Race, the Race, and Racism
Here's the definitive question: would Barack Obama have been elected president back in 2008 if he had been white? And before anyone reading this answers with, "Yeah, well, John McCain ran the absolute worst campaign in modern history!," think about this: no candidate gets to run for president until he has been properly vetted and selected by his particular party. So for Obama to even have had the chance to run against the hapless McCain, he had to have first been "the chosen one" by the Democrats.
In the early months of 2008, long before Election Day, ponder for a minute how the campaigning and debating would have played out for the Democrat Party had Hillary Clinton been running against a half-dozen white guys -- instead of a bunch of white guys and a black guy. Imagine Obama as a white guy speaking to the crowds with the exact same words, same inflections, same bravado. Would people have fainted upon hearing lines such as "This was the moment the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal"...or would they have wagged their heads and said, "What a bunch of vacuous bullcrap"?
When asked on the campaign trail what qualified him to be president, Obama himself pointed to two things: his experience as a community organizer and the fact that he was running a winning campaign. In other words, he should be president because he's smart enough to win the presidency. Good old-fashioned circular logic.
One ebullient Democratic spokesman told the press soon after the election that his party had indeed chosen the right candidate (Obama instead of Clinton) because "race trumps sex." (Granted, a President Hillary Clinton would most likely have been as much a progressive nightmare as Obama, but that's a whole other article.)
Many on the far left will defend President Barack Obama first and foremost as a black man. Any time during the past four years, if anyone said anything negative about the president's policies, the far left immediately circled the wagons, saying he was being slammed solely because of his race (most recently, Chris Matthews' line of defense in his interview with Newt Gingrich). Their reasoning is due to the fact that they know that Obama's 2008 campaign was centered around "making history" -- he had zero experience of leadership, and his star-quality persona was literally only "skin deep."
A couple weeks back, I had the wonderful opportunity of hearing the former co-chair of Obama's 2008 election team, Artur Davis, speak at a gathering of about 50 like-minded conservatives. He is an excellent, thoughtful, and thought-provoking speaker, as he demonstrated on Day One of the RNC, and he unabashedly shared with us his tale of transition from Obama supporter to an enthusiastic speaker Tuesday night at the Republican National Convention.
Mr. Davis stated that he was, like many, spellbound in the early days of the 2008 campaign, falling hook, line, and sinker for Obama's message of unity and hope and transparency -- but in his heart of hearts, Artur has always been a conservative.
One of Mr. Davis' observations, however, seemed off the mark. He stated that he believed that even if you were a die-hard conservative Republican, you had to have felt a certain joy that America had gone from slavery to electing the first black president -- what an historic triumph.
I didn't have the heart to tell Mr. Davis (who is genuinely one of the nicest and most sincere guys you'd ever want to meet) when I posed with him for a photo op afterwards that I, for one, never felt anything but impending gloom-and-doom during every stage of the 2008 campaign. And for good reason.
When Obama burst onto the scene, I didn't care one whit about the color of his skin, so I immediately checked out his background -- did my own personal vetting, as it were. I discovered (and with very little effort) that Obama was the farthest left of every single senator in Congress; that he barely voted anything but "present" in the Illinois legislature, and when he did actually vote "nay," one thing near and dear to his heart was opposing a law banning live-birth abortion; that he had domestic terrorist ties; that he was a follower of Saul Alinsky; and that his pastor (worse, mentor) spewed hate speech from the pulpit.
Mr. Davis came late to the conclusion that Obama was wrong for America -- a conclusion most of us reading and writing for American Thinker came to many, many months before Election Day 2008. Speaking solely for myself, I have always seen November 4, 2008 as the day Dr. Martin Luther King began spinning in his grave. "Weren't you listening to me? It's content of character, not color of skin, you nincompoops," I imagined Saint Martin shouting from on high. (Had King lived, by the way, I believe we would have had a non-white president long before 2008 -- and someone voted into office based on substance rather than skin color.)
Too many Americans actually believe that the 2008 election proved, once and for all, that America is not a racist nation. I mean, how can it be racist if the voters elected a genuine, bona fide African-American to run its ship of state? Even Glenn Beck recently spent his opening 20-minute monologue (complete with props) proving this no-racism-here actuality.
Racism, however, goes "both ways." There's obviously unacceptable racism, the racism that has universal recognition -- denying or destroying someone based on the color of their skin. But these days, there's also acceptable racism -- for example, voting for someone to be president based on the color of his skin. Remember the phrase expressed with pride by many Americans four years ago: "Make history by voting for the first African-American president"? I think it's unfortunate, but on Election Day 2008, America proved just how racist it really was. You do something not because it's historic; you do it because it's right. And because of that "history making" moment, America is now paying a very steep price -- not just financially, but in terms of renewed racial tensions and divisiveness.
During my opportunity to shake hands with Artur Davis after his informative and motivating talk, I refrained from sharing my belief that race played the most significant role in Obama's election. I didn't, however, hold back from saying that with everybody I know, among my family, friends, and professional acquaintances, no one -- and I mean no one -- "gives a flying crap about the color of anybody's skin." We live in a post-racial America despite the fact that Barack Obama won the presidency in 2008, not because of it.
A fitting close is to remind one and all of the bumper sticker some patriots are sporting on their vehicles these days. Its message is as clear as its simple, block lettering: "If you voted for Obama in 2008 to prove you're not a racist, please vote for somebody else in 2012 to prove you're not an idiot."
Simon de Hundehutte is one of the creative minds behind www.SnarxBrothers.com.