Obama’s challengeIn spite of her notions about a conspiracy, Hillary R. Clinton has not lost sight of herself, her role or her goals. In 2001 she became senator of New York. She acquired a reputation of being willing to work with Democrats and Republicans. In spite of being labeled a liberal, Hillary has voted for moderate/conservative causes like the war in Iraq.
When some wondered if Hillary would remain married to Bill, one of the unstated reasons for staying with her husband was she never lost sight of her goal to be president! Now, America’s most controversial first lady since Eleanor Roosevelt has her sights set on the highest elective office. How the vote turns out will determine whether or not this country wants to be governed by an Alpha-type, middle class White female in the person of Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Barrack Hussein Obama, who has a Black African father and a middle class White mother from Kansas, represents a new type of African-American leader on the national scene. For the first time since the early 20th century, Black men who were not involved in the Civil Rights Movement are making their presence felt on America’s political scene. Though men like Sen. Obama usually acknowledge the contributions of people like Jessie Jackson and Martin Luther King Jr., they feel advancements in race relations can be accomplished through bargaining and negotiation.
This often puts them at odds with those who believe in using confrontation to achieve racial equality in America. Unlike Black men whose lives have been scarred by drugs, violence and crime Obama represents African-American men who used education and other assets to achieve personal goals. In spite of his achievements, Obama faces hidden challenges that may stop him from being America’s first Black president.
One challenge focuses on this question. Does the United States of America see herself being governed by a Black man? This question is important, because millions in America associate power with White males. However, Obama and his supporters believe that power in America has no color. These problems could be expected if all of Obama’s doubters came from Whites. However, many African Americans question his candidacy. They feel an Obama candidacy will ensure the Republicans will keep the White House. Others question his experience, while some simply believe a man like Obama cannot be trusted with power.
Another challenge focuses on is Obama rooted enough in the Black experience to be called a legitimate Black leader? This question is important because Obama is an African America whose life has not been haunted by the damaging effects of race. He also represents a generational divide in Black America because many in his generation have no firsthand experience with issues that produced the Civil Rights Movement.
Members of Obama’s generation are too young to remember the Civil Rights Movement. Though they might have had experience with racial profiling, they often have no knowledge of Jim Crow laws, segregation or the Klan. Though they may acknowledge Civil Rights pioneers like Dr. King and Andrew Young, they often see these people as images of a past that has no relevance to them.
Obama represents a generation of African Americans who were allowed the opportunity to integrate into American culture. If Obama wins the White House, he can be a standard bearer for Black America, while representing all of America.
Can Barack H. Obama be a president for all Americans? This is a crucial question because America has never allowed African-American males the trappings, strengths, privileges associated with power. Often America punishes Black men who acquire anything remotely associated with power.
The power and popularity associated with men like Medgar Evers and Dr. King contributed to their violent and untimely deaths. I remember Patrick Buchanan suggesting that Colin Powell would face challenges if he made an effort to seek the Republican presidential nomination in 1996. While some argue that Obama is not Black enough, others believe that if he wants to be president he has to stay away from so-called Black issues.
The greatest challenge faced by Obama is this: Has America become colorblind as it relates to acquiring political power or is it a country that still believes race, not qualifications, determines who gets the reins of power? The question will play a profound role in determining whether or not Barack Hussein Obama becomes the first genuine Black president.