A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Elephant in the Room Squirms

Within the last week, a new book about the 2008 Presidential election, Game Changes, caused quite a stir among the policy wonks inside the Beltway. The book sounds like it is an exhaustive survey of both parties quest for the White House. There’s plenty of dirt to dish around here!

Among the highlights: more than one point of misunderstanding between Barack Obama and running mate Joe Biden; John McCain’s misgivings about the direction of his campaign; potential Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton suspecting Obama of cheating to get the nomination; Bill Clinton acting like a plantation owner in the antebellum South; and McCain running mate Sarah Palin giving everyone the impression that she was a political idiot.

Well, it’s two years later and my, how times have changed! Obama is President and getting along with Biden. McCain has abandoned his pledge to support Obama in the spirit of bipartisanship and resembles the back bench bomb thrower that Newt Gingrich used to be. Hillary is cementing her legacy as Secretary of State, while husband Bill is helping with the Haitian earthquake disaster. And, of course, Sarah Palin is still giving everyone the impression that she is a political idiot.

The most startling revelation from the book involved Majority Senate Leader Harry Reid's assertion that Obama could win because he is a “light-skinned” African American “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.” The quote set off a firestorm of protest from Republicans who cried for his resignation, and a round of apologies from Reid to Obama and to every major African American leader within shouting distance. Strangely, everyone who could have been offended by the remark accepted his apology, and Republicans were robbed of gaining political points from a poorly worded assessment about Obama’s chances.

Unfortunately Reid’s sentiment points to a still ugly truth about race relations in the United States. This is indeed the elephant in the room that we try to ignore but can’t. The elephant was with the Founding Fathers in Philadelphia and it’s alive and well today in so-called post racial America.

Reid’s comments are — dare I say it — accepted as political common sense that could be supported by reams of empirical data in countless exit voter polls. It’s sad, but most likely true characteristic of human nature: an articulate light skinned African American would be more readily acceptable to voters than a darker skinned African American.

Let’s be very honest with each other here. Prejudice between members of the same race can and does exist. News flash, people: not all white people like all other white people just because they are white! We can’t solve our race problem until we acknowledge how widespread and insidious bigotry really is.

Words can hurt, but words can also heal. Actions are the greatest remedy for all of human nature’s follies and foibles. Today, we honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who dedicated his life through words and actions to lift up the African American community so that American society as a whole could move forward.

Now, having written all this, I hope I don’t have the same trouble that Senator Reid had with his comments. I hope the elephant in the room doesn’t squirm and roll over on top of m-...ow! Ow! OW! It’s on my foot! Get it off! GET IT OFF!

(Thank you for reading. Please remember to do the right thing today...and always!)


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