Here’s the Catch 22 of last week. If the Clintons say anything politically incorrect about Obama, their liberal friends may label them as closet racists. If they allow themselves to be muzzled by fear, Obama will continue to ride the moment of fluff and flowery words. In essence, they would give him a free pass. What Hillary needs to do is simply campaign in a clear, above-board fashion. She has to attack the flaws in Obama’s narrative about change, despite cries from reverse racists in her party. Fear of a black backlash will shipwreck her campaign. She cannot win without black support; on the other hand she will not maintain the respect of American women if she lets him box her in.
The unfairness of this situation is that Obama can put down Hillary’s experience and allude to dishonesty and insincerity, but any response from her can be seen as race baiting. This is certainly not Martin Luther King, Jr’s dream. This is a form of subtle race based, cultural manipulation.
Obama himself could stop this race baiting, if he spoke up. Such an act would give him the upper hand in the ultimate political exchange. He would truly be the candidate of change. However, if he stands back and says nothing; he allows the kind of divisiveness that he speaks out against to flourish.
The polls say that Americans are willing to elect a black man or a white woman as the president of the U.S. These statistics are encouraging in terms of social change. The ultimate question is whether our citizens will actually elect a black man, a white woman, or one of the other candidates. In the utopian America of the future, race and gender will never be deciding factors in an election. In the meantime, “How much change do we really want? “
Bishop Harry Jackson is chairman of the High Impact Leadership Coalition and senior pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, MD, and co-authored, Personal Faith, Public Policy [FrontLine; March 2008] with Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.