A dream fulfilled? Perhaps that’s just a bit presumptuous, as Rev. Dr. Leslie D. Callahan observes, noting that today, as in Dr. King’s era, “black people [in America] have statistically twice the bad and half of the good things in life.” Tony Campbell chimes in with an additional note of caution, reminding us that “the inauguration of an African-American male is a good first step towards Dr. King’s goal; but it is NOT the dream itself” and advises that we not conflate Obama with Dr. King because the President-elect “is a politician and Dr. King never wanted to be one.”
But the sentiment expressed by USian people of colour in that CNN/Opinion Research poll is indicative of the heady optimism surrounding the impending inauguration of Barack Hussein Obama II, soon to be the 44th president of the United States of America. And I believe that if Dr. King had lived (oh, if he had lived) to witness this moment, he too would have been bawlin’ like a baby alongside Jesse Jackson on that fateful night in Grant Park; that he would have celebrated his 80th birthday by doing what he dedicated his life to (and made the ultimate sacrifice for): serving his community.
So, on Wednesday, we can start preparing ourselves for the disappointment that, for a number of reasons, the chattering class has declared to be all-but-inevitable (and that some plan to intentionally cultivate and further by any means necessary). But today? Today is a day of remembrance, tomorrow, of celebration– for both the (likely fleeting) realization of American history’s long-delayed promise and the triumph of possibility redefined to perhaps boundless margins.
Yes, you damn right we did (and, even though we’re starting to drown the public commons with ridiculously overwrought superlatives, I still think it feels like the fucking end of Star Wars).
“After the searing experience of being in the Nixon White House, Cheney developed a view that the failure of Watergate was not the break-in, or even the cover-up, but the way the president had, in essence, been over-briefed. There were certain things a president shouldn’t know – things that could be illegal, disruptive to key foreign relationships, or humiliating to the executive.
“They key was a signaling system, where the president made his wishes broadly known to a sufficiently powerful deputy who could take it from there. If an investigation ensued, or a foreign leader cried foul, the president could shrug. This was never something he’d authorized. The whole point of Cheney’s model is to make a president less accountable for his action. Cheney’s view is that accountability – a bedrock feature of representative democracy – is not, in every case, a virtue.”
Just remember, kids: impeachment is off the table.
Update: Suskind on NBC News:
So good it almost makes up for my (former) main man, Mike, selling his soul to the Libertarian Party.
(Oh, and as for the unfortunate “SexyPolitics.com” shout out at the end: what was that about gender discrimination in politics? Yeah, well, exactly. Sigh.)
Seriously, over the past several weeks I could feel the Gravelmentum building up within the ranks of the Democratic grass roots. If only he’d waited till the convention. The superdelegates may have come to their senses and chosen the *ahem* most experienced candidate, the only one who had a chance of beating McCain at shuffleboard, the only white male Democrat left in the race!
Now we’ll never know what might have been.
As the lily-white political class continues to evaluate Obama’s denouncing rejection of Angry Scary Negro du jour Sister Soulja Rev. Jeremiah Wright (while remaining curiously silent about Rod Parsley, McCain’s virulently racist and homophobic “spiritual guide”), Kai Chang takes a wide-ranging, nuanced look at how race (and racism) have played out thus far in this primary season.
It seems to me that one of the principal sources of confusion when it comes to racial disourse is the stunning lack of clarity and consensus regarding the exact meanings and definitions of the words “racism” and “racist”. Those of us who spend significant time doing anti-racist work end up developing a variety of nuanced concepts surrounding these words, but many people never explore those meanings and instinctively respond to talk of racism with strong emotions and weak understandings. Racism is a complex multi-dimensional interdisciplinary subject which cannot be reduced to an absurdly-shallow bifurcation of the populace into laudable “not racists” and condemned “racists”. Racism is an overarching, interlocking set of economic, political, social, and cultural structures, beliefs, and actions which systematically advantage one racial group at the expense of all others. A statement, thought, belief, assumption, or action can be described as racist when it plugs into the overarching grid of racism, like a node which lights up once it plugs into its compatible network, thus transcending an individual act of bigotry or prejudice and fusing into broader institutions and societal forces.
As for defining what makes an individual person “a racist”, I think it’s a pretty fuzzy area, and not a particularly fruitful intellectual direction. Most anti-racists are much more concerned with identifying, understanding, and dismantling racism, than in exposing any individual as “a racist”, whatever that means. Clearly, there are hate-crime types out there who organize their lives around advancing white supremacist violence and such; but most of the racism that people of color deal with in our day-to-day lives — especially those of us who interact with a lot of white liberals — is far more subtle and covert, more of a background buzz than an in-your-face threat. White liberal racism tends to manifest in unspoken assumptions, attitudes, and social dynamics which normalize and center white privilege, while deprioritizing, marginalizing, and dismissing the voices, perspectives, experiences, histories, cultures, agendas, and initiatives of people of color. White liberals who engage in these behaviors aren’t “racists” in the same sense as the hate-crime types, but they are nevertheless participating in the replication and perpetuation of racism. Pointing this out is not “playing the race card”; it is accurate socio-political observation. Pointing this out is not the same as running around indiscriminately shouting “racist!” at every white person within earshot in some kind of rageful frenzy; it is constructive anti-racist critique aimed at illuminating an important but dimly-lit pattern, for the purpose of healing wounds which continue to bleed our society and our own humanity.
Of course, as briefly intimated by Chang, there are certain individuals out there who proudly fly the flag of prejudice (and ignorance/indifference) in a manner that defies nuance and complexity.
Now that’s precisely the sort of experienced leader you want answering the White House phone at 3am. It should be clear by now that Senator Kerry Clinton is the only Democratic candidate in
2004 2008 who can match George W. Bush’s John McCain’s national security credentials.
h/t Matthew Yglesias
Steve M. believes that non-issues inflated out of proportion by MSM blowhards (and supposedly insurgent bloggers) are pretty much all we can expect from here on in:
Get used to waking up every day and seeing your political culture — candidates, the press, even (perhaps especially) the blogs — discussing this crap rather than the issues. Get used to it because we’re going to have nine more months of it. By fall, one of these non-issues is effectively going to be the central issue of the campaign — or more than one is. And that would have been true no matter who the Democratic nominee turned out to be.
I love this Goldberg quote:
In the weeks to come, maybe reporters can resist the temptation to repeat health-care questions for the billionth time and instead ask America’s foremost liberal representatives why being a radical means never having to say you’re sorry.
Oh you and your stupid “issues.” We don’t care! We want a witch-hunt, dammit! We want irrelevant distractions!
Well, relax, Jonah. Tim Russert still has a job. We’ll all be neck-deep in the irrelevant very, very soon.
Neck deep? The irrelevant is about five inches over my head by now.
John McCain has 59 lobbyists raising money for his campaign, and yet he said “I’m the only one the special interests don’t give any money to.”
Sign the petition demanding McCain return the millions of dollars raised by lobbyists.