Americans are being told, by their fellow citizens as well as by foreigners, that in order to prove that they no longer are racist, they must elect a black man to the White House.
That is good to know.
But one question arises. By how many percentage points must Barack Obama win for "America" to "prove" (to itself as well as to others) that it is no longer racist? It would seem that only something in the neighborhood of a 99% victory could effectively determine that. But that is the kind of "victory" only seen in dictatorships, so hopefully a victory in that kind of numbers won't be required.
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What if the Illinois senator wins by, say, 60%? That's a pretty impressive victory by any standard. But does that mean that the other 40% must necessarily be racists? Must race be the only, or the main, reason for their voting against Obama?
What if it's a razor-thin victory? Should the former community organizer win by only, say, 50.02%, will that mean that Americans aren't that ready to give up the racism that has (allegedly) characterized them for so long?
And how about four years from now? Must Americans again prove that they are not (or that they are no longer) racist? Come the 2012 election, must Americans reelect President Obama to the White House to prove they are not fettered by racism? Again, by how many percentage points? And what if a hypothetically impressive 2008 victory turns into a hypothetically lackluster 2012 showing? Will we then be told, ominously, that that proves that racism "rears its ugly head" again?
And what if the results of the election aren't that straightforward? Remember 2000? What if Obama comes out ahead (barely), only to have John McCain — for valid reasons or otherwise — mount a campaign to recount the votes in some state(s) or parts thereof? What if Obama's victory is not ascertained until several weeks after November 4? Can you imagine the outcry that will cause? (Let's not even imagine the hollering, the wailing, and the gnashing of teeth among American leftists as well as foreign ones, should Obama be the candidate who loses after a year-2000-election scenario!)
And how about the future? Given that one in seven Americans is black (it's actually about 12.85% or closer to one in eight, but since we are talking about presidential terms, seven is an easier figure to handle), must Americans from now on elect an African-American every seven election cycles to prove they aren't racist? And must they not just have a black person run, but actually win the election — meaning that any white person's campaign (for the presidency or simply to be his party's candidate) is doomed ahead of time, meaning in turn, the parties may have no whites even thinking of being a candidate every seventh election cycle? By the way: must Americans elect an African-American exactly every 28 years — regardless of circumstances — or must they elect every seventh president a black man, i.e., taking into consideration the number of terms of the intervening six presidents, that is, counting a (supposedly white) single-termer's four years in the White House and a (supposedly white) two-termer's eight years as one each (i.e., as one each of the intervening six presidents)?
Maybe the solution is even more drastic: instead of electing a black man every seven election terms, Americans must make up for the 220 years without an African-American at the helm; meaning that the next six presidents (the total number of white males in the White House, 43, divided by 7) must be black. This, in turn, can only mean that no white politician may run for the supreme office (or even for the party's candidacy), whether in the Democratic party or the Republican Party, at least, until 2032 and possibly (should all candidates win reelection) until 2056.
And while we're at it, how about women? Must we elect a woman every second presidential contest? And again, must we start afresh (i.e., electing every seventh president a black and every second one a woman) or must we — again — make up for the previous 220 years — meaning we can only have blacks as president until 2032 and only females as presidents (one out of seven of whom is a black female, naturally) until the year… 2228?
What is the point about these questions? The point is as follows: Make no mistake about it. Should Obama win the election, the hand-wringing and wild charges about American racism — both at home and abroad — will at best cease temporarily. Any opposition to President Obama's policies will be construed as racism "rearing its ugly head" again.
And at best (at best, according to the — non-thinking — bean-counters, that is), in the faraway future, we will be told by the snickerers and the snorters: "Well yeah, a black American was elected in 2008 (even reelected in 2012), but that was a one-time travesty!"
Or they will say that oh, sure there is an African-Americans (there are African-Americans) whom Americans have elected president, but… his (but their) skin color wasn't dark enough. "Would they ever" — insert knowing ironic smile here — "elect a really dark Negro?"
Why do I think this? Why do I know this? How can I be so sure of it? Because it has already come up. Every time Obama inches forward, we see a resurgence in the tales of Barack Obama getting assassinated.
So first, we get snickering and snorting that (of course) America will never elect a black man president. When the prospect of a black man acceding to the presidency becomes distinctly possible (and even probable), we get snickering and snorting that (of course) that president (or that candidate) will be shot dead.
Why does this come up? Because Americans — or certainly, conservative Americans from small town America — must be accused of something sinister.
It doesn't matter if the nation's sports stars are black, it doesn't matter if the nation's top film stars are black, it doesn't matter if a nation's top generals are (or have been) black, it doesn't matter if the largest cities' mayors are (or have been) black, it doesn't matter if the secretary of state is black, it doesn't matter if a main party has chosen a black man to run for the presidency (whether he wins or not). As for electing a black man president, I would happily vote for a person such as Michael S Steele, Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams, Larry Elder, Shelby Steele, and (until recently) Condoleeza Rice.
But, again: all that doesn't matter: Americans — or certainly, Americans from small town America (the conservatives who usually vote for Republicans) — must be accused of something sinister. If it isn't racism, it's fascism. If it isn't fascism, it's something else. Americans must be treacherous, they must be greedy, they must be warmongers, they must be reactionary, they must be clueless. And… they must be racist. (Incidentally, has it ever occurred to you — has it ever occurred to our Liberal friends that what they think — what they are convinced they "know" — about run-of-the-mill Americans from small town America might actually be perfectly representative of the alleged racism that they deplore in those run-of-the-mill Americans' sentiments towards the black race? Notice that what the leftists accuse white, conservative, Waspish Americans of — nay, what they are convinced represents those Americans' entire reality — is far more derogatory and denigratory than the alleged racism that those Americans allegedly feel towards a race such as the black one.)
This is why we have what Mark Steyn calls it "Obama assassination porn." If/When Obama is felled by a bullet, the liberals will have a field day (or rather a field, week, month, year, decade, etc…) bemoaning that "America", i.e., that conservative racist America is what killed America. (But nations do not commit assassinations, nor do unorganized racial groups; only individuals do.)
Incidentally, what is frightening to envision, with all these martyred Obama fantasies and all this alleged racism floating around, is that the theoretical murder of Barack Obama would be (far) more profitable to the Democratic Party than to any racist individual or, certainly, to anybody supposedly embodying conservative America. If a Democrat really wanted his party to win, having their black candidate assassinated a few days before the election (along with the ensuing outrage and commotion) would ensure the party's near-certain capture of the White House. (Difficult to envision? As Jerry Bowyer points out, most presidential assassins have been rather of a leftist bent.)
Whatever the case, the basic truth about racism is as follows: racism is far less an accurate description of an attitude prevalent in a given society, in a given individual, than it is a weapon that is wielded to demonize one's opponents while making oneself appear heroic by parroting (and by doing nothing else than parroting) politically correct platitudes. More often than not, in other words, the fight against alleged pockets of racism is nothing more noble than a self-serving act of self-praise.