Sunday, October 26, 2008

Obama, the Election and Threats of Violence

It is with reluctance that I bring up this topic at election time. There has been discussion of the prospect of unrest and even rioting if Barack Obama is not elected. I live in an area where enthusiasm for Obama is very high. I understand the excitement generated by the possibility of an African American becoming president. Every child should be able to aspire to the presidency or any other lofty position if he or she is resolute and hard working.

I do not take lightly the threat of riots. I have lived through them before. My windows were broken and several of my friends suffered serious physical injury. Two people were killed during the Crown Heights riots. There was millions of dollars in property damage. As frightening as the Crown Heights riots were, they paled in significance next to the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles, in which fifty people were killed.

I take the threat of riots seriously. I take it personally. Barack Obama raised a million dollars for a candidate in Kenya who claimed to be related to him. He had a personal liason in his Senate office to Raila Odinga, who narrowly lost. During "protests" , fifteen hundred people were killed and eight hundred churches were burned. I am sure Obama is troubled by the violence perpetrated by supporters of Raila Odinga, for whom he campaigned and raised funds. I only wish he would vigourously repudiate any talk of unrest in the event of an Obama loss . Odinga, Obama's man in Kenya urged his followers to protest the results of the Kenyan election count. Did he know where it would eventually lead? Thousands were injured and homeless, as well as hundreds killed

I could give in and vote for Obama out of fear. I will not do so . I am not motivated by any bravery but by simple calculations. I do not want to be a hostage to Barack Obama's physical safety. There has been one presidential assassination in my lifetime and two major attempts, on Presidents Ford and Reagan. Such despicable acts are an attack upon the entire American people, regardless of who they voted for. The law of the land gives recognition to this, severely punishing even the utterance of a threat against the President or a candidate for that office.

There has been talk of violence if Obama is not elected. I have little doubt that any attempt on his life, G-d forbid would trigger widespread bloodshed, as did the assassination of Martin Luther King. Even angry protests against Obama and his policies could aggravate racial tension.

Those of us who live together in big cities with many African Americans , Jews and other minorities want a peaceful day to day working relationship. We don't want our dreams to go up in smoke. Unfortunately, there are racial supremacists of all ethnicities who see something to be gained from racial violence.

I do not blame Obama himself for introducing the spectre of violence into talk of a McCain victory. After the Supreme court declared George W. Bush the victor in his first term, talk was rampant that he was not the "real president", that Al Gore was really president. The erosion of the idea of loyal opposition and distrust of America's political institutions is the first step towards a slippery slide that can easily descend into civil strife.

If Obama is defeated, there will be a brief interlude of anger and disappointment among his supporters. This is a part of every hotly contested election.
Unfortunately, talk of unrest in the event of an Obama defeat is widespread. To me it reeks of extortion. It is as disgraceful for a voter to give into fear as it is for a juror. I will not buckle. Furthermore, I do not want to be held hostage for Obama's physical safety. There is little doubt that after an Obama victory there would be four years of anxiety in our violent and polarised society and in our troubled times. I would have no problem voting for a President who happens to be African American. There have been many such figures in American politics. Unfortunately, Obama has made himself into an icon, and as such a focus for political passions. That was his decision and not mine. That is why I am voting for John McCain.

On the threat of post election violence

4 comments:

mfl said...

UNCLEAR:
I would have no problem voting for a President who happens to be African American. There have been many such figures in American politics. Don't most politicians mkr themselves into icons somehow? If he repudiated violence, then he would be spreading fear to people that it is a possibility, G-d forbid.

Magdeburger Joe said...

Thank you for reminding me I bear a tiny portion of guilt for helping Pol Pot take power in Cambodia through taking part in the anti war movement. I will forever be ashamed of this.
Obama raised a million dollars for Raila Odinga, who urged on violent protests in which 1500 were killed and tens of thousands left homeless. There has been open talk of angry protests if the election is not won by Obama. He has Kenyan blood on his hands as surely as I do Cambodian blood on mine for supporting and propagandising for an evil movement. He has every duty to persue a peaceful political process. I could not disagree with you more thoroughly.

DBXRudy said...

I would rather have my country represented by a figurehead such as a war hero a noble soldier who (for once) is actually capable of qualifying for the job. he is the only candidate that actually fits he perfect mold of everything a president should be. A role model for the children and someone we respect rather than make fun of is who I want to lead...not some guy willing to play the race card and slide in to the most prestiegous position in the world on affirmative action. We have made this entire electoral process a mockery of what the role is. We are showing the rest of the world that we dont deserve the excellence we worked so hard to achieve. I just can't understand how we have allowed ourselves to become so naive. thanks....

DBXRudy said...

I would rather have my country represented by a figurehead such as a war hero a noble soldier who (for once) is actually capable of qualifying for the job. he is the only candidate that actually fits he perfect mold of everything a president should be. A role model for the children and someone we respect rather than make fun of is who I want to lead...not some guy willing to play the race card and slide in to the most prestiegous position in the world on affirmative action. We have made this entire electoral process a mockery of what the role is. We are showing the rest of the world that we dont deserve the excellence we worked so hard to achieve. I just can't understand how we have allowed ourselves to become so naive. thanks....