May 7, 2008

Senator Obama: The Rev & Common Sense Seek Synthesis in the Faith In Action Blog

Rev. C. Solomon Says: May 6th, 2008 at 11:41 am
Hi Emily and Common Sense,

I am pleased to know that we will continue our discourse on the secondary issue that you raised, the benefit of having black American role models।

There have been many of them, and Obama is certainly an excellent role model, I would not for a minute try to take that away from him. Let it be said that I am neither a foe nor a venal critic of the Senator, I nothing but profound praise for him and the accomplishments that he has made. I lived in Chicago for a year myself, Chi-town can be a tough place, politically and otherwise!

Now as Eddie Murphy once quipped in one of his comedic routines, I also grew up in a predominately black family. And to add to that, I grew up in black America, and having said that, none of what I have written disqualifies you from taking on a social engineering role with respect to the black community. Many white Americans have been unequivocal supportive of the black struggle throughout our embattled history in America - some of our people overlook what the John Brown, Quakers and others have done!

One of the challenges that we face in our community happens to be, when anyone speaks outside of ‘the proverbial Americanized black box’, some blacks view you as being an Uncle Tom, or as Common Sense put it: Your love of the white man shines brightly through in your posts. Derrick Bell, a black author wrote in Faces At The Bottom of the Well, that if you keep doing what you’ve been doing, you will keep getting what you have been getting! He is not the originator of the quote, however, he used it in a timely fashion. We are not a monolithic community!

Black Americans obviously have suffered a lot at the hands of some white Americans, throughout the course of our history in America. The desire of the black community to experience black leadership, which we equate with axiomatic justice, at times results in the suspension of logic, reason, critical thinking or a thorough examination of would be black leaders, pastors, preachers and friends - many of whom have done more damage to us than anyone else.

The Wright Reverend has not done any damage to us, unless we consider the Prophet Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Moses and Jesus’ comments to Israel, were damaging. The latter, including Paul, spoke the truth to their incumbent nation.

It is a part of our black pathology and pathos, given the mistreatment that blacks have received at the hands of some whites, to believe that the solution to our problem is simply to have something or someone who happens to be black! We completely overlook the fact that blacks captured and sold our ancestors into slavery, or that other blacks exploit, rob, rape, steal from us and betray us as well!
Consider Rev Jackson’s comments about hearing footsteps approaching you as you stroll down the street, and the relief you feel when you look around and discover that it is not a black person. Consider the late Rosa Parks, it was not a white man in her neighborhood who violated her! Blacks can be exploitative as some whites can be!

Black Americans, will turn their backs on whites who have historically shown fidelity and loyalty to them, at the drop of a hat! That kind of behavior is indicative of very deep pathology!

My housemate is a black ardent Obama supporter, and like too many blacks, all that he really knows about Obama is that he is black and therefore the right man for the job. In using presidents Mandela and Mbeki of South Africa as examples, my aim was to show that the color of ones skin, does not portend instant progress or success, or qualify one to act in a leadership role.

Both gentleman are black, and I suspect that their hearts were in the right places, however, there were other structural barriers in place in South Africa, just as there are in America. Both black South Africans, and black Americans have overlooked the other factors that will come into play. I suspect that if Senator Obama prevails, Americans like common sense, will be calling Senator Obama an Uncle Tom right about February 2009, one mother after he is in office. To the Zulus, Chief Butheleizi was considered a great role model, to other black South Africans he was not!

I have been encouraging blacks to engage in critical thinking with respect to the Senator, and to consider more than the color of his skin as ‘a variant to determine whether he is capable of leading this nation or not. Senator Obama remains my default candidate behind Senator Clinton, simply because I feel that she is more suited to step in and to do what needs to be done, and because Senator McCain is apparently less equipped to lead than either of the two Democratic frontrunners.

I also feel that, in addition to her worldwide contacts, she will make an excellent role model for all Americans for that matter, and her election will obliterate sexism in the Oval Office by opening the door to future female candidates. The world is out of balance, because of historical world-wide oppression of females.

Hillary has shown what it means to withstand diversity. This is not meant to be a criticism of Senator Obama, however, upon closer examination and up under the specter and the test by fire, all he has done so far is to capitulate, and to distance himself from whatever has been toxic (from the perspective of the dominant culture).

Hillary remained with the toxic factor in her life, and has demonstrated her mettle and toughness, Obama capitulates. The whole world, not just Americans are vested in this American election. The whole world needs someone who can stand up to the spirit of white supremacy and hegemony (does not include all whites) in America. So far, Obama has proved that he cannot stand up to it.

Again, he has distanced himself from the Civil Rights Movement, Minister Farrakhan, his wife’s heartfelt comments, his own beliefs about gun-toter’s, his pastor, his church and now his faith! I believe in a fair and balanced examination of a person - I see his strengths, however, I also see his glaring weakness.

Black youth would benefit more, in my opinion, from a role model that can stand up in the face of adversity and speak truth to power, whether they get elected or not. Dr. King did, Rev. Jackson, Minister Farrakhan and many others have done it — I wish that Obama would follow suit! Why will I still vote for Obama as my default candidate, other than Hillary, he is better than the alternative!

Common Sense, at the outset most black ministers were equally damning of Dr. Martin Luther King, however, over within a half-century later he received a Nobel Peace Prize, a national holiday, and his own place on the mall. Evolve, common sense, I am not the enemy!

# 19 Rev. C. Solomon Says: May 6th, 2008 at 2:03 pm
Obama has not even faced his real opposition yet, the Republicans are chomping at the bit to get at him. And what has he done on every turn so far? He has capitulated, being unable to get the opposition to give up an inch of ground. Ergo, what can he possibly win for the masses?

I ask, how can we expect him to do any better, given that he has run with the footmen and lost. What will he do when the calvary comes to town?

I must tell you later about my first visit to speak in Washington and visit Parren Mitchell’s office, former head of the Congressional black caucus…

I also must tell you about why Bill Gray, Mfume and others left Congress…
And why Maxine Watters and Bobby Rush complain often that we can’t get anything done in Washington…, I was there and planned to run for congress myself…!

# 20 Common Sense Says: May 6th, 2008 at 7:11 pm
@ Rev. Solomon,
In your very intelligent discources that you have so eloquently posted, I still get a tinge of your love for the white man. You don’t say anything about the various injustices done to the black race by whites, but you are quick and accurate to point out shortcomings or untoward behavior by blacks. Where is the balance?

Mr. Obama could not have gotten this far in this campaign by relying solely on the black vote. Most of the criticism of him comes when he won’t allow himself to be pigeon-holed as the black candidate(or back down from a position as you say). We’ve had that before(Jesse and Al and Ms. Fulani). Obama is smart enough(or i’m pretty sure in your eyes some white man told him) to know that a BROAD BASED campaign, white, black, latino, women and men would be vital for a serious run on the white house.

All races have good and bad elements as you well know but I will always stick with my own and try to find the root causes of our problems and will try and lift up people who look like me before condemning them. And for the record, I do not find rogue law-enforcement(no matter what color), pimps or drug dealers fashionable.

The Right Reverend reminds me alot of Elijah Poole and his jealousy of Malcolm X. Even as Malcolm ascended in popularity, he always held Mr. Poole up. And what was his reward? Envy and jealousy that ultimately led to the nation splitting as you well know. Apply that lesson to Obama and the Right Reverend.

Lastly, it is funny that you would mention Ms. Chisolm because I was a child when she made her run at the White House. It was her image that one, made me proud to be black, and secondly got me interested in politics. A black queenly image. Just as I used to work as a child for Victorine Adams and people in her district and all I knew is that they were running for office. The way they carried themselves, the respect they showed us as kids(plus 5.00 was a lot back then) and the example that they showed us is embedded in me forever. Just as adamant as you are about the goodness of white folk, I’ll debate you to the end about the goodness of being black.

The Rev obviously had even more to add...later!

Peace & Grace
Rev. C. Solomon

Addena: I encourage everyone to read the Faith In Action Blog Out of Baltimore, it is cutting edge, and Reverend Heber Brown is an articulate activist and a man of God and conviction!

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