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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

President Elect Obama

Whatever conservative disappointment with the result of the election, this is still a historic and exciting moment in our history. As I often tell my students, they're living through the history that their children will study in their history books. And we can well imagine that this chapter will be titled something like the "Age of Obama."

I've been preparing to discuss the Lincoln-Douglas debates with my class this week by reading the absolutely marvelous new book by Allen Guelzo, Lincoln and Douglas: The Debates that Defined America. This year is the 150 year anniversary of those historic debates. And it struck me how far we've come. Those debates were one year after the notorious Dred Scott decision in which the Supreme Court stated that no black man was a citizen of the United States. Even Abraham Lincoln who argued that all blacks were entitled to the natural rights of life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness, also stated in those debates that they were not entitled to civil rights such as voting.

C-Span is preparing for a special in December about the history of the White House and they had an hour-long preview a couple of weeks ago. I was watching that and thinking about the Obama family living there. It's been a long time since we've had young children in the White House. But just think of all the slaveowners who lived in that house. And now we will have an African American there.

Of course, this is a symbolic victory. Obama's victory will not with one fell swoop change the lives of black Americans. The black community will still face the problems that they had yesterday. Electing Obama will not decrease teen pregnancy or the crime rate among black men. Obama will have the opportunity to use the bully pulpit to address those problems and speak out about the need for increased responsibility in the black community. He has already done that somewhat, but I wouldn't be surprised to hear more of that for him. And all those blacks celebrating his victory will have to realize that having a black man in the White House will not suddenly change their lives any more than having black mayors in all the major cities has not improved their lives.

Look at the crowds of white people who went to Obama rallies and the faces of young white kids celebrating his victory. And then just think about how it was in our lifetimes when blacks could not vote throughout the South. And now the capital of the Confederacy went for an African American man for the presidency. Even for conservatives, this is an amazing moment to marvel at and savor. We have come so far since when I was a child and that is a good thing.

13 comments:

T-Steel said...

Comedian D.L. Hughley, who now has a show on CNN, said recently that if Obama wins, he has no one to "direct his hate anymore" and that black folks (like myself) have to become more accountable. He's is right. And you are right as well. America works. And black folks need to realize it, suck it up, and do the right thing. No more "blaming whitey", reactionary policies. It's about being an American and doing what Americans do. Plain and simple.

geoford said...

This may be historic, but not in the sense you mean. This is not a triumph of a color-blind society. Obama played the race card throughout the campaign. All his adult life he has embraced and promoted anti-American, anti-white, anti-Jew positions. The left used to be marginalized. It is now more prominent. This is not a triumph of "integration," for Obama is explicitly anti-integration and pro-neo-segregationist and pro-Afro-centrism. The American left has always used white racism in America (going back at least to the Port Huron Statement) as the basis for its solidarity with third world "struggles" and anti-American dictatorships. Chavez, Ahmadinejad, Farrakhan, Castro, the Syrians, Putin, al-Jazeera, Hamas and every jew-hater worldwide all pulled for this candidate. Historic? This is not dispositive of our Civil Rights movement, but of the left's growing radicalism.

klwong43 said...

I always appreciate the perspective you take on things. Would you use your to influence some of the other conservative bloggers away from the name calling and snarky sarcasm that preaches only the choir and turns away any seeker of truth who wants to truly understand the benefits of conservative principles? And why oh why did we have two years of campaigning without ANY of our candidates using the 'bully pulpit' of the campaign to educate people about how the economy functions? Ronald Reagan used simple charts and simple analogies to explain how businesses just passed on the taxes that were placed on them. My 14 year old daughter can get this. If we don't make a concerted effort to educate the electorate in these things, our country is already defeated.

Karen Wong

mnotaro said...

Yes, it's historic...yes, we've come a long way...blah blah blah...

Anyone notice in Barak's speech last night...NOW he's saying he doesn't think all the damage can be repaired and all of his goals can be achieved in "one year"...or maybe even "in one term"!! HELLO! Can you believe it? He is already setting up the public for when he fails at all of the ridiculous promises and lies he has told...remember, he is a politician people...this is what he does for a living...and the public fell for it! Liberal illuminati at work again....

Skay said...

Hugo Chavez is thrilled.

He seems to think he and Obama have a lot in common.

Who knew?

KentP said...

Thank you, Betsy, for your reasoned response instead of the "OMG It must have been stolen the sky is falling Liberals will turn us Socialist!!!!!!!111!!!!" that most of the other Republican-run blogs are braying. You DO tend to (usually) be at least willing to cast a glance towards a nonpartisan stance once in a while, unlike most Republican bloggers--who attribute every wrong done since the Garden of Eden to Democrats--and that's why I read this blog.

As a Moderate who might have gone for McCain until I saw his "concession to The Base" VP pick, I agree with you that this election is historic, no matter which way one leans, and that is a good thing for not just racial minorities.

Skay said...

Elections have consequences.



National Union MK Eldad: Israel now faces Iranian threat alone



Knesset Member Arieh Eldad (National Union-National Religious Party) said that "Israel should prepare for a situation that (US president-elect) Barack Obama will try and pay for agreements for a withdrawal from Iraq with Israeli interests.


"Israel should know that from now on it is facing the Iranian nuclear threat on its own, because Obama wants to talk to Iran and has already accepted a nuclear Iran," he added. (Amnon Meranda)








Back

Alex said...

Well said, Betsy. I was telling my Robinsonites this morning something very similar - though with three hours of sleep and no coffee in me yet, it wasn't nearly as articulate. Nearly all my students were excited about the election; even the McCain supporters were interested to see the results, exit poll internals, etc. How awesome is it to see kids interested?

Laura said...

You know, Barack Obama must do an excellent job masking his "anti-Jew" ideology, since he received approximately three-quarters of the Jewish vote.

geoford said...

In response to Laura on the issue of Obama's support from Jewish voters, he does mask his anti-Jewish views well, or at least he's never been asked much about the activities of his church (which supports Farrakhan and has published articles from Hamas in its newsletter), or what it was about Rashid Khalidi's views that caused him to praise Khalidi. And one of his close foreign policy advisors (Samantha Power) recommends deploying US troops to surround the IDF to "protect the Palestinians." On the issue of why Jewish voters would support Obama even though they know his views, I have been unable to locate the polling data, but I know many Jews who want to see a more pro-Palestinian policy. On the issue of whether this means, in summary, that Obama is "anti-Jew", I will amend that, because I don't know specifically how he thinks. My instinct is that he agrees with the leaders of the Weather Underground, Black Panthers, Black Liberation Theology and the PLO that America and Israel are the two biggest purveyors of racism in the world, and I'll just leave it at that. Thanks for pointing out my sloppy, and probably offensive, wording.

fotoarchief said...

^^^ well that's obviously the result of self-loathing jews

Tim said...

Geoford, where has Obama ever promoted anti-american, anti-white, anti-jew positions.. This guy is more white than black. He went to an Ivy league school, and then became antivist for the poor neighborhoods in the city in which he lived in. Just because he attended a church with a radical or attended Columbia University with a former white hippie (so called terrist) of the 60's doesn't make him anti-american.

Just look at the BTK killer in Witchita KS, he was a church elder, that doesn't make everyone else at the church socio-paths serial killers, does it?

You can engagement left radicalism, but I would like to point out the President Ragaen only by engaging the Soviets did he help to big the end of Communism in the former USSR. If we've learned anything from the last 8 miserable years under Bush is that only by engaging those factions that we are trying to mitigate and subegigate can we hope to defeat. You can't hide from problems...

Skay said...

It seems That Russia has made it's assessment of the election.