Barack Obama, the uniter across party lines, across religions, across racial divides, wasn't always Mr. Sunshine. He had a different view 12 years ago, when his campaign was more localized.
He was 34 years old: a graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School -- bastions of power and wealth. He was the beneficiary of the best education America had to offer. What were his feelings at age 34? Resentment, hyper-partisan, and accusatory towards whites, Republicans and the so-called Christian right.
As Barack Obama prepared to run for the state Senate he spoke up shortly after the Million Man March lead by Louis Farrakhan -- or as Barack Obama honorifically recently titled him, Minister Farrakhan. Via Newsbusters: [empahses added]
These are mean, cruel times, exemplified by a 'lock 'em up, take no prisoners' mentality that dominates the Republican-led Congress. Historically, African-Americans have turned inward and towards black nationalism whenever they have a sense, as we do now, that the mainstream has rebuffed us, and that white Americans couldn't care less about the profound problems African-Americans are facing."
The right wing, the Christian right, has done a good job of building these organizations of accountability, much better than the left or progressive forces have. But it's always easier to organize around intolerance, narrow-mindedness, and false nostalgia. And they also have hijacked the higher moral ground with this language of family values and moral responsibility.
Barack Obama has commented on the value of words to inspire, to bring about change. What kind of change was he talking about in his mid 30's when most of us had already given up the rebellion we flirted with, and the resentments that beset us, in college?