Tuesday, January 01, 2008
Happy New Year TransGriot readers!
One thing I promised y'all I'd do a few months ago was let you know on New Year's Day which candidate I planned on supporting in the primaries and hopefully through the upcoming presidential election this November.
It was a tight decision that I went back and forth on a number of times, but I'm supporting Sen. Barack Obama.
While some of you may have thought because of my heritage that I automatically would have been supporting him when he first announced, you would be making an incorrect assumption. I put a lot of thought into this decision and I've been wavering between him, Sen. Hillary Clinton, former Sen. John Edwards and Gov. Bill Richardson.
Every one of my semifinalists had something on one level or another that bothered me. I've always liked Sen. Clinton, but the early HRC endorsement of her raises questions in my mind. In Gov. Richardson's case I like his broad based experience, but he botched that HRC softball debate question.
I like John Edwards, but I question whether he has the desire to be president. He and Sen. John Kerry in 2004 didn't fight hard enough to keep Bushie boy and friends from stealing Ohio (and the election) despite massive evidence of fraud, GOP African-American vote suppresion tactics employed there, mysterious voting machine malfunctions that came from a company whose CEO promised to do whatever it took to deliver Ohio for Bush, and the sellout secretary of state being the chair of the Bush campaign in Ohio.
In Sen. Obama's case, it was not confronting Donnie McClurkin's homophobia more forcefully at the South Carolina campaign event. He compounded the mistake by sending an HRC-recommended white gay minister, Rev. Andy Siddon to speak to a predominately African-American crowd that required not only an African-American minister to refute the idiocy, but one with stature like a Michael Eric Dyson, or a GLBT one such as Bishop Yvette Flunder.
I'd already heard him call out the misguided ministers of the Hi Impact Leadership Coalition on more than a few occasions, so I narrowed it down to Sen. Clinton and Sen. Obama.
Another reservation I have about him is related to my long term experiences as an African-American of seeing African-American candidates be embraced by White Americans, but they are held to a much higher standard of behavior and expectations than they have for a white candidate, even if the African-American candidate is a higher caliber one than the white candidate.
An example of this was the 2006 Tennessee US Senate campaign of Rep. Harold Ford, Jr.
Ford, who is the current DLC chair, downplayed his African-American roots, ran an almost perfect centrist campaign, and built a 9 point lead going into the final week leading to the 2006 election. But as any African-American politicial scientist or any poli-sci student will tell you, when an African-American candidate is running against a white candidate REGARDLESS of party, the African-American candidate has a 10 point deficit going into that race.
Republicans will quickly dip into the race baiting bag of dirty tricks when they are losing as well. They know as well as I and other African Americans do that there are some people in this country who will not vote for ANY African-American candidate, irregardless of how qualified they are.
All it took was the GOP running the race baiting 'Call Me' commercial to sink Harold Ford's chances of becoming the first African-American elected to the Senate from a southern state since Reconstruction.
While I'm impressed with the fact that he's garnered a lot of white support in his bid, I'm still skeptical as an African-American that this support, what people say in polls and on-camera interviews will turn in the privacy of the election booth into enough votes in the primary season and the general election on November 4 to see him at noon on January 20, 2009 take the oath of office as president of the United States.
Yeah, he got elected to the senate in Illinois, which has elected an African-American to represent it in the Senate before in Carol Moseley Braun. Obama won in a landslide, but let's get real for a minute, he was running against Alan Keyes. I could have beaten Alan Keyes in a statewide election.
But despite my fears that this race baiting will happen again if he gets the nomination, I'm supporting him. I'll get an idea on January 3 just how serious peeps are about their support for him when the Iowa caucuses happen and the New Hampshire primary later this month.
If he can take these two events heading into the South Carolina primary, then I can begin to have the audacity of hope that America truly is seriously considering putting a African-American in the Oval Office.
I've liked him ever since I saw his speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston. He had a hard act to follow oratorically in terms of Rev. Al Sharpton and I was impressed by his oratorical skills. I also chatted with my family members in and from Chicago who had positive things to say about him as well.
I've read his books and I'm in the process of doing more research on his policy stances and his record. I think he has some wonderful ideas along with the entire Democratic field to clean up George Bush's mess and get this country moving in the right direction again.
And Michelle Obama would make an excellent First Lady. ;)
As to people who would point to his being only a first term US senator, Abraham Lincoln only served one term in the US House and lost a US Senate race in 1858 before he was elected president. Those of us who study history know how his presidency turned out. This current misadministration was the most experienced in history, and look how they jacked stuff up.
But it's all up to the voters in Iowa and New Hampshire to get this party started.
Whether they follow up their words with positive action or not, I'm supporting Barack Obama during this primary season.