Leonardo"s Notebook by Mattheus Mei

I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Warren Bolton on Obama

I read this Editorial in The State today on why it's ok for blacks to vote for Obama. I found it poignant and some recent truths that have been easily forgotten in the Media frey over "race." Here's the Text:

TAKE A DEEP breath, black people. Relax. It’s OK to vote for Barack Obama.
With all the discussion about race swirling around the Democratic primary, headed to South Carolina Jan. 26, that needs to be said. Sen. Obama has proven he can be presidential. He’s a legitimate candidate. No need to panic. If elected, he can do the job.
But black people shouldn’t vote for him because of the color of his skin. They shouldn’t vote for him if they think Sen. Hillary Clinton or former Sen. John Edwards can do a better job.
But they shouldn’t withhold their votes from Sen. Obama because of some of the foolish reasons floating around, many of which have their roots in jealousy, self-hatred and self-defeatism.
Sen. Obama, who is biracial but identifies with African-Americans, isn’t black enough, some say. Others say he hasn’t paid his dues. Some say he isn’t electable and they don’t want to waste their votes. Still others say they’re afraid that if he wins, he might be assassinated.
U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, whose parents were once sharecroppers in Manning, said South Carolinians particularly express fear something will happen to Sen. Obama. “I hear that here more than any place I’ve ever been,” he said.
South Carolinians must not allow their fear — or other ridiculous, unfounded claims — to keep them for supporting this historic candidacy, if that’s their choice. (Sen. Clinton is running a historic race of her own.)
Rep. Cummings acknowledges that while he is now convinced Sen. Obama is destined to be president, he didn’t always feel that way. But his doubts had little to do with Sen. Obama or his qualifications and much to do with America, where historically white voters don’t support black candidates on a large scale. Rep. Cummings, 56, said he never expected to see an African-American or person of color have a legitimate shot at the presidency during his lifetime.
Still, when Sen. Obama asked Rep. Cummings to lead his campaign in Maryland, the congressman consented. If Sen. Obama had the audacity to try, Rep. Cummings said, he felt compelled to help. “At some point, we have to look at our own history, and we have to connect the dots,” he said. “If we don’t try we’ll never get there.”
“I realize that there are people who hate on Barack. There are people who look like Barack who hate on Barack,” he said. (Insert here the name of bumbling, black billionaire Bob Johnson, who made an obvious and distasteful reference about Sen. Obama’s admitted drug use as a teen during a stop in Columbia to chat up Sen. Clinton.)
“If we are going to progress, it is so important that people like Barack Obama be successful.”
Rep. Cummings was in South Carolina a couple of weeks ago rallying Obama campaign workers and meeting with elected officials and ministers. His message: Barack Obama is the real deal.
He didn’t have to sell me. I’m very aware of questions about Sen. Obama’s lack of experience — whether it’s on foreign affairs or national security or his time in the Senate. Those questions are legitimate, and as the campaign proceeds, he must address them.
But isn’t it refreshing to have a presidential candidate who is authentic, hopeful, enthusiastic and has a vision of a unified America? Isn’t it good to have someone who can connect with and move people to want to act? Isn’t it good to have someone who can cut through the doom and gloom and get people to see that there are brighter days ahead and that they can help bring them to pass? (Former Gov. Mike Huckabee is similarly refreshing on the Republican side.) The only time we get national leaders with that kind of charisma these days is when we play back speeches from the MLK and JFK era.
Sen. Obama answered a number of questions with his win in Iowa. It says he’s electable. He can appeal to white voters. He’s a force to be reckoned with.
Iowans, aware of the experience issue, chose Sen. Obama. “Apparently, they feel that there is something he has that they’re not worried about the experience,” Rep. Cummings said.
“I just think that Barack is ready for the moment,” he said.
“He is probably one of the brightest persons we have to offer as a people,” he said, adding that it takes an extraordinary person to be editor of the Harvard Law Review. “As a lawyer, I can tell you that is off the chart.”
“This is not a campaign for the presidency of the United States. This is a campaign for the future of America,” he said. “I think Barack Obama, his timing is simply just short of phenomenal,” he said. “This guy’s steps are ordered.”
“Then people say wait, wait.” Had Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who was assassinated at 39, waited as people told him to, “we would have never benefited from his gifts,” Rep. Cummings said.
In explaining why it’s important for African-Americans to support Sen. Obama, Rep. Cummings drew on an exchange he had with his father.
Two weeks after Rep. Cummings passed the bar exam, his father asked him to represent him in an accident case. The congressman said he told his father there were many seasoned attorneys available to handle his case. Why not hire one of them? His father said that the future congressman had done all that had been asked of him; he had worked hard, had graduated, had passed the exam, had made the sacrifices. “He said, ‘If I don’t use you, then who’s going to use you?’” Rep. Cummings said.
Sen. Obama has done the hard work, has excelled on various levels, has made the sacrifices, Rep. Cummings said. “Now he’s prepared to lead, and we need to give him our support.”

It is a poignant article and I think it's very important to point out that Mr. Obama did break the colour barrier with a victory in Iowa, also it should be noted again and again that despite coming in second in New Hampshire he still received 104,772 to Mrs. Clinton's 112,251. And new Hampshire much like Iowa is a homogeneous place, very white washed in comparison to the Deep South and Southwest. And too, both the Iowa Caucus and the New Hampshire Primary brought out support for the Democratic Party that has been unheard of in elections past as vast numbers of people turned out to vote, and odds are if they vote in the Presidential Primaries they'll vote in the General Election. So Obama supporters take heart, and those who are wavering take notice.

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Jessica said...

Hey Mattheus-

Not sure if you got that email I sent a few days ago, but I wanted you to know that the film, Article VI: Faith, Politics, America (which I saw last night-very thought provoking) is having free viewings in South Carolina! Have you heard about it?

Well Friday the film will be showing On-Demand in the Greenville Market, no cost associated! Yeah. The film will be broadcast on WJNI-TV 52 at 3:30 pm and 5 pm. The Film will also be broadcast on Knology Cable Channel 44 at 3:30 pm and 5 pm. Finally-the film will be live streaming on www.article6themovie.com, no cost associated with any of these.

Hopefully you can see it. Be sure to check out the trailer if you have not already:


Mattheus Mei said...

Thanks Jessica for the Hat Tip on the movie. I did get your e-mail the other day and checked out the site. It looks like a very interesting film!

I hope all the readers of this blog take note of this film and give it the once over. We unfortunately will have to wait for a showing here in Columbia. Anyone find interest with a connection to the Nick? Check it out!!!!!

Jessica said...

If you have time on Friday, y'all should take advantage of the free showings! Friday the film will be showing On-Demand in the Greenville Market, no cost associated! The film will be broadcast on WJNI-TV 52 at 3:30 pm and 5 pm. The Film will also be broadcast on Knology Cable Channel 44 at 3:30 pm and 5 pm. Finally-the film will be live streaming on www.article6themovie.com, no cost associated with any of these.

Excited for the primaries in South Carolina!