It was only a few months ago that many in the black community were suggesting, with no small amount of disdain, that Senator Barack Obama wasn't "black enough" to be President. How could he represent black people when he wasn't really black himself?, it was asked represent them. It seems that the notion was floated (and is still circulating), that since Senator Obama isn't descended from African people enslaved in America, he really couldn't be an "African-American".
Yeah... I know. Pretty stupid right? Well it gets worse.
Next came the accusation that Barack Obama was clearly some sort of tool of the white man, because after all, how could he, a "black" man be so popular in America?
Then, many black people suggested that "White people will never vote for him because he is black" they said. Some said "Black people won't vote for him, either, because he "Talks white".
Fast forward to the Iowa caucuses. Barack Obama handily won that contest... in a state whose population is something like ninety four percent white, and all of a sudden this is no symbolic campaign. This guy might be for real... some black democrats got on board to support Obama, while many clung to Senator Clinton for various reasons.
Fast forward past Super Tuesday, when Obama fought HRC to better than a standstill. All of a sudden, many black democrats "saw the light" and figured that Obama had a chance and decided to get behind him and adopt him as "One of our own"
Along comes the South Carolina and Potomac Primaries, where Obama blew HRC out of the water, and add wins in Wisconsin and Hawaii, and Senator Clinton is hanging on for dear life, and Senator Obama is the clear front-runner.
What I find remarkable is how quickly things change... at first Obama wasn't black enough and now, if a black person isn't supporting him, that person must be some sort of race-traitor. Madness, I tell you.
Weren't the past (and current) struggles for civil rights all about being able to do as you will, and go where you will with whomever you will? Wasn't the whole Idea to have as many choices as white Americans? Weren't our parents and grand parents and 5x great grandparents, beaten, humiliated, denied access, disenfranchised enough? Didn't their struggles for dignity mean anything?
Our community isn't the only group of people out there feeling like this, mind you, I know many women that plan to vote for HRC just because of her gender, which I find to be equally stupid. My blog pal the Queen of Spain has made similar comments to mine vis a vis having to vote a certain way because of gender... give her a look when you get the chance.
My friends, can't you see where this sort of thinking and voting leads us? If I should vote for Obama because he is black, what happens if he should lose the nomintation (I know, it isn't going to happen but...). Should I then vote McCain because he is a man?. Should the readers of my blog who are white women, vote for HRC because she is white, or because she is a woman?
Of course not, because that would be stupid.
Look, we can vote for whomever we please. We can support whomever we please... for whatever reasons we please.
Me? You already know that I am an Obama man. He wasn't my first choice, but, since my man Dennis Kucinich dropped out, I am more than content, even thrilled to support his candidacy (which I have done with my blog and my checkbook), because I believe in my heart (AND in my head) that he is the best candidate in the race, and will make an excellent President.
Voting for Barack Obama isn't akin to getting your membership card punched. It isn't some sort of loyalty test. There are enough of those in our community as it is.