Dexter Rogers

Dexter Rogers

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Obama: The march towards history continues but at what cost?


Barack Obama embarked closer to presidential history as he's now formally accepted the Democratic nomination at Invesco field in front of 80,000 people. During his 42 minute speech Obama strongly proclaimed, “We are a better country than his.”

Obama was right. This country is in shambles due to the incompetent leadership from a man I consider borderline functionally illiterate.

Obama ironically gave his speech on the same date Martin Luther King gave his “I Have a Dream” speech forty-five years ago. On August 28, 1963 approximately 300,000 people, African American, whites, men and women, marched on Washington in protest.

Like Obama’s, King’s speech was televised. In his seventeen minute speech he aroused the American masses as he delivered one of the great speeches of all time. King’s speech was delivered 100 years after the Emancipation Proclamation. It was very fitting as King asserted that the American Negroe was still not free. King stated, “America has given he Negroe people a bad check-a check which has come back marked insufficient funds.”

He continued, “So we’ve come to cash this check: a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.”

Has much changed since King’s speech?

Despite some noteworthy gains and the ascendance of Obama I still think there’s a lot of work to do.

Unlike Obama, King got right to the point. He talked about the need to for African Americans to stake their claim and simultaneously integrate into society. King let America know that they could no longer wait for equal education, adequate housing, well paying jobs, and societal respect.

In 1963 King was the leader who came to the steps of Washington DC to collect the freedom that was supposed to be issued 100 years ago.

I personally found Obama’s words moving but I must admit I’m a bit skeptical. I find it bewildering he neglected to talk about one of the biggest problem that hinders this country like racism.

Racism is still a problem.

Why?

People are afraid to have a collective discussion about the subject. With the passage of time it makes the problem bigger. I believe it’s a much needed discussion and I think it needs to happen on Obama’s watch. Given his ethnicity and platform who is better equipped to begin a universal conversation on a subject must want to neglect?

Allow me to be objective here: I personally like Obama and I love seeing him embarking upon history. He’s by far the best candidate and will make a fine president but I’m a bit reluctant to fully commit to him because he’s neglecting to delve into topics that are dire.

The only time Obama spoke of race at length was when the Republicans, the Clinton’s, and mainstream media tried to use Jeremiah Wright to curtail his efforts. Other than giving a speech in Philadelphia he was forced to make and denouncing his former friend what has he specifically said about race relations in America?

Obama’s theme is change. I think the word “change” is vague. I believe in a step by step plan that’s geared towards achieving meaningful results. Has Obama outlined a plan that’s geared towards rectifying the ills that continue to hinder African Americans and those others at the bottom rungs of society?

The economy has been in shambles for nearly a decade but racism has been prevalent for centuries. The war in Iraq has gone for five years too long but social, economic, and political inequality is still pervasive.

Is attacking an ancient 72 year old candidate who doesn’t know how many homes he owns solving the real ills that’s hindering America?

To me Obama is the Jackie Robinson of politics. Anytime the “first” African American embarks on glory he’ll have to pay a price. What his price will be remains to be seen but we know Robinson paid his price. Opposing white players spat on him and fans threw bottles and rocks at him when he took the field. For the first two years of his contract Robinson couldn’t retaliate which was against his character because Robinson was a warrior at heart.

Robinson sacrificed his dignity as a man to open the door for African Americans in sports and society.

Obama’s presence will surely fuel others to dream bigger and increase the possibility for everyone. It’s beautiful because it’s about unity but to properly unify we must address the ancient problems that still keeps this country divided.

Obama’s presence is wonderful but as of now I don’t see what he proposes filtering down to the masses. I’m not being critical of Obama. I’m just keeping it real.

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