Op-Ed: Times Magazine: Is Obama the End of Black Politics? ~ Wilfong

One thing is clear, as a result of Obama’s “break with conventional black politics”.  No longer can the Massah expect us to come to his rescue, or the rescue of his wife, Miss Anne.  That part of black politics is dead and buried, forever.  Now, we wait to see what these “new leaders” will say. ~ Wilfong

“Is Obama The End of Black Politics?”   That was the title of a recent NY Times Magazine article.  Our answer: Well he is, and, then, he ain’t….  

Barack Obama, in and of himself, is not the end of black politics.  But, his campaign, and his possible ascendency into the White House, is the end of a lot of stereotypical misconceptions as to the way things are in America.  The America, after now, will be so much different than was the America of 40 years ago.  And, the politics have definitely changed.

For the first time in history, we have a legitimate chance to elect a Black man to be President of the United States of America.  Once that is accomplished, we can no longer cry out about “lack of access” to the President.  We can no longer be the “perennial victim”, the “perennial oppressed”.   Even before the White House installation, the mere possibilities have already caused repercussions that threaten to split up families through fissures developed by folk being in environments that are new, and alien to them. 

They almost don’t know how to act.

We, now, need to examine and be prepared to accept what the article said: “to embrace the idea that black politics might now be disappearing into American politics in the same way that the Irish and Italian machines long ago joined the political mainstream”.  We black politics folk are about to be integrated into the whole.  And, some may find that historical role, Changed-and more than a little.  Jesse Jackson Jr.’s recent rebuke of his father was a classic example of how things have changed.

Jesse Jackson Jr., is now Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr.  His father is a black Reverend, who was in The Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.  Oh, and he ran for President in the 1980s.  In case you’re not familiar with the details, he’s the one Bill Clinton likes to remind us of, when he pooh- poohs the candidacy of Barack Obama, in 2008.  Jesse Sr. had some rather “un-professional” and “un-Brotherly” things to say about Barack Obama.  Obama IS most definitely the end of that kind of black politics.  Jesse Jackson’s son is a part of the new politics.

Cornell Belcher is the image of the new politics that is allowing us the legitimate shot at the White House.  He’s a 38-yr old pollster in the Obama campaign.  He’s a Harvard graduate.  “I’m the new black politics,” he was quoted as saying in the article.  Here is what Cornell Belcher also says: “The people I work with are the new black politics. We don’t carry around that history. We see the world through post-civil-rights eyes. I don’t mean that disrespectfully, but that’s just the way it is.”

“That’s just the way it is.”  That bears repeating….

The article talks about how Congressman Jackson warned his Congressional Black Caucus Brothers and Sisters that the candidacy of Barack Obama was different than was that of his father, back in 1984 an 1988.  He talked about “even if Obama lost, there could be a cost for opposing him”.  Oops, sounds like the ways of “the political mainstream”.

As the Magazine article said, the Congressional Black Caucus, for the most part ignored Congressman Jackson.  Instead they went along with conventional wisdom and succumbed to The Clinton Machine’s strong pull, and jumped aboard the Clinton bandwagon.  Barack Obama and his “new breed” of new political supporters and campaign members trounced the Clinton Machine.  Now, we must wait to see the reality of truth in Congressman Jackson’s words.

One thing is clear, as a result of Obama’s “break with conventional black politics”.  No longer can the Massah expect us to come to his rescue, or the rescue of his wife, Miss Anne.  That part of black politics is dead and buried, forever.  Now, we wait to see what these “new leaders” will say. 

How they will act…  They are the highly educated, entrepreneurial type.  They are more likely to have graduated from Harvard or Yale, rather than Howard or Morehouse.

It is time to play taps for black politics of the past.  With “a new wind at our back” we will follow this new leader and his bunch of brilliant co-workers in the movement of 2008.   /and where we’re met with skepticism and doubt we will answer as Barack Obama does: YES WE CAN!!!!!


The struggle continues, until we succeed-and we shall-YES WE CAN!!!!!

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1 comment
  1. Hank Wilfong said:

    Back in Arkansas Grandpa Wilfong had a favorite saying, that he learned somewhere. He said that one of the old guys “from town” (meaning white) used to ask him how things were. My Grandpa would love to respond, with that serious way of his: “Well, Mr. Charlie, things ain’t like they ought to be. Things ain’t like they gonna be. But, thank God things ain’t like they used to be.”

    That Grandpa Wilfong was a wise old cuss…

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