Will The Clinton Holdouts Derail Obama’s March?

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[Speaking Truth To Power: Election 2008]


So now that the Clintons have declared their support for Senator Barack Obama, the question is: will those 18 million Americans who supported Senator Clinton vote for Obama in November?

On consecutive nights, both Clintons delivered stirring speeches in endorsing Senator Obama as the best choice to be America's next president. Both made it clear to those18 million voters that the time had come to heal the Democratic Party and move forward. But will those voters, many of whom are women, vote for Obama?

Presently, some polls indicate that 25 percent of these Clinton voters have vowed to support McCain. How people who claim to be Democrats that believe in Senator Clinton's agenda could vote for McCain is truly stunning. What the hell are these people thinking?

Some of these women have advanced the argument that Senator Clinton was denied the nomination because she's a woman. This notion is absurd. Senator Clinton lost this election because she underestimated the angst of the voters; and worse of all, she was totally unaware of a shining star in her own party.

While Obama was using the people skills he honed as a community organizer to make himself a more viable and authentic candidate, she was caught napping. That's why she lost; period.

Yes, there is no question this country has a sexist history, as well as a racist one. This week marked the eighty-eighth anniversary of women's suffrage. American women do endure severe male prejudice. They don't receive equal pay to white men and are often subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace, among other things.

But who created this racist, sexist, patriarchal system in America?

African-Americans were only allowed to vote nationally after the passing of the August 1965 Voting Rights Act of President Lyndon Johnson. Many brave people fought for that democratic right. More than a few had their bones and bodies broken. Some even had their lives taken. Today, Black males are still the most despised and oppressed people in America, and are frequent targets of police brutality and murder.

Therefore, the idea that white Americans, who are the overwhelming majority, would prefer a Black man to a white woman is offensive to some. Have these people forgotten the main reason untold thousands of Black men were lynched and had their testicles removed during the Jim Crow Era? Geraldine Ferraro's racist comments are partly responsible for the historical amnesia and idiocy behind this foolish rubbish.

Remember, Ferraro said: "If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position. And if he was a woman he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept." 

Unfortunately, no-one in "mainstream media" adequately challenge Ferraro's racist babble. Instead, while Rev. Wright was being crucified, Ferraro was given a pass because she supposedly was a friend of the Civil Rights Movement. Malcolm X warned us about our "liberal friends" and their closeted bigotry.

Ferraro's comments were definitely divisive; for, she articulated this racist notion and some of these women seem to have found that acceptable. Make no mistake about it; most of this calumny regarding Obama is rooted in racism. Ironically, many of these same women fail to realize that the sexism which they have battled was built by white men of privilege like John McCain.

Don't Ferrara and these women remember that the Civil Rights Movement helped many white women win significant victories? Doesn't Affirmative Action legislation benefit them dramatically more than Blacks, allowing many to sit in positions of power they never had before? Affirmative Action is the original brainchild of James Farmer, founder of the Congress of Racial Equality. Is John McCain who voted against a national holiday for Dr. King going to advance their issues?

The disappointment these women feel for Clinton’s loss is understandable. But are they so vengeful that they would vote against Obama and contribute to throwing this country into a deeper sewer than the one we now find ourselves in? Do they think a Republican White House will fight for their rights?

If the Clinton backers help to elect McCain and Roe v. Wade gets overturned, how will they explain that to their daughters and granddaughters? McCain has said that he wouldn't "bailout" Americans losing their homes in the mortgage crisis, although he was one of the Keating Five whose "bailout" cost taxpayers around $125 billion. But why should he care, since he has more homes than he can count.

Some are trying to hide their racism behind the empty charge that Obama isn't "experienced" enough. Some time ago, before "judgment" became the buzzword, I stated that the "experience" charge was bogus and that "judgment" was a more essential virtue.

When politicians talk about "experience" what they are really talking about is longevity in Washington. Longevity doesn't denote competence, prudence or excellence.  Isn't it the "experienced" people who got us into this awful mess domestically and overseas?

And if "experience" doesn't afford one better "judgment," or prudence, then what good is "experience" anyway? There are some things that are innate that no amount of "experience" can give you; and those include foresight and leadership.

Obama best embodies those ideals and the hope of those who stood up for the rights of Blacks and minorities, including all women.

Hillary's white supporters should stand up for those same principles with Obama.



Colin Benjamin is a member of The Black Star News’s Editorial Board


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