Obama's Presidential Moment

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[Elections 2008: Black Star News Editorial]


If Senator Barack Obama wins the White House, his confrontation today with a group of young Black men in Florida may turn out to have been be a decisive moment in this campaign.

The young men challenged Obama today at an appearance in St. Petersburg, Florida; they  claimed he had not sufficiently spoken out against "attacks" on the Black community. The exchange became a golden opportunity for the Democratic presidential candidate to assume the high road again in the race for the White House.

Just yesterday Senator John McCain has falsely accused Obama of “playing the race card” when the Senator correctly pointed out that Republicans, short of ideas on how to resolve the problems they’ve created, would resort to scare mongering.

After the young men disrupted his speech today, Senator Obama paused and treated them  respectfully. He urged the three men who were holding a banner and heckling Obama to sit down, not to disrupt the entire event, and told them he would address their concerns during a Q and A session.

When Senator Obama returned to the young men, one of them spoke about the New York police murder of Sean Bell, the unarmed young African American killed on the day he was to have been married, the Jena Six case, the hurricane Katrina aftermath debacle, and the foreclosures arising from the subprime mortgage meltdown, which the young man said deliberately disproportionately affected Blacks and Latinos.

"All these attacks are clearly being made on the African community," the young man said. "Why is it that that you have not spoken to the issues or spoken on behalf of the African community?"

Obama responded that, he had, indeed, addressed all these issues--which he has, as a Google search will confirm.

"That doesn't mean I'm always going to satisfy the way you guys want me to talk, which gives you the option of voting for someone else, which gives you the option of running for office yourself," Obama added. "But the one thing that is important is that we're respectful toward each other."

He also pointed out that he had been a civil rights attorney; the best part of it was that he remained calm and collected throughout. The imagery was also remarkable; with a largely White audience cheering the Black candidate who was being heckled by young Black men.

“What about the Black community? What about the Black community?” the young Black men shouted.

“Yes, we can! Yes, we can!” the audience retorted.

The moment could not have been better scri pted for Obama, showing him standing up to young Black radicals whose organization they said was called the "International African Revolution"; the name could not have been a better gift for Obama—recently McCain, ever more desperate, claimed Obama was a “socialist.”

At the end of the day, as Obama pointed out, African Americans, Latinos, Whites, Native Americans, Asians, gays, straights, elderly and young, are all going to have to work together to address the daunting challenges that now face this nation----the Republican created economic meltdown, the energy crises, and the disastrous and costly Iraq war.

The McCain false race-card accusation will now become history.

To see the confrontation please see:




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