Part I, Recriminations or Riots?
by Scott L. Vanatter
What if Obama loses in November? Let’s review three areas of inquiry.
1. Will there be racial recriminations, even riots? (See below.)
3. Will he run for president again? If so, when?
If Obama loses, will there be racial recriminations?
On election night someone somewhere in the liberal media will posit that the GOP ran a racist campaign. To them, in retrospect and by definition, the country is still obviously racist. Else how could Obama have lost? This line-of-attack will carry over as a line of attack against the new GOP administration.
However, since Jackie Robinson, every passing decade shows that America continues to make significant strides in becoming a post-racial nation. Obama presidency goes a long way in showing this. While some individuals may well retain vestiges of hateful, outdated attitudes, the vast majority of Americans on the left and right have moved far beyond anything like previous years’ overt or hidden racism.
Note: Racial accusations are not being discussed very much by the mainstream media during these final stages of the campaign. Not yet. Unconnected to any formal commentary by liberal commentators, some Americans, black and otherwise, may still persist in the idea that Obama will have lost because America is (still) racist. This is an article of faith with them, even though America also elected Obama.
If Obama loses, will there be riots?
Perhaps somewhere some small group of unemployed youth, black and otherwise, may cause a bit of havoc. While Thomas Sowell discussed this last week on the Larry Elder radio show, this idea has not been discussed very much by the mainstream media. I do not anticipate wide scale riots as in case of Rodney King. I could be wrong. If there are no riots, or just a few small isolated incidents, an interesting discussion will be why riots did not materialize. Another challenge for liberal commentators and their listeners will be to finally grasp that America has passed an obvious, positive tipping point in becoming a post-racial nation.
In 1947 Jackie Robinson became the first black baseball player in Major League Baseball. Recently George Will wrote about how in 1975 Frank Robinson, one of the great players in major league history (multiple time All-Star, MVP in both the NL and AL, a Triple Crown winner, a World Series MVP, and member of the Hall of Fame) was hired as the first black manager in the majors. Robinson was fired just two years later. Will’s point was that Robinson being both hired then fired for lack of results shows that American had progressed to a point of treating a black manger with just as much dispatch as a white manager. No special treatment is due or needed. By the way, Robinson went on to be hired as manager by other teams, gaining valuable experience. In fact, over ten years later in 1989 he was named Manager of the Year for turning around the Baltimore Orioles. Once again baseball led the country in being color blind, in hiring, firing, and hiring again. Based on concrete accomplishments, not just color.
The Elephant in the Room
In 2008 the GOP mascot was the only elephant in the news. Here in 2012 there is an invisible elephant in the room. It is the mostly un-discussed factor of how Obama’s race will impact the outcome of the election.
Way back in the 2008 presidential campaign the issue of race was much debated. Much more so than this round. This should be seen as evidence that content of character trumps color of skin. Questions discussed in 2008 included: Would Obama have gotten the huge jump start he received in the primaries if he was not black? Would he have ended up beating the Clinton Machine if he was not black? Would he have been elected president if he was not black? Some on the left said yes, he would have been nominated and elected if he was born to two white parents. The strength of his ideas and energy would have carried the day.
Even posing these questions is problematic. The fact is, he is black. This is part of the equation. It cannot be divorced from his and our reality. The Hope he described cannot be separated from the fortunate circumstances of color of his skin. This aspect was part and parcel of his message. He personified the Change the country needed. He made his case. The country agreed. A great milestone was achieved.
Recall the very beginning of the 2008 primary, before some of Hillary’s early supporters caught the vision and abandoned her in favor of Obama. There was extant a question as to whether Obama was “black enough.” This was answered in the affirmative. He is black enough. Strange, though, that this question was of concern only to those who are into identity politics. In other words, liberal ideologue Democrats (not Republicans).
Also curious, though not surprising, is the timing of Obama’s choosing to go by his full legal name, rather than the nickname (Barry) he used growing up. Of course, he is not the only college graduate to revert to being known professionally by their more formal full name. Obama was fortunate to ride the crest of a unique and dynamic racially-charged environment all the way into the Senate, to vault over the Clinton Machine into the Presidency.
With the worst recovery in modern history, and recent developments foreign policy, the crest he rode into office has long ago subsided. His ride into the future depends much more on concrete achievement than on the fortunate combination of the perfect storm of identity politics and a financial crisis. By the way, the Federal government’s “fix” for this crisis had already been put into play prior to Obama taking office. Obama’s future, and potential, now depends as much on the content of his accomplishments as the content of his character.