Monday, October 29, 2007

Barack Obama is not brave

Back in 1970's three visionary African American women, Gloria T. Hull, Patricia Bell Scott, and Barbara Smith, published a ground-breaking anthology titled: All the Women are White, All the Blacks are Men, But Some of Us Are Brave: Black Women's Studies. That title vividly illustrates how people who live inside multiple identities all of which are concurrently struggling for their rightful dignity and place can find themselves erased from all directions.

Seeking to endear himself to black evangelicals, Obama has enthusiasticly endorsed of the "inspirational talent" of an "ex-gay" African American gospel singer. Evidently his campaign didn't include any black, gay, Christians though such people certainly exist. If Obama and his people actually knew such individuals, if they had listened to such individuals, they'd have had a harder time adding up constituencies and trying to buy a sector by offering token representation. Human realities are too complex for such stereotyping -- and nothing pains and infuriates any of us more than having our lived identities thoughtlessly erased.

I have no doubt that Obama is not personally homophobic, whatever than means. But his campaign practices a mechanical adding and subtracting of identity constituencies that is certainly not any kind of "new, post-partisan politics." And in this instance, the politics of the campaign were homophobic, especially toward black, Christian LGBT people.

And on an old politics note (courtesy of Pam Spaulding), what were Obama's people thinking when they headlined a performer who hailed Bush at the 2004 Republican convention?

No, Obama is not brave. The recent South Carolina fiasco can more accurately be called "stupid."


Grandmère Mimi said...

He's not brave, and the stupidity in SC is very disappointing. What the hell was he thinking?

Oh that Dennis Kucinich had a chance! All the maneuvering to get this segment of the vote or that segment only results in making them look like panderers with few principles.

janinsanfran said...

Chris Bowers has written interestingly about the failed promise of Obama at OpenLeft. I think I agree with Bowers: many kept hoping that Obama could help bring into being the potential progressive coalition we hope for in the Democrats. Instead we get more timorous, lesser evil politics when the times cry out for vision.

This is a lot to ask of a politician, but very fortunate countries occasionally get such leaders. We're not wrong to hope, but we'd be silly to pretend there's more there than is evident.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Jan, I agree with Bowers, too. It's sad to see that he factors religious folks out of the coalition, but I can't say that I blame him.

Whoever is the Democratic nominee will bear a heavy load, but if there is a visionary among those likely to win the nomination, I haven't found her/him.

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