Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Guess Who is Running for President

1967 – The Civil Rights Movement had been in high gear for 15 years. A movie, "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" was released. It's plot involves a white family whose progressive politics are shaken up when their young daughter falls in love with an African-American. The makers of the film wanted to confront the racism that exists even among northerners who supported the struggle for integration in the South. In order to do this, they made the African-American impossibly perfect. First, they cast Sidney Poitier. Gorgeous! He graduated with highest honors from very prestigious universities. He was a medical doctor who had already started contributing his energies and skills to helping people in the third world. He refused to have pre-marital sex with his very willing fiancĂ©. He even left a couple of dollars near the parent's phone to repay them for a long distance call he made. Perfect. Yet, the father was opposed to his daughter's relationship. He just could not get over the fact that the "impossibly perfect" boy friend is Black.

Forty-one years later, white people face another test. There is a Black man running for President. He seems to be almost impossibly perfect. He rose from humble beginnings. He is young, athletic, and vital. He and his almost impossibly perfect wife have been married for nineteen years without a hint or scandal. He graduated at the top of his class from very prestigious universities. He taught Constitutional Law at the University of Chicago for twelve years. He chose to work to empower unemployed steelworkers and their families in tough streets of South Chicago. He devoted his life to public service rather than follow the typical path of someone with his resume and get rich quick.

The USA is in horrible shape. The gap between rich and poor is greater than it has been since the robber barons of the nineteenth century. The rich's greed has led to the housing crises, the crises in health care, the crises in unemployment, the crises in trade, the crises in energy, crises in the life and death issue of war and peace.

The Black man should be leading in the polls by a lot. But he is not.

It can't be because people think his opponent has a better program. Eighty percent of the people in fact, believe the Black man's program is better than the white man's.

The people do not believe the white man stands for change. Especially when this white man touts his 90% support of the incumbents policies.

So why isn't Obama running away with the election? How can it be that McCain might actually win and subject us to more of the same?

Is it that large numbers of white people are like the father in "Guess
Who's Coming to Dinner" and just can't get over the fact that our "impossibly perfect" candidate is Black?