At least a year ago, my brother-in-music the General, in discussion of Barack versus Hillary, said something that really struck me. I was ranting about how I didn't much like Hillary (still liked her better than Bill, of course) because of her inside-the-Beltway ties, perspectives, and, especially, scumbag campaign managers. I expressed that I preferred Obama's background, and the chance, after 400 years, of voting a black man into the highest office in the land. But, like a lot of the DFH's who have been appalled and nauseated by the high crimes and misdemeanors of the war criminals and sociopaths of the Bush II administration, I doubted whether Barack could be tough enough to take on the entrenched powers. I wanted him to: I wanted a candidate who would rip the hearts out of those criminals and feast on their bones. But I didn't know if he could do it--I couldn't see him being as ferocious as I thought the circumstances demanded.
My buddy said, "Look, he's a black man running for President of the United States. He can't be as fierce--he can't even use the same vocabulary or tone--as a white candidate." And I sort of got that: I got that a black man who used the ferocity I wanted would, in the context of a nation whose guilt and paranoia over what was done to Africans on this continent is still utterly present, be too easily damned, dismissed, or attacked as "just another angry N*****." And I want that: I want fuckin' Malcolm X assaulting the towers of privilege which those old white fuckers have erected.
But you can't govern if you can't get elected. And the General's view was that, in order to get elected, Barack had to be about six times cooler than a white candidate in exactly the same position.
And you know what? I believe the General--a Missouri native who knows how white folks think about black folks--was absolutely dead-on right. And I also believe that Barack, and his people, know that, and have known that, and run their entire campaign--easily the most flawless presidential campaign I can remember in my lifetime--with that in mind.
And the result has been that, one after another, the rich white folks who've gone up against him, whose grasp of the lives of ordinary Americans is inarguably weaker than that of a single-parented black community organizer, have torn themselves to bits--have crashed up against that icy-cool impassivity, that unflappable focus, clarity, and calm, and shown themselves to be the paranoid, entitled, privileged, out-of-touch oligarchs that they are.
You know what was the difference between the two in that "three strikes and you're out," "final nail in the coffin of the Republican party," debate? It was the difference between an old, angry, elitist, privileged, white man who's never had to guard what he says (witness his comment to his wife "at least I don't plaster on the makeup like a trollop, you c***!")--and a smart, young, tough, up-from-the-working-class black man, who's always had to.
And the black man's going to win. Because he deserves to--because he's smart enough, tough enough, quick enough, and cool enough. This is who I want sitting down opposite Putin, or Sarkozy, or any of those other strutting peacocks of which W was only the most obviously egocentric, incompetent, under-equipped, and destructive.