected a chain of pizza restaurants.
Neither Lee Iacocca (former Ford president and CEO of Chrysler Corp.) nor Jack Welch (former CEO of General Electric) were serious contenders for the Oval Office, and their successes are numerous and legendary. The best Cain can expect is a nod for the number-2 spot on the ticket.
Meanwhile, it's time to get serious about who will lead us after next year. The weeding out process is underway. Pay attention and make your choice wisely. Given that the current administration is methodically wrapping its tentacles around large segments of the free-market system, it may be the last time you get one.