(Page 2 of 2)
The politicians themselves, like many of their fellow parishioners, may not embrace the inflammatory rhetoric, but they tolerate it. Those outside the pews of black churches, however, won’t let them off the hook for doing so.
As a result, black politicians must coyly distance themselves from the rhetoric of their supporters without going so far as to break with them. It’s difficult to have a Sister Souljah moment when that person isn’t a smack talking rapper, but an influential supporter.Obama attempted this in Philadelphia last March with his speech on race relations. While arguing that “I can no more disown [Rev. Wright] than I can disown the black community,” he actually did so throughout the entire speech. All it did was lead to backlash from Wright and his fellow clergymen, along with criticism from Obama’s archrival, Hillary Clinton, and pundits.
This balancing is especially problematic for the emerging younger, more centrist generation of black politicians, who prefer to focus on improving schools, economic conditions, and ending unwed parenthood than to dwell on matters of race and sex. It’s difficult to offer a different vision when old-school clerics view such ideas with disdain.
A key Obama supporter, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, faced this opposing problem two years ago during his successful gubernatorial bid. Ministers in such black clergy groups such as the Black Ministerial Alliance of Greater Boston complained that his eschewing of old-style race-baiting and support for gay marriage were too far out of the black mainstream. As a result, the former Clinton administration appointee reached out beyond the churches and outside the black community in order to win office.
Younger black politicians, learning the lessons from Obama’s experience, may have to go even further than Patrick in breaking with these clerics, even at the expense of being accused of racial betrayal. The growth of Latinos, Asians and even whites in once solidly-black districts may also help force black politicians to look outward. Either way, it will be a hard transition.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?