Sunday, November 9, 2008

Grudging Congratulations To Obama From A Brooklyn Conservative

It is going to be rare for me to put in a good word for Barack Obama. I am relishing the role of social critic. Perhaps I am temperamentally suited to being in the opposition. But I will give the man grudging credit for providing the building blocks of an image, an extremely important image.

Barack Obama is a married man. He speaks with obvious tenderness of his two daughters. I do not believe in his political platform. But I am doggedly clinging to the image he projects. Let me explain.

I live in a precinct that is about 90% African American. I have lived here for almost thirty years. I have seen the toddlers and infants who grew up here raise families, not always with the benefit of clergy. During the crack epidemic, I saw heart rending posters with the caption “Mommy come home!”

When my oldest boy was a toddler, a neighbour’s child threw a bottle at him. It was the sort of incident that brings parents together against their will. I did a little detective work, deciphered my son’s account and spoke to the boy’s parents as they were coming up the walk.

“Are you Martin’s parents?” I asked.

The mother stepped forward, and the man receded discreetly to the background. We settled the matter amicably and remained good neighbours. To this day, I remember nothing of the conversation so well as the man stepping back. How many times did the boy grow up seeing that? What imprint did it leave on his psyche? And what model did it form for familial relationships in his future? My son has grown, married and brought us a grandchild. What became of our neighbour’s child?

The pimp has become a role model in the African American community. It is a predatory role model that reduces half of the human race to chattel. I have seen real pimps. I have seen the violence that travels in the wake of drug dealing erupt into shooting. One of my children saw a shooting in real life before he witnessed it on television. There was no musical soundtrack. The camera did not zero in at dramatic angles. It happens and the reality sinks in that you are not watching a movie.

There is a persistent problem of peer pressure among African Americans. Boys are pressured not to do well in school. Good grades and correct grammar are often seen as “acting white”. For this reason, there are many more African American women in university than men.

Barack Obama finished college. He married. He worked his way up in the system. There are certain gifts in rising in an organisation and in politics. I disagree with Obama. I will fight him politically. But he used his gifts well. I would have preferred a Thomas Sowell to be the role model of African American success.

Click here to read my complete article on The American Sentinel

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