For the first time since Jesse Jackson burst onto the national scene, a black man gets to play the role of American demagogue. This is powerful. This is alluring. This suggests something greater than politics; it suggests that our society is finally moving beyond social hierarchies left over from a shared history of slavery.
But I ask, is it progress?
Consider that Obama's chief opponent is Alan Keyes. Forgetting for a moment that Keyes has no substantial ties to Illinois, and that he seems to have inserted himself into the race merely for the purposes of self-advertisement, it is worth noting that his conservative value system - particularly his belief in school prayer, as well as his opposition to abortion and homosexual unions - is shared by a majority of the black voting public.
Keyes' real problem is this: He is a black Republican who has forcefully challenged the liberal theology that conditions all blacks to regard themselves as victims. For this he is labeled and disparaged by the Democrats - and the civil rights leaders they carry in tow - as a race traitor.
Meanwhile, Obama, who espouses a different value system than a large plurality of the black voting populace, is heralded as a symbol of racial progress.
Again, I can't help but wonder: Is reflexively voting for someone who does not share your value system really progress?