Now that the dust appears to be settling and Illinois’s junior first term Senator Barack Obama appears to have wrapped up the nomination for the Democrat party’s candidate for president, isn’t it time we looked beyond his skin tone to his qualifications to lead America?
In acknowledging his campaign’s winning sufficient numbers of delegates to cinch the nomination, Obama said, “America, this is our moment. This is our time. Our time to turn the page on the policies of the past.” This, of course, begs the question, “just who does he mean by “our?”
Senator Obama bills himself as a “uniter,” but his party is far from united behind him, as was attested to by Harriet Christianrecently. Voters in Florida and Michigan, whose delegates to the Democrat National Convention in Denver are barely permitted to be seated and then with only half votes, disenfranchising possibly thousands of registered Democrats, surely don’t look upon the junior Senator as a “uniter.”
Just how did a first term Senator with no foreign policy experience, no discernable record at the federal level and a virtual unknown become such a luminary for the party? Perhaps we see the answer in headlines of his gaining the needed number of delegates to cinch the nomination.
MSNBC tells us, “he shattered a barrier more than two centuries old to become the first black candidate ever nominated by a major political party for the nation’s highest office.”
CNN says, “In what he called a ‘defining moment for our nation,’ Sen. Barack Obama on Tuesday became the first African-American to head the ticket of a major political party.”
The New York Times headlines, “Obama Claims Nomination; First Black Candidate to Lead a Major Party Ticket”
Fox News, under the headline Historic Season Finale states, “Obama clinches Dem nomination, making him the first African-American presidential candidate of a major party.”
Obama’s home newspaper, the Chicago Sun-Times runs the headline of Obama Makes History with the comment, “Barack Obama sealed the Democratic nomination, a historic step toward becoming the nation’s first black president.”
Qualifications and experience merit little mention, only his “blackness.” Other than skin tone, just what makes the junior Senator from Illinois black? Where was he ever oppressed or discriminated against as were many other Blacks living in America’s inner cities? Where did he have to struggle to escape a ghetto and fight for equality or recognition?
Senator Obama was born to Stanley Anne Dunham, a white middle class woman from Kansas and Barack Hussein Obama Sr., an African from Kenya, who abandoned the Senator and his Mother when the Senator was 2 and returned to Kenya, fathering more children with other wives and only seeing his American born son once more before his death in 1982.
His mother, remarried to an Indonesian, Lolo Soetoro, allowed her young son to remain in Hawaii with his white grandparents to attend the Punahou School, a privileged Hawaiian private school known for its diversity.
His mother did expose him to the writings of Martin Luther King and talent of Black artists like Mahalia Jackson, but by all accounts, he enjoyed a fairly normal white middle class upbringing.
Listening to or reading news accounts, though, one would believe he was raised by his Kenyan grandmother, not his ”Typical White” grandmother.
Senator Obama has only visited his distant Kenyan family three times, the last in 2006, ostensibly to discover his fathers “roots.”
Unlike many Americans of African ancestry, the junior Senator is not a descendant of slaves, but rather, a descendant of slave owners.
Just what is Barack Obama’ connection to Black American’s? Is it the rants of Reverend Jeremiah Wright? Does the chip on his wife’s shoulder give him Blackness?
Or, has the tone of his skin become the main qualification to support or oppose him? Why is it that when his lack of experience or qualifications are mentioned, we are labeled “racists” for looking past his skin tone and striving to see if he really has what a president should have to lead?
Have we as a people, digressed to the point that we only look at skin tone in determining our next leader?