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The Black Commentator - The Relative Truth Of This Presidential Election Is "WWWPD" (What Would White People Do?)  - Between the Lines

The Pennsylvania Primary unveiled the stark realities of what this Presidential election is about - in terms of the other candidates, the media and, of course, the electorate. It’s no secret I’m for Barack Obama, but I’m also for fair play. I’m also for genuine processes. I have an aversion to disingenuous processes and this national election is beginning to look pretty disingenuous. Watching the media frame lies as “episodes” and close races as “big victories” is overwhelming. It reminds me of the disingenuous periods of American history where we were told if we were hardworking and honest, got education - we would be equal; then if we got political power (right to vote), we would be equal, when neither were true in the absolute sense since economics has always been the real equalizer. Now Obama has the kind of money that no black political candidate has ever amassed, by the most number of contributors ever amassed, he still can’t get equal treatment. To act as if race didn’t have an impact on Pennsylvania (as Ed Rendell said it would) and that codified racial messages haven’t become dominant themes in this election that both Clinton and McCain are playing to (and benefiting from) is simply disingenuous. Rendell knew what some white people would do.

The sliding truth “goal posts” on the Democratic side and the “selective amnesia” on the Republican side are going to undermine America’s system and the lack of integrity that the country has in the global community will evidence itself on the domestic front. In the final analysis, this election is going to test the moral compass of the dominate population (69%) in this country as to whether or not they’ve moved past race and are prepared to do what’s right AND just. To many of them, the truth is relative. Part of the socio-political justice problem in America is we (Black Americans, and everybody else) never know what we’re dealing with when it comes to integrity of white people on hidden racial biases. Like any other race, there’s good, and there’s bad, then there’s mostly indifferent who tolerate the bad and obliterate the good. Moral suasion has never moved the majority of whites. That’s a historical fact. It didn’t in the abolitionist of slavery, and it didn’t in the abolishment of segregation. The next test will be if they accept the moral candidacy of someone who has emerged as the people’s choice to lead. I don’t believe this query is subjective. It’s based on the reaction of the largest number of people to participate in the primary election - in the history of this country. We all know, when voting day comes, white voters - many who consider themselves “Christians” - are going to determine Obama’s political fate. Popular culture has a way of interjecting religious justice in our daily decisions by wearing things labeled WWJD, subliminally asking ourselves in times of challenge or trial, “What Would Jesus Do?” To know how the Democratic nomination, and the subsequent general election, is going to play out, we simply have to ask ourselves, WWWPD (What would White People Do?). A clear decision has become clouded. Everyone is nervous because we, of all people, know white’s history on racial questions.

First, a disclaimer; I’m not talking about all white people. We know Barack has broad white support, particularly among Post-Civil Rights Era whites who came of age after the race (civil rights [1950s/1960s], affirmative action [1970s/early 1980s], white backlash [late 1980s/1990s]) movements in this country and whose prism isn’t framed in racial context. And even if this campaign weren’t as realized as it has become, who can claim all support from old versus the young, conservative versus liberal, Christian versus Agnostic? Whites are no more a monolith than Blacks are. I’m just talking about the ones that are being disingenuous about their hidden biases and their irrational choices. They’re the ones that claim they want change, but not “that kind” of change, or claim they want to do what’s in the best interest of the country but look past the kind of politics that got the country in the state it’s in. This election has become exactly what those who have run this country (for two hundred years, in various iterations) want it to be, an illusion of change that reinforces the same political realities of this nation and the status quo choices that lie therein. The rich and powerful in this nation will morph themselves into anything to retain power. They will paint any picture, and create any scenario - true or not, to frame themselves into something sympathetic to the masses. Finally and most critically (or controversially), the status quo makes the truth a lie and a lie the truth to where truth is a relative engagement in how losers becomes winners and how some people are able to disguise their biases (not very effectively) to justify irrational political choices not in their political or cultural interests. Voila! relativity!!!

The false truths that continue to undermine a “change election” are beginning to be pervasive. The thousands that Obama draws in comparison to the hundreds the other two draw who are being misrepresented by “stagers” who put young people behind candidates and polls create false illusions of WWYPD (what would young people do?) in the general election. Watching this relative truth game is debilitating, as the Clintons continue to twist truth the way they always have (starting with “I smoked, but I didn’t inhale” in 1991) and McCain acts like he doesn’t know what’s going on after labeling himself “the Straight Talk Express” for much of his career. The reality of Hillary Clinton’s political fate is rooted in a falseness that gives her more “life chances” than a cat has lives, more false scenarios than any practical political scientist would suggest is logical, more false media forecasts than any ethical media would report and more time to create false issues about the things that don’t really matter. The reality of John McCain’s political fate is rooted in being able to hold the lies that the Bush Administration has told in order to get enough party support to play the “alternative choice” to a woman and, of course, the unspeakable - having to make a decision that most white Americans (and truth be told - black Americans) never thought they would have to face, the prospect of choosing a legitimate black Presidential nominee. So the truth becomes a lie.

Most know (and acknowledge) that Hillary won’t win. Not that she can’t, if she were the nominee, but she won’t be the nominee - not if the Democrats’ nomination process has any integrity, or if the truth becomes the lie. The Democratic Party created the proportional delegate process. Now Clinton wants winner take all or a big state consideration, or a “blue state” - anything but what the rules say. The Florida/Michigan situation, which the Democratic National Committee defined, is now being manipulated just to make her seem as if she is equal to Obama. The media effort to keep her in the race has resorted to the Clintons lying and the media soft-soaping it, or the media becoming complicit in the lie itself. Never, in recent history, has a candidate who was caught in a bold-faced lie not lost public confidence. The Clintons were caught in two: Hillary on the Bosnia crossfire, and Bill on the time she told it. Obviously, some voters in Pennsylvania didn’t care what she said - they weren’t going to vote for Obama anyway, and exits polls of nearly 30% of them said if he gets the nomination, they’re voting for McCain. Very telling about what white people would do if Obama wins the nomination, and it’s not exclusive to Pennsylvania voters. Before the Pennsylvania primary, most all the pundits stated that Clinton needed to win that primary “large,” meaning by 20 points or more. In fact, they said she had to win all the remaining primaries in the 60-65% range just to pull close by the end of the primaries. If Obama won just 40% of the remaining primaries, even with re-votes in Florida and Michigan, she would never catch him. So the bar became the “double digit” victory for Hilary not to bow out. On election night, their claimed 10 point victory sufficed as meeting the “double digit” bar she needed to stay in, when in fact, the victory wasn’t a double digit. The final result was 9.2% ( Yet, the media still allows Clinton to lie about the double digit victory, and no one wants to talk about what happened to the 25 point lead. They would rather talk about why he hasn’t “put her away.” Remember, he’s the underdog (even as the frontrunner). The primaries were set up for her - she was supposed to put him away. But truth about what was supposed to happen (a Clinton nomination), has become a lie about what hasn’t happened (Obama closing the nomination). The relative truth has us now guessing what will happen next and expectation is, if Obama loses the nomination (or has it stolen) - to Blacks, it’s viewed as “white folk just being folk” when comes to the issue of race. They’ll never tell that’s what it is, but it is. When nearly one of three Hilary voters (28%) say they’ll vote for McCain if she doesn’t get the nomination (when the norm in past elections is 10%), what else could it be besides racism?

The goal posts will continue to shift, and the game will change, according to how one can pick at what Obama says, or a surrogate says, or a preacher says, or some long ago associate once said - none of which has anything to do with what Barack is saying - in how to change the nation.

I’m not convinced some people want change in this country. The real question is how many whites want the change Barack represents. Just as when slavery and segregation’s end came, some white people will not be ready for it. Barack’s nomination/election will depend on what fair white people will do. The rest will continue to support the relative truth we’ve come to know as America. Columnist Dr. Anthony Asadullah Samad is a national columnist, managing director of the Urban Issues Forum and author of the new book, Saving The Race: Empowerment Through Wisdom. His Website is Click here to contact Dr. Samad.


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May 1, 2008
Issue 275

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