Jimi Izrael asks whether or not blackfolks should give McCain and Palin a high burden of proof that they 'get' black people.
Neither McCain or Palin have any great affinity for diversity or people of color. I mean, Jimmy Walker doesn't need to be thier campaign manager, but Palin's pale perspective gives me pause. What do you think? Is Sarah Palin colorblind?
The name of the game is politics, which can be played any number of ways. We have a problem in that lots of blackfolks, especially those who are immediately receptive to this line of inquiry, play a particular hand in politics - identity politics. It essentially means that they want their candidates to play 'get like me'. When you lead with identity politics, you live by the sword and die by the sword.
Now you could play politics by values. The person that *thinks* like me is the person I want to lead. Or you could play it by patronage. The person that *gives* the most to me is the person I want to lead. Or, my own pitch, the person who puts country first is the person I want to lead.
In one way I laugh at this. I mean it's like do you want the quarterback of your team to play harder for the black fans or the white fans? It's a dumb question. Kinda like saying Disneyland is for white people and the Apollo Theatre is for black people and you want the quarterback who wins the Super Bowl to say "I'm going to the Apollo Theatre". But there are people like that. Remember that there are people in this country who believe that any politician that appears on Fox TV is saying 'white' things for 'white' people, and that if they don't make a specific appearance in front of Tavis Smiley, or Katrina victims, or whomever is the proxy black of the moment, that they don't care about black people.
It seems to me that when you say the pledge of allegiance and you say 'liberty and justice for all' that black people are defacto included. There's nothing else you have to say. Just like there's no 'black' football or 'white' football. It's all about the game itself and how you play it. If you make it a priority to add color to the rules, where a black touchdown is different from a white touchdown, then you're just asking for trouble.
You would think that people understood that by now. Our parents fought for AMERICAN civil rights, and we got them. So why ask for something specifically black from politicians today? Aside from which, why can't black people provide that for themselves?
Today nobody questions that Barack Obama is 'black enough'. Thank God he put all that to rest. But in doing so, he slammed the lid shut on black liberation theology and all it implicates. Nobody gets to be that kind of black politician on the national scene. You want a black school in your district? That's not the President's job.
Speaking specifically about McCain, after all Palin is no Cheney, I happen to know a black man who served on the Forrestal on McCain's last combat mission. He's 100% behind him. That game, the game of national defense and military service, subordinates racial identity to other virtues. (Not saying that racial identity is a virtue). Again, how it is that people don't understand this kind of subordination demonstrates to me how they've spent too much of their lives *being* instead of *doing*.
As far as Alcee Hastings is concerned, well, he's just a dinosaur and the people of Florida would be well rid of him. People have been making excuses for him for decades. He represents the old blackfolks who are still afraid of the Klan, for whom the ghosts of lynching still causes night tremors. He needs to get a pistol, shoot Robert Byrd in the head and then turn it on himself.