Preemptive Politics: Obama Made Me Do It.

I had planned to resume this blog this summer with coverage of Wimbledon, but I’ve decided instead to enter an even more ferocious arena: Politics. Barack Obama made me do it.

His call for dramatic change struck a nerve with thoughtful people of all ages throughout the country, but there is a sizeable segment of our society determined to stay the course and not just in Iraq.

Years from now historians and others will still be hailing Obama’s speech on race, delivered in Philadelphia earlier this week, as one of the more masterful messages of our time. I wonder, however, if it will be enough to overcome strong resistance from elements from the far right and some segments of the major media’s reluctance to take that extra step necessary to insure that Obama’s message is fairly heard. Here’s what concerns me.

(1) In NBC’s evening coverage of Obama’s speech, one segment began explaining Obama’s multi-colored background with a shot of his wife, Michelle, but did not mention that he is the product of a black father and white mother. We learn in the media very early in our careers that we should not assume such information is known. In another segment Obama is shown answering his own question, “Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely,” but NBC left out the rest of his response, which was “just as I’m sure that many of you have heard comments from your pastors, priests or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.” The universality of those words are undeniable. If that sentence had been included perhaps pundit Pat Buchanan wouldn’t have been as quick to suggest that Obama should have challenged Rev. Wright on-the-spot.

(2) Troublesome, too, is former congressman Joe Scarborough. The Morning Joe (MSNBC) host seems to be on a mission to vilify and derail Obama’s candidacy. Scarborough attacked Obama for revealing that his grandmother feared walking by black men and that her use of racial slurs made him cringe. By including her comments and reactions, Scarborough said Obama “threw his grandmother under the bus.” Saying that his white grandmother loved him despite her racial bias underlines the complexity of our racial divide and the only way to bridge that divide is with honest discussion, not more silence on the subject as Scarborough suggests.

(3) It is clear that the extreme right, which includes Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity would rather see our country ransacked and reduced to rubble than have it become a fairer and more perfect union led by Obama or anyone else. Their goal is divisiveness at all cost, even it means the destruction of life as we now know it.

I’m just hoping that people won’t have to look back and wonder what could have been had we followed a course of true change, a course that would lead us to true unity, not hatred and divisiveness.

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