Since 9/11, race in America has become less of an issue. Many Americans have come to realize that our enemies hate all Americans. However, there are those that will go to any extreme to keep America divided along racial lines. It is how they get their power, relevance and financial resources. These racial hustlers model themselves as the high priests of blackness.
Lately, the high priests have been particularly outspoken in their opposition to the war.
Jesse Jackson voiced outrage over the war and called for "a war on poverty, not a war on the poor." Al Sharpton accused the Bush administration of putting its thirst for oil above "the interest of the people." Presidential candidate Carol Moseley Braun plans to make her opposition to the war the centerpiece of her campaign. David Bositis, senior political analyst at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, a think tank that focuses on black issues, told the Washington Times that Bush "is not likely to get black support for something like this (the war)." Bositis cited a pervasive distrust for the Bush administration amongst black voters. Cliff Kelley, a black host on Chicago's WVON-AM, even went so far as to say that the vast majority of blacks are against the war. Nine out of 10 of the callers on his radio show oppose the war, said Kelley in a Washington Times interview.
These are the headliners of the civil rights movement. They are our torchbearers in the dark. And if you listen to them, you begin to get the impression that they speak for black America when they declare their opposition to the war. This is how they make a living and stir racial tensions, by touting the same tired rhetoric that keeps blacks pumping their fists at the establishment. They want American blacks to believe that the government is ignoring their concerns. They want American blacks to believe that they are forever victims.
But the war on Iraq cannot be distilled into racial rhetoric. It is about securing the well-being of all Americans. That is why many American blacks actually support the war. In fact, a recent Washington Post/ABC News poll found that 49 percent of blacks backed the war. Another study by the Pew Research Center found that 44 percent of blacks favored war.
For obvious reasons, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton ignore these numbers. They claim to speak for the overwhelming majority. Their speeches are studded with the term "we," referring to blacks. With weighty indignation they wonder aloud what stake "we" have in this struggle. They insinuate that the Bush administration is more concerned with foreign oil than with domestic policy (nice bumper sticker material). In not so subtle terms, they do what they always do - distill complex issues into some form of race baiting. The public is bombarded with this bourgeois view that blacks cannot trust Republicans.
To be sure, their fist-pumping rhetoric does solicit some knee-jerk reactions amongst black voters, but they hardly speak for all of us. Quite a few black Americans are deeply sensible to the fact that our enemies do not distinguish between race when they plot attacks on American interests. The Sept. 11 hijackers did not aim their planes just at white people. For them, it was enough that they were killing Americans and, perhaps, fracturing those social patterns that keep us huddled together as a coherent society.
One has to be pretty egotistical not to realize this.
Yet, even as America comes together to face its enemies united, there is Jesse Jackson plastered all over our television sets, insinuating that black America has no stake in this war.
But the crude fact is that our enemies hate us all.
That alone makes this our war.