The End of Plantation Politics?
Generally it has been white Americans who have complained of African Americans playing what they call the ‘race card’, but I think we can all agree that right now both the race and sex cards are being played by the Republican Party and John McCain’s campaign. Under no other circumstances (had he not been running against an African American man) would McCain ever have had a woman as his Vice Presidential running mate. Forget Ringling Brothers, ladies and gentlemen; here we are witnessing the ‘greatest show on earth.’ This whole election has turned comical and down right satirical. On the McCain side it seems foolish for any woman to be swept up by this game of sexual political scam. One would think that even Palin herself would ask –why me? and why now? If there had been a sense of true equality with women, (white ones in particular) why wait until this very moment in history to bring one to the table?
On the Obama side of the fence, we’ve always wondered what the world would be like if the U.S. had an African American president and we may soon find out. The only problem is that while the president of the United States generally inherits power and respect around the globe- an African American president will inherit that plus the burden(s) of satisfying the African American and white, Hispanic, and Asian American communities. Sadly, it may turn into the battle of the ‘minorities’. It’s as if the symbolism behind having some color to your skin somehow obligates you to every person deemed a ‘minority’ in this country. As president (or any leader) you are to understand the pains and sufferings of the people with whom you identify with, empathize with the inequalities for the female persuasion, and of course you have to make sure that you are catering to the voters with alternative lifestyles. All the while, they are singing a song and ‘dancing a jig’ to sell their view of American Unity, which is actually a total fallacy. And all of this goes on without even the slightest mention of the fact that being broken up into so many groups with so many wants, needs, and agendas completely separates us all.
For decades African Americans have entertained the idea of having an African American president in hopes that this would somehow dispel the imposition of stereotypes and degradation suffered over the centuries. And to be quite honest, while we have had the opportunities to only vote for white males to become the next Head of State –many of us never truly believed that this day of having a choice of someone who actually ‘looked like us’ would come. So now this brings us to a very hot and heated debate within the African American populace, and surprisingly it has become two fold since there has been so much news around the possibility of a woman for Vice President. This is unfolding as an extraordinary tale of the place where each one of us has stood and still stands to this day. This new game of sexual and racial politics and its historical context transformed within a very short period of time. McCain has made one of the most desperate attempts at securing votes that I have ever witnessed in my young life. How so? He has done this by adding a woman (a white woman) to his ticket in hopes that he would sway those old ‘Hillarians’ to vote for him and not Barack Obama. It was indeed an act of overt desperation, but was it sound and will it work? The tactics seem very lame and one could almost smell a bit of fear of losing the election as the motivation behind this decision.
The rhetoric of both parties seems very typical of any presidential candidate, and there is certainly nothing profoundly innovative that has been said. The only true power behind any of their words is the emotion felt by the American citizens who listen to them with their eyes and not their intellect. That is to say, that the fact that Barack Obama is African American and that Palin is a woman are very sensational aspects of this campaign and it is all a play on the emotions of the American citizens. After all, Cynthia McKinney is the Green Party’s nominee and she is a woman and just happens to also be African American.. The reality is (whether we choose to accept it or not) that this election, like so many other issues in this country is completely determined upon race and sex. And in this case the two go hand in hand.
Analytically, it has the remnants of our ugly past written all over it, when African American men were allowed to vote and work in Congress and Senate while the white woman ranted about her rightful place in suffrage above the African American man. This entire game of politics on both sides of the coin (Obama and McCain) should be watched and scrutinized very closely. If you watch closely you shall see the toying with your emotions as Obama features a white middle aged couple in his ads and McCain flashes a photo of two elated African American women during his speech at the Republican National Convention as he uttered his spill of hope and real change.
On the African American front we all have some idea of what John McCain plans to do and that’s to ‘lower our taxes’ (or lower somebody’s taxes). Although, taxes don’t mean squat when you don’t have a job –get a clue John. And Obama, well, he wants to unite all Americans. But how? How does he plan to eradicate centuries of aggravation and distress? If they really want to unite all Americans they could start by creating an educational system that includes and aids in the uplifting and recognizes the glory and contributions of all peoples who were/are conducive to this superpower that we call America today. Starting with the children of the disadvantaged would be useful in reversing the cycle of malicious intent and ill will that has been learned by the peoples of this country. Get a clue, Barack! Politicians create policies, they don’t live immediately within the framework of those policies by which society was created. Therefore, at some point, they (the politicians) are almost always out of touch with the realities of people whom they claim to understand or represent.
We all have intelligent minds that are capable of registering information, but the discernment of that information is the key to unlocking the gates of critical analysis of all those whom we may soon relinquish our power to and lead this country. We have our individual and collective beliefs, ideals, and perceptions. The one string that connects us all in this country is that the many aspects of our proclaimed individuality and ideals have been shaped by our way of life and upbringings in this country. And since its very inception, race, sex, and politics, have always been woven meticulously into its fabric. At some point we will all have to change the patterns woven into this fabric and demand that America stop the theatrics and stop conducting its politics as if we are all still physically on the plantation.