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Saturday, July 31, 2010

NO HE CAN'T by Anne Wortham Associate Professor of Sociology at Illinois State University

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3 Comments:

Anonymous Anne Wortham said...

Fellow Americans,

Please know: I am Black; I grew up in the segregated South. I did not vote for Barack Obama; I wrote in Ron Paul's name as my choice for president. Most importantly, I am not race conscious. I do not require a Black president to know that I am a person of worth and that life is worth living. I do not require a Black president to love the ideal of America .

I cannot join you in your celebration. I feel no elation. There is no smile on my face. I am not jumping with joy. There are no tears of triumph in my eyes. For such emotions and behavior to come from me, I would have to deny all that I know about the requirements of human flourishing and survival - all that I know about the history of the United States of America , all that I know about American race relations, and all that I know about Barack Obama as a politician. I would have to deny the nature of the "change" that Obama asserts has come to America .

Most importantly, I would have to abnegate my certain understanding that you have chosen to sprint down the road to serfdom that we have been on for over a century. I would have to pretend that individual liberty has no value for the success of a human life. I would have to evade your rejection of the slender reed of capitalism on which your success and mine depends. I would have to think it somehow rational that 94 percent of the 12 million Blacks in this country voted for a man because he looks like them (that Blacks are permitted to play the race card), and that they were joined by self-declared "progressive" whites who voted for him because he doesn't look like them.

I would have to wipe my mind clean of all that I know about the kind of people who have advised and taught Barack Obama and will fill posts in his administration - political intellectuals like my former colleagues at the Harvard University 's Kennedy School of Government.

10:52 AM  
Anonymous continued said...

I would have to believe that "fairness" is the equivalent of justice. I would have to believe that a man who asks me to "go forward in a new spirit of service, in a new service of sacrifice" is speaking in my interest. I would have to accept the premise of a man that economic prosperity comes from the "bottom up," and who arrogantly believes that he can will it into existence by the use of government force. I would have to admire a man who thinks the standard of living of the masses can be improved by destroying the most productive and the generators of wealth.

Finally, Americans, I would have to erase from my consciousness the scene of 125,000 screaming, crying, cheering people in Grant Park, Chicago irrationally chanting "Yes We Can!" I would have to wipe all memory of all the times I have heard politicians, pundits, journalists, editorialists, bloggers and intellectuals declare that capitalism is dead - and no one, including especially Alan Greenspan, objected to their assumption that the particular version of the anti-capitalistic mentality that they want to replace with their own version of anti-capitalism is anything remotely equivalent to capitalism.

So you have made history, Americans. You and your children have elected a Black man to the office of the president of the United States , the wounded giant of the world. The battle between John Wayne and Jane Fonda is over - and Fonda won. Eugene McCarthy and George McGovern must be very happy men. Jimmy Carter, too. And the Kennedys have at last gotten their Kennedy look-a-like. The self-righteous welfare statists in the suburbs can feel warm moments of satisfaction for having elected a Black person.

So, toast yourselves, 60s countercultural radicals, 80s yuppies and 90s bourgeois bohemians. Toast yourselves, Black America. Shout your glee, Harvard, Princeton , Yale, Duke, Stanford and Berkeley. You have elected not an individual who is qualified to be president, but a Black man who, like the pragmatist Franklin Roosevelt, promises to - Do Something! You now have someone who has picked up the baton of Lyndon Johnson's Great Society. But you have also foolishly traded your freedom and mine - what little there is left - for the chance to feel good.

There is nothing in me that can share your happy obliviousness.

God Help Us All...

10:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

With Primary night coming next week it sure would be nice if there were some discussion of local political races and candidates.

8:26 PM  

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