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Barack Obama — the Messiah?

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Sure, Barack Obama is, obviously, the Second Coming of Christ — but can he be elected president? This is the question on the minds of those exasperated by the reign of the Bush Administration. And if he can’t get elected, is it because America, as a whole, is too racist to elect a black president – or is there more to it than that?

Race isn’t the only challenge for him, of course. He’s also a sees-both-sides-of-the-fence person, and that rarely plays well in politics. Even when George Bush says something entirely senseless like, "The only way we can win is to leave before the job is done," he says it with authority, by God, and the people like that in a leader. On first glance it would seem Obama’s election to the Senate would be a good sign, until we remember his opponent was Alan Keyes.

There’s a lot of speculation ranging from Obama will be unable to overcome the inherent bigotry of our nation to Obama will likely be assassinated if he does manage to get elected. But there’s a deeper issue of racism in America that’s personified by the possibility of an Obama candidacy — and that is, do we have to create a savior complex around him in order to accept him as a respectable leader?

Liberals are often accused of seeing racism where there is none, and I’m apparently conservative enough to find fear of his assured assassination to be absurd. I do see racism in the hype surrounding Obama, however, just not in the same way others do. This whole savior thing he’s been burdened with reminds me of the old movie Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner in which the father, played by Spencer Tracy, could get used to the idea of his daughter marrying a black man, as long as the black man was perfect in every way. And in true old-racist-Hollywood fashion, Sidney Poitier’s character was just that.

Obama has that air of perfection around him now, but will he survive the inevitable media scrutiny should he win the nomination? Famous people don’t get that way by accident. He might be smart and progressive, but he’s also ambitious. And for those not paying attention — he’s a politician.

Obama gives very moving speeches, he’s personable and his intelligence (in sharp contrast to the current inhabitant of the oval office) is refreshing — yes. But has he really come to “save” us? Those who think so were evidently absent the day Mr. Smith Goes to Washington was shown in their high school Civics classes. (And that’s giving Mr. Obama the benefit of the doubt — there’s a reasonably good chance that his heart is not quite as pure as Mr. Smith’s.)

Don’t get me wrong, I like Obama fine, as far as politicians go. He seems to be doing a good job for the people who elected him and would likely make a fine president. But he isn’t a saint — I don’t care how many people he currently has fooled. Then again, I don’t need him to be of impeccable character — I’ll be happy enough if he supports good policy and can actually get elected. If he does, history will show his presidency to have been a mixed bag of good and bad, just like everyone else’s.

Massachusetts just elected its first black governor and he’s being heralded as the answer to all of the state’s problems, much as Barack Obama’s being lauded as the answer to our national crises. Jeffrey Berry, a political scientist at Tufts University was quoted in the New York Times recently in response to the election saying, “Democrats regard him as something of a demigod. They expect him to be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound and pay for social services.”

Clearly, the question here is not are we as a nation still too racist to elect a black man. Nor is it — are we so racist that a black president will surely be assassinated. The vital question is, can we acknowledge that a black man could be a fine leader, even if he’s only human? Unfortunately, the answer appears to be a resounding no.

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About Staci Schoff

  • Arch Conservative

    “He’s also a sees-both-sides-of-the-fence person.”

    I have examined Obama’s Congressional voting record and after doing so I think the more accurate statement would be:

    He’s also a sees-both-sides-of-the-fence person and then votes like a left leaning liberal every time.

    Sees both sides of the fence? Shit Staci I can see the other side of the fence from where I sit. And I don’t really care for anything I see on the other side.

    The only difference between Obama and myself other than we’re on different sides of the fence is that he’s a politician and I’m not. So while I don’t pretend to give a damn what people on the other side of the fence think, Obama does. He has to if he wants to stand a shot of getting elected.

    So Staci, please save the Obama drama for your mama. He’s a leftist liberal and that’s all there is to it.

    Lastly…….

    “Clearly, the question here is not are we as a nation still too racist to elect a black man. Nor is it — are we so racist that a black president will surely be assassinated. The vital question is, can we acknowledge that a black man could be a fine leader, even if he’s only human? Unfortunately, the answer appears to be a resounding no.”

    I think the first question is can liberals stop being racial demagogues for two seconds and based on your last paragraph the answer is a resounding NO.

    The second question is does being anti-Obama make you a racist. the answer to this question is also no.

    Obama is not actually black he’s bi racial and in case you hadn’t noticed Staci there are millions of other black men in this nation….some may have things in common with Obama, others may have nothing in common with him. So would you kindly stop using how people feel about Obama as a litmus test on race?

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com Michael J. West

    Hey, remember what Chris Rock said: “We’re obviously ready for a retarded President, why wouldn’t we be ready for a black one?”

  • Sisyphus

    “…is it because America, as a whole, is too racist to elect a black president[?]”

    Obama is not running for “black president” — he’s running for president. Probably 90% of everything I read or hear about Obama has something to do with race. The preoccupation with the amount of pigment in the senator’s skin has become very tiresome.

    I’m more or less in agreement with AC’s comments (gasp!), even though we’re pretty far apart most of the time.

  • moonraven

    You make it all sounds like a day at the dog races.

    I suppose it is….

  • tiks

    Obama’s probably the best the nation has to offer for the coming elections. The fact that he’s of mixed-raced origins would have been a plus in an ideal society.

  • reader

    Well staci, I think you’re speaking your mind that. If you’re going to vote for Barak will he win. The answer is yes. There are many many good Americans who don’t see color as being that big of a deal now a days.

    So, if you’re curious if many people will vote for him with out making racial judgement. Answer is yes. So stop asking about Obama’s race and work the issues that’s what matters and give Americans better education.

  • Alex Ritz

    Obama is an idealist, the best kind of leader, like Lincoln, Kennedy, Ghandi, Martin Luther, and other great men throughout history.
    The people relate to him and he has a genuineness about him. Neither is he a slave to the dollar like most politicians, and he addresses every issue directly, intelligently, and I feel honestly. He gives simple, easy to understand answers for complex issues, the way most things in life are. He is real.
    Lastly he’s INSPIRING, fresh positive energy in an old, riggid, elitist influenced government that rarely sees fit to talk to common people let alone address them.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=gonzo%20marx jaz

    Alex – he’s got a LONG row to hoe before you can even mention him in the same league as the others you talk about

    i’m all for giving him a chance to show U.S. that he deserves our votes… but the truth is his track record is not that extensive, and he has yet to be tried and proven…that’s what this process is all about

    but it does no good to inflate or conflate, far better to let his record, and own words…speak for him, for better or for worse…and to stand by their merit

  • http://stacischoff.blogspot.com/ StaciSchoff

    If you all want to say that his race shouldn’t matter or that you’re sick of hearing about his race — I’m with you there. But those who really believe that his race doesn’t matter in the context of this election are fooling yourselves.

    There are PLENTY of people who won’t vote for him based on his race alone. I want the Democrats to win the next election — I think Obama would be a fine president, but that doesn’t mean he would get elected.

  • Modr8Dem

    @ Staci

    The same people who would not vote for Obama because of his race, would not vote for him even if he was a white candidate, because of his political views.

    As far as I’m concerned……Obama wouldn’t have the bigoted vote anyway, Giuliani won’t even get ‘em. If it comes down to those two….the racists and bigots may stay home in ’08.

  • http://stacischoff.blogspot.com/ StaciSchoff

    Moder8Dem, if you don’t know any racist democrats (or would-be democrats) you’ve obviously never spent much time in the rural midwest.

    Anyway, it’s not the progressive vote we’re needing, it’s the people in the middle who could go either way. There’s still a lot of racism out there — much more subtle than it was fifty years ago, but it’s still there.

  • Modr8Dem

    It is possible (and common) for someone to be a racist but not deny votes based on race.

    I am from the Midwest, so yes, I know several racist Democrats, black and white. As a matter of fact, we have a racist Democratic Senator in WV (Robert Byrd). But they are still Democrats and most likely will vote along their party lines, regardless of race, especially given the issues with the Republican Party and Iraq this time around.

    As far as whites in the “middle” who would actually deny a vote based on race….majority tend to swing towards the Republican side anyway.

    When it comes down to it, most are more likely to vote for a black person if they are “non-threatening”, if they don’t make them feel like they are racists.

    Case in point: I remember a show I watched about 15 years ago, and they were interviewing a family of racists. The dad said he would never let his daughter marry a black person. The interviewer named a couple of well-known blacks and hypothetically asked if he would consider letting the daughter marry them and when he named Michael Jordan and Eddie Murphy, the dad said…sure, because they are “smart and rich”.

  • JustOneMan

    “The fact that he’s of mixed-raced origins would have been a plus in an ideal society.” – say what?

    What kind of racist crap is this? The left once again proves itself to be made up of a bunch of racist lunatics!!!

    JOM

  • Sisyphus

    JOM: “What kind of racist crap is this? The left once again proves itself to be made up of a bunch of racist lunatics!!!”

    Lunatics abound left and right. In taking the comments of ONE person and making broad generalizations about an entire group, you’re doing much the same thing as racists do.

    I do agree that the comment you quoted was off the mark, but I don’t see how it reflects anything on the political left or right.

  • avd

    I don’t care what color he is. I do care that he’d be simpathetic to the muslim cause.

  • Modr8Dem

    @ AVD

    “I don’t care what color he is. I do care that he’d be simpathetic to the muslim cause.”

    Was Eisenhower sympathetic to the Germans during WWII? (Eisenhower had German heritage)

    Was Clinton sympathetic to David Kuresh and Timothy McVeigh? (all were Christians)

    Was Kennedy sympathetic to Castro? (they were both raised Catholics)

    Let’s be realistic here.

  • Modr8Dem

    @ AVD

    Just to clarify. My response was based on the assumption that you are referring to Muslim extremists.

  • Sisyphus

    avd: “…muslim cause”

    If by the “muslim cause” you mean the same cause that the vast majority of ordinary Muslims share with the rest of Americans, then yes, I hope that whoever is elected President is sympathetic to our collective cause.

    If, as I suspect, you’re alluding rather to being sympathetic towards radical Islamic terrorists and the like, then either you’re trolling or dumb as a post. Maybe both.

  • franklin

    Hello All,

    This article’s author seems to show as an old school thinking journalist I am presuming; hr analysis as someone who has been a victim of past shisms from our shameful american experience on racism. The good news is that America has been a multicultural country that had ignored for a longtime her own face and her principles, but time is now to see a “New Majority” taking over that “Minority” concept of a country where no more business is as usual.

    She (the author) freaks out, as she mentioned more than twice about a probable “assassination” while she fails to tell us if former white US presidents JFK (Dem) and Reagan (Rep) have not gone through that unfortunate experience? If that is a sound basis for nominating a candidate, than we shouldn’t have gotten these two prez i just mentioned. I think they were both good americans; they were among the 1960-2007 era’s best presidents the Democrats and Republicans had produced (with respect to both party’s philosophies).

    So get over it. You would spare us distraction, because what I think is that we have got other better criteria than just this to spot a good nominee for the White House. We won’t let the “fear of terror” mislead us anymore in order to win a “war on terror” during this 2008 elections, period.

    Than, exhilarating so much about G Bush, she writes … “(Bush) he says it with authority, by God, and the people like that in a leader”… You know I hate to disagree with you, but our choice as a people was wrong, if made “by God” or out of cynism; so was our decision to “authorize” war in Iraq…

    Is that what you learned from the polls when Congress’ majority shifted? that americans are proud of Bush’s “strong” leadership? No, I think (…and you should know better know) that America needs just an ordinary and genuine leader who listens and willing rebuild (with all americans) this beautiful country, and it takes someone who can quickly reach out to both sides of the aisle to win the deal. Obama seems to have less experience than but he doesn’t seem to “Not” listening to the heart of the American people.

    — Franklin

  • avd

    Of course I did mean the extremist radical muslim cause. I certainly do not mean to sound “dumb” but when we are constantly being told that extremist types are taught to blend into our society etc…become school bus drivers…nice commmunity members…you get what I’m concerned about. As far as the cause that the vast majority of ordinary muslims share with Americans, I’m not quite sure what you refer to? I’ve not heard many muslims align themselves with ordinry Americans. What would the collective cause of Muslims be? I though there was a separation of church and state.

  • Sisyphus

    “I’ve not heard many muslims align themselves with ordinry Americans.”

    You’re even more confused than I first thought. Do you even acknowledge the difference between religion and nationality? Then you suggest some sort of weird Manchurian Candidate conspiracy fantasy where Sen. Obama is really a shill for Islamic terrorists. Good grief! Was there a sale on tin foil hats?

  • Modr8Dem

    @ avd

    “are taught to blend into our society etc…become school bus drivers…nice commmunity members”

    Didn’t they say the same thing about Communists 50 years ago? Again, Kennedy and Castro both had Catholic upbringing…..so JFK could have easily been a Communist operative for Castro? I mean, they shared the same religious background, right?

    “I’ve not heard many muslims align themselves with ordinry Americans.”

    They do everyday, all the time. You have Muslims stereotyped into this little mold that you created.

    But let’s just entertain your conspiracy theory for a minute: if Obama was a secret “extremist”, then both the Democrats and Republicans would be in on it together for equal gains. Both parties would have to be involved for something like that to stay a secret.

  • http://stacischoff.blogspot.com/ StaciSchoff

    Um, Franklin, I did not “freak out” about the possibility that Obama could be assassinated. It’s a fear I’ve read elsewhere (the Huffington Post, for one), and the point I made is that I believe we’ve come further as a nation than to have to fear that.

  • guitar46phil

    I’m sure you, like many conservatives, found “Borat” very amusing.

    The point you are making about “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner?” however is way off the mark. It also makes your “typical Hollywood racism” comment crass, and since it was not really well thought out, kind of gratuitouly bitter.

    True, the Spencer Tracy character was a racist, but he would have demanded perfection from a caucasion candidate for son-in-law as well.

    That is the stereotype he was portraying. A protective father of the times, who also was on some level a racist in denial. The beauty of the story is that the Sidney Potier character is the ideal son-in-law, black or white because his daughter is in love with him, and the father discovers that fact eventually; happy ending, good moral story.

    For you to misrepresent and slam that movie is to me, absurd.

    I dare anyone who thinks otherwise to watch the movie.

    The movie is not racist. It was probably more influential in addressing racism in it’s more subtle and personal forms, than anything I can recall, and at the time, it was a landmark achievement in film.

    I think you should admit you got carried away and retract your statement about “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?”

    A 47 year old Sidney Potier fan in Washington.

  • http://stacischoff.blogspot.com/ StaciSchoff

    guitar46phil —

    First of all, I could hardly be considered conservative, unless maybe you’re comparing me to NAMBLA or something. And I haven’t seen Borat, so I can’t say if it’s funny or not.

    And retract my statement on Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner??? Why? I agree that it’s a fantastic movie, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t personify the racism of its time — on the contrary, that’s part of what makes it a great movie.

  • Rick

    Hello Staci:
    God bless this internet stuff allowing someone from NYC to connect with a fellow citizen way across the country.

    For starters, Obama is hardly the Messiah lol. I think what most Americans find so endearing to him is not any sense of his “perfection” but rather his authenticity. He “inhaled” and admitted it. He just paid off some unpaid parking tickets – 17 years later. And his wife (literally) aired his dirty laundry while in NYC by saying how messy he is at home. All things many of us non-Messiah (ordinary folks) can relate to. In other words, he’s genuine. I don’t know about you, but I’m not perfect and I can’t relate to anyone who is.

    Finally, I would ask you to reconsider a certain scene from the movie “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.” Spencer Tracey’s issue with his daughter’s proposed marriage is NOT whether his future son-in-law is perfect or not perfect. He’s terrified that if they get married, they will be in certain situations that they might not be able to handle: racist society.

    It is only after Katherine Hepburn’s character reminds him about what it’s like to be in love – and she questions whether he as an old man had in fact forgotten (or even knew) what it was like to be in love – does he realize that LOVE should triumph, regardless of the situation.

    The question Americans face is whether or not they have forgotten their own ideals, their 1st love in saying that “we hold these truths to be self evident, that all men [and women] are created equal” or whether like Sean’s character (at 1st) we will allow fear and circumstances keep from giving Obama a fair shake.

    Our answer says way more about us than it does Obama. Did we forget our ideals? Did we ever mean them in the 1st place? We shall see…

    Rick,
    Brooklyn NY

  • http://infohype.blogspot.com Corey
  • lee31905

    Why is race an issue? Does anyone really care about the real issue’s going on with this country like health care, education, social security reform, etc. Here’s a thought…close your eye’s and mouth and open your ears people. It’s not like it matters any way… because pigment seems to be the issue overshadowing such a great presidential candidate.

  • steve

    I hope Obama isn’t elected. Just because he can give a great speech, that doesn’t make him a great leader. We all have hopes and dreams…but after spending only 2 years as a senator he’s not ready. On top of all of this…his mind has been poisoned by those socialist pinkos at Harvard.

  • Sisyphus

    “his mind has been poisoned by those socialist pinkos at Harvard”

    Yeah, maybe it was his Harvard years that poisoned Bush’s mind. Everyone knows Bush is secretly a socialist pinko.

    ‘Che right.

  • Arch Conservative

    “because pigment seems to be the issue overshadowing such a great presidential candidate. ”

    Why is he a great candidate? Or more to the point..why do you think he’d make a good president Lee?

    Obama is a liberal and as such would make a horrible president. He’d lead us further down the path of political correctness, moral relativism and social decay.

  • Arch Conservative

    I don’t know if he was being sarcastic or what but Mysisterspuss has a good point.

    Bush is a closet liberal!

  • Edmond

    Jazz, right as you say, Obama is not tested and not with a very long track record. Well Bush was tested as governor e.t.c, but though he is president for the US only, we the non americans are not very impressed with his record in the white house. We look up to the US to provide guidance on human rights and dmocracy for example, but since his record aint that good anylonger anyway, the african despots (read presidents) are jubilating and giving him as an example of their own straying. So if Obama, in stack contrast with a not so good Clinton and a not good enough Bush is the answer, then America, please bring on the mesiah.