I watched some of the debate last night on MSNBC and was pretty disgusted with the gall of Tim Russert’s “Farrakhan” question. Mostly because it made absolutely no sense and seemed to only serve the purpose of reinforcing the giant crazy black Muslim meme the Right and some in the press want to wrap Obama.
I don’t get Tim Russert. Farrakhan? Seriously? Are you going to track down every person with a specious past who vaguely notes that Obama seems like a nice guy and whack Obama over the head with them? This would be different if Obama was cozying up to Farrakhan, calling him up all the time, and taking pictures with him eating bean pies, plastered on the front of the Final Call. But, um, he isn’t! And no one asks any Republican candidates to dump their resident loony toons. They only get in trouble when they get too close to them, like that Cunningham guy who blew up in John McCain’s face Tuesday.
But last time I checked, Farrakhan wasn’t opening up an event for Obama. Farrakhan is not on the stump with Obama. He’s not one of Obama’s advisers. They don’t even know each other. So why was this question brought up if only for a “gotcha” television moment? This question wasn’t about Obama, it was about Russert and his ego.
And about racism.
This is just a glimmer, a portent, of what’s to come. Farrakhan is a divisive, even hated figure among most American whites and Jews. Black people either like him or don’t really think that much of him at all. (Often it depends on your views of Islam or if you think the Nation of Islam was behind Malcolm X’s assassination.) But picking fights with Obama over points like these are part of a larger effort to get Obama to distance himself from black people while prejudicing the white people against him at the same time.
It’s started with the “not black enough” garbage, then warmed up to the Muslim boondoggle, that lead to “Obama’s church is lead by a crazy black nationalist”, followed by “State of the Black Union-gate” which bumped up to the “denounce and repudiate Farrahkan” question.
They will try to paint the most mainstream of men in the colors of a “scary,” black radical Muslim until Obama is covered in a red, black and green “Kill Whitey” flag. And they are going to make him denounce everything about black people that is deemed imprudent or bad. By the time this is done they’ll be calling for him to account for and denounce Jesse n’ Al, Dick Gregory, Kanye West, “gangster rappers”, Black History Month, the NAACP Image Awards, the NAACP, the Black Congressional Caucus, Chuck D., Nat Turner, Kwanzaa, BET, black Greek letter organizations, Dave Chappelle, pastors who claim Jesus was a black man and your grandparents who still toss around the slur “peckerwood” a lot.
The goal is to weaken Obama. It’s to make him blacker than black to scare off whites. To get black people to reject him as he’s forced to reject the people and organizations, the culture black people value.
Well, I’m assuming all this effort must be for the white people because black people have seen this before. It happens whenever a black person runs for office locally and nationally. The black candidate is forced to run the gauntlet of throwing other blacks and black organizations under the bus while trying to get them to still limp to the polls for them afterwards. Black people know this and are prepared for the variety of litmus tests and repudiations of old anti-semitic men and “scary” black nationalist groups. Unlike Cunningham and McCain, I doubt Farrakhan will say anything at all. Obama wants to get elected. Black people want to see him get elected, therefore black folks are not going to get in the way. That’s why people jumped all over Tavis, he didn’t get the “get out of the way” memo. No one wants to hurt Barack’s campaign. We know Barack is a black man. We know he loves and supports his people. We’d love it if he came to the event, but everyone but Tavis seemed to understand why he really couldn’t be there.
So while it annoys my mother every time Barack has to “denounce” some marginal figure in the African American diaspora, I don’t really care. Throw Farrakhan under the bus if it means you’ll get elected. Just don’t forget about the rest of us black folk once you get there.
Goodness. How many more months do we have of this?