"I think this is really the end of an era of race and politics," said Angela Dillard, a history professor at New York University whose specialty is race and politics. "Something's shifting and changing, and people like Sharpton can't change with it, and something new and different is being created and it is about people like Obama." The old model of the black protest leader making demands no longer makes sense in an age tapped out and tired of race, Dillard said. But Obama can argue for policies virtually indistinguishable from Sharpton's in cooler, nonracial terms, while still affirming a message of racial identity and uplift implicit in his very being.Like I highlighted in the Q-Tip interview, it's as much about style as it is substance. I don't mean that in the superficial sense here. I mean that how a person comes across is just as important as what they bring. The book of Proverbs is full of admonitions about just that very thing. It's not just about race any more, it's about the complete package the candidate brings to the table. For all I know, Obama may be to the left of Al Sharpton. No matter what his ideology, I like the fact that he's not taking it to the old 1960's style technique. Now, I don't know what's being planned for the Republican convention, or who's gonna be speaking or what, but for some reason I don't suspect that a Black Republican candidate of the same "star" quality would get quite the same type of coverage. Invariably, there would be some mention of a difficulty reconciling Blackness and Republican-ness, like they're mutually exclusive. Maybe I'm being unnecessarily pessimistic about that. I doubt it, though. Thinking about the Black Republican politicians I have seen, they definitely did not follow the Dinosaur (read: NAACP) model, but they tended to be rejected out of hand because they didn't drink the Kool-Aid and vote Democratic. We'll see what happens.
It's A New Day
Let me put this out here right now: I don't do politics. Some of my thoughts may tend to align more closely to one end of the political spectrum, but that's about as far as it goes. I claim neither the jackass nor the pachyderm. At the party level, it's all self-serving and fraudulent, as far as I'm concerned. Not saying that all politicians are crooked, but a politicans have the same job as everybody else: to get paid. Some take their jobs more seriously than others, but that's the same as it is everywhere else. When I go to Foot Locker, one of the salespeople will really take his time and make sure the shoe fits and answer any questions I may have about fit or what I can expect in terms of the mileage per week, while the other person will just toss the shoebox at me and walk off to look at the girls that just came flouncing in the door, wandering back in my direction only if he's not getting any play. That's life. So to point out that such-and-such a politician is really principled or whatever...doesn't move me. His job is to get me to vote for him and he'll do whatever he has to to keep it. I vote solely because my grandparents couldn't. I don't just walk in the booth and punch levers at random, but when I vote, I'm doing it for Granny and all my other (s)kinfolks who didn't have the opportunity when they were my age. I won't say that voting is not useful, but I think that more hands-on person-to-person contact trumps governmental action five days a week. (Some things have to be done by the government, plain and simple.) Now. I will say that Barack Obama, who's running for the US Senate in Illinois, gets my attention. Not because of his political stances on anything; I'm not watching that carefully. I was born in Illinois, but I'm not in his constituency any more, so it really doesn't matter to me. What is interesting to me is that he may represent paradigm shift in the stylings of Black "leaders." In this article from the Times-Picayune, we see: