As unbelievable and fundamentally absurd as it sounds, it may already be inevitable that a Black man will be elected the next President of the United States.
Unfathomable. We have wandered into absolutely uncharted political waters.
President Barack Hussein Obama, with his feather-light political rÃ©sumÃ© and his heart of pure gold. Get used to it.
Mr. President. And before we get to giddy with exuberance over that idea, we must follow through and make sure former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) is his Vice Presidential running mate.
The unimaginable political popularity of the first-term U.S. Senator from Illinois with–as he says it–the “funny name,” in “Lily White” Iowa and New Hampshire, boggles the minds of political scientists, pundits, and informed observers alike.
Sen. Obama has wisely chosen to cast himself more as a unifier, rather than as one who speaks only for the hurt of Black people. By doing this, with his unique “bi-racial” persona–youthful madrassas in Indonesia and all–he has allowed people to look at him as an icon, a political standard bearer, not because of the color of his skin, but indeed because of the content of his character.
To put President-to-be Obama in Hollywood theatrical terms, he is “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” not starring Denzel Washington, but starring Jimmy Stewart. By not staking his candidacy on the plight of Black people, it allowed other people to recognize their own hurt in his campaign and to see in him as their champion.
Candidate Barack Obama has tapped into the dissatisfaction of everybody in America! Whites, Blacks, women, across the economic and educational spectrum, because who cares what color the person is who can save them from the mess in which they find themselves?
People are fed up with the deceit, the lies, the corruption, the war, the fear-mongering, and the cronyism of the Bush Administration. After eight years of ruinous policies perpetrated by the 43rd President, even White folks want to see fresh, new blood emerge as America’s leaders in the 21st Century. They don’t care about skin color like that, anymore.
But President Bush and Vice President Cheney are not alone. In his poem “An Antebellum Sermon,” Paul Laurence Dunbar says it this way: “There’s others, thinks like Pharaoh. They calls the Scripture a liar…” That’s where Vice President John Edwards comes in. He’d be a rock-strong ally.
It’s not just President Obama who will need the moral support and populist anchor that John Edwards provides. No. The United States of America and its very future will need the moral support and populist anchor which Sen. Edwards will deliver to the Vice Presidency. Bear in mind, it will take some really strong “vibrations” to remove the evil effects and stench of sulfur in the White House until Jan. 20, 2009.
But as inspiring now as Mr. Obama’s own campaign may be, the potential of a Black President alone is not enough to change the reality of the oppressed people in this land, especially the Black ones. It is in fact up to Black thinkers, and leaders and activists to remind all of the presidential candidates, and senatorial candidates, and congressional candidates, and gubernatorial candidates, and state legislative candidates, and even mayoral, and city council candidates, of the need to address the long-unsolved problems contained in the Black Agenda.Just as President Ronald Reagan had to be prevailed upon by the collective political will of Blacks and others in this country, to sign into law the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Bill which he strongly opposed, there could arise an occasion when a President Obama, or a President Clinton, or a President Edwards, or a President Huckabee, or a President McCain, or a President Romney may have to be forced to “do the right thing,” because the “right thing” is often not the most politically expedient thing to do. Black constituents must not let down their guard because of a friendly face, or even a face that looks like them is residing in the White House.
Black folks must remember the motto of the Congressional Black Caucus: “No Permanent Friends. No Permanent Enemies. Just Permanent Interests.” There has not been one single U.S. President who has done any more for Black people than he was made to do, and that requirement is not about to change soon.
There is still much to hope for in Presidential politics 2008. Among the most important is insisting that inevitable-Democratic Presidential Nominee Barack Obama’s Vice Presidential running mate be none other than John Edwards of North Carolina.