Monday, August 25, 2008

But If Not


Another great sermon from Dr. King about principle - entitled "But If Not". (you can listen to the entire audio stream, or you can allow the audio to load and fast forward to the speech at the 32:08 mark ).

Listen Here

There is an extreme juxtaposition between the two men above.... one was principled, and the other goes with the direction of the wind....too often choosing whatever is politically expedient.

This is why I don't really have a sense of who Barack Obama is. He has no ideological or political center of gravity whatsoever. He has wavered so much in the last several months, that it is hard to find his core. Does he even have one? That might be a better question. After two years of campaigning, I still don't know what he stands for. And where's the authenticity? I am having a hard time finding that too. In what direction does his moral compass point? All of this goes hand-in-hand with "principle" and ideological center of gravity or core beliefs.

I don't want to be introduced and reintroduced to this man's family members at the DNC Dog and Pony show this week. That's not going to tell me anything about who Barack Obama is and what he stands for. It might provide a superficial glimpse of a man following a role... but it won't show me the true heart of the man. That's not going to tell me what he plans to do with the Country - in detail. That's not going to tell me what his position is (his real position) on peace/war, where he plans to take U.S. foreign policy, what he plans to do to help the poor, and how he plans to pay for his ambitious domestic platform....what he plans to do to improve urban America, what he plans to do to create more affordable housing, what he plans to do about opening access to higher education, exactly how he plans to reform government, and more.... Only Barack Obama can accomplish this.

I thought I had a sense of who Obama was.... but his constant shape-shifting to fit in and his waffling on so many issues (issues that should allow for clear decisions for a Progressive) has shown me otherwise. Obama has to show a little more substance if he wants to redeem himself with the growing number of Progressives who have become disenchanted.... The magic potion is wearing off. The grand (but often empty) speeches will no longer get the job done, at least not for me.

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Previous MLK/Obama Post - The Drum Major Instinct

Shelby Steele's Comments on Obama

6 comments:

Truthiz said...

@AI...Another "on-time" speech for the Ages by Dr. King!

The differences between Barack Obama and Dr. King couldn’t be more stark, in terms of the men, their mission and committment to championing the cause of the common man.

Simply put, Obama is a politician. Dr. King was not.

Dr. King was a “real” leader of substance in every sense of the word. Obama is not.

Yet, I’m also reminded that Dr. King had his share of critics as well and many of them were Black-Americans.

Dr. King had NO problem defining him-self, regardless of the cost, which gave everyone a clear sense of the man, what he believed in, what he stood for, was willing to fight and , if need be, even die for.

Obama has shown none of those qualities, thus far, which, is quite troubling indeed.

Nevertheless, Americans will face this choice in November:

Vote for the old white man who’s on the verge of full-blown dementia, still thinks he’s in combat, and has LOTS of neoCons pals.

Or vote for the young Black guy who appears to have NO “soul” _the man truly is a "blank-slate"_and is committed to Nothing except saying and doing whatever is politically expedient.

What a quandary!

Barack has disappointed on multiple fronts. But as for DNC “Dog and Pony” show:

While it will be, mostly, just that _I can’t dismiss the historical significance of the moment when Barack, being the first Black man to be formally nominated for President by one of the two major political parties in America, stands before the entire nation and the world to formally Accept that nomination.

jurahar said...

Can you imagine at a family reunion take polls and debating which aunt or uncle was better for the family than the other. And is it really unfair to compare the living with our dearly departed. The dead always win, we cherish memories of them and forgive all of these flaws and sins.

I have done some extensive studies on King and he had possibly more critics than Obama has today after all it was the 1950s and 1960s. I don’t make comparisons but if I did it would be Obama and after-the-trip-to –Mecca Malcolm X. And both of my brothers would win.

I believe that the problem with African Americans that challenge and question the candidacy and possibility of the presidency of Barack Obama are afraid to honestly stated their fears.

First, they are worried that he will be caught doing something wrong (remember – a disgrace to the race). Or that he will make a mistake.

Second, They are afraid that Whites will oppose him, even in his own party, and he will be unable to take control as a full commander in chief.

Third, they fear he will abandon the needs and concerns of African Americans and other people of color and become a sell-out.

There is no Saint Barack Obama. I believe he is a politician in a campaign that must address the concerns of all voters. White Americans are electing a president for White Americans, Black Americans and electing a president of Black America, he can’t get elected unless he appeals to everyone and the core of his message does.

Barack Obama is being dissected in minuscule parts that no other politician has been subjected to in recent history. It’s a scandal because the media can’t find a 25-year old thesis/term paper written by Obama as a undergraduate. Look at the incident in Jerusalem with his private prayer being stolen and publicized. And the McCain campaign spins cycle of absolute lies that would not be permitted if Obama was not Black.

I believe Obama is competent, ambitious, and prepared. When I listen to the vast resources of people who are flooding into the Obama campaign to be a part of this movement, like John F. Kennedy’s speechwriter and counselor Ted Sorenson, Dr. Susan Rice (not related to Condoleezza), William Kennard former FCC, Wendy Sherman former Clinton foreign affairs adviser, I am all in. My bet is on Obama.

Truthiz said...

@Jurahar_

I would wholeheartedly agree with your comment IF the word, "some", had been added, because it is true. In "some" cases_perhaps in "most cases", African-Americans who challenge and question Obama's candidacy are motivated by their own unstated fears.

The same was certainly true of many African-Americans who questioned Dr. King in his day.

But it certainly is not true in all cases.

Since the beginning of the primaries, I've often had to remind my family members and friends that Barack does NOT walk-on-water. He's just a politician_a highly intelligent one with some impressive skills and lots of potential. But a politician, nevertheless, who has emerged at a unique time in American history.

For months I've been absolutely frustrated with his inability to clearly "define" himself, give me a sense of who he is as a man; to step-up and take command of the issues, provide straight-forward and specific answers to questions; to wrap those issues around McSenile's neck.

Instead, more often than not Obama serves up a whole lotta nothing except vague rhetoric, broad generalizations on _well, practically any issue.

I've said it before and I'll say again. If Barack "hopes" to win in November, he'd better get UP off his butt, climb down from his perch, put his "shoulders to the wheel" and Get To Work!

An incredibly smart man_a Black man running for POTUS no less_ should know better than to be so d*mn lazy!

To the degree that I "fear" anyone: It's John McSenile and his neCons friends who can't wait to rule this country and try to control the entire world.

You're darn skippy, they scare the h*ll outta me!

The Angry Independent said...

Truthiz....

"The differences between Barack Obama and Dr. King couldn’t be more stark, in terms of the men, their mission and committment to championing the cause of the common man."

You have a way of putting words together that just hits the target with me... I couldn't agree more.

"Yet, I’m also reminded that Dr. King had his share of critics as well and many of them were Black-Americans."

But that's really my point.... I know that Dr. King had a lot of critics... much of that criticism came from those who felt that he should not speak up about his positions on war and U.S. Foreign policy...He should stick to civil rights. But he was principled to such an extent that he did not allow that criticism to change his core....he didn't change his ideological center of gravity to please anyone.

Obama will shape-shift at the drop of a hat to please his financial backers....to please constituencies that he feels are important (like AIPAC)....to please just about anyone. And he's even willing to compromise his core beliefs (if he even has any.... I haven't found any yet).

The man is like a ------- robot... programmable for your convenience to fit any setting.

the young Black guy who appears to have NO “soul” _the man truly is a "blank-slate"_and is committed to Nothing except saying and doing whatever is politically expedient.

Wheewww!!! You said a mouthful with that one.

"No Soul" is exactly right.... that's what I sense when I see/hear Barack Obama. When he waffles, he waffles so much that even his center of gravity seems to switch... That's unusual.

I want to support this man so bad... but I can't. My conscience won't let me.

The Angry Independent said...

Jurahar,

"I have done some extensive studies on King and he had possibly more critics than Obama has today after all it was the 1950s and 1960s."

That's because King was principled and didn't give a flip about pleasing anyone.... not if it meant compromising his core beliefs.

First, they are worried that he will be caught doing something wrong (remember – a disgrace to the race). Or that he will make a mistake.

Second, They are afraid that Whites will oppose him, even in his own party, and he will be unable to take control as a full commander in chief.

Third, they fear he will abandon the needs and concerns of African Americans and other people of color and become a sell-out.


I must be a different kind of negro... because none of these things have been overriding concerns for me. Your second point was somewhat of an issue for me at one point... but it is not necessarily an overriding issue....(you are mistaken if you don't believe Race is a factor in this election). And the other two just aren't factors for me... in fact I would prefer that he NOT BE SEEN as providing special treatment for the "Black Community"... I hope he is able to find a way to improve these communities without being seen as providing special treatment. That would only hurt Obama in the long run... I have stated on this blog many times that I believed that the so-called "Black Community" had unrealistic expectations regarding Obama's ability or willingness to improve their lives. I have stated that he is not some kind of magical messiah... that Blacks must turn to personal responsibility to solve the problems in their own lives and in their own communities.

My concerns about Obama is that he is turning out to be too much like a traditional Democrat...not a true "change" candidate. To me, "Change" has to mean something more than a guy with brown skin taking office. It has to be deeper than that. I want to see "change" in terms of fundamental policies. Change in long-term strategy. "change" in the vision for the Country. A "change" in the traditional foreign policy approach of the Country.

Obama has not offered much substance in any of these areas....just rhetoric.

"I believe Obama is competent, ambitious, and prepared."

And I have not argued otherwise. That's not the angle of my argument at all... I welcome an intelligent, competent President for a change.

My question is... competent and prepared to do what????

Hitler was ambitious.... competent.... had a plan (you can't take over 2/3rds of Europe without being prepared and without ambition).

J. Edgar Hoover was known for being ambitious... he was prepared too...

Some of the biggest organized crime figures were known for being ambitious, competent and prepared...and used that to build some of the biggest criminal organizations in history.

This is not simply a question of who's prepared, and ambitious...

The questions are... what exactly is Obama prepared to do? and what are his ambitions?

Obama should have defined himself by now... and he should have established a political & ideological center of gravity that people can see and identify with. There is no Soul in this man that I can see.

jurahar said...

Truthiz, you are absolutely right. Some should be added in my previous comments and all my future comments.

Angry Independent “There is no Soul in this man that I can see.”

I can’t respond to your statement. Saying that “there is no soul in this man that I can see” is no different to me than George Bush saying after he looked in Putin’s eyes that he saw his soul. I can’t wrap my mind around these two comments.

Another thing. Why is it considered “special treatment” for Blacks to get the same rights as everyone else. I don’t think most African Americans want special treatment from the Obama presidency. I want the target taken off my back like most of this country’s pollution dumped in poor and minority communities, red-lining African American communities, and the same availability for jobs, schools and health care.

I say: "I believe Obama is competent, ambitious, and prepared."

And then you compare Obama to criminals. To say someone has no soul that you can see and then compare him to criminals, causes me to conclude that you feel Obama has committed some criminal act. Has he?

I’m lost here. Is there any living person or politician good enough, capable, ready and available to be president by your standards?

I am not a critic of King but how do you address Martin Luther King’s plagiarism charges. Not a more than few lines in his speeches but his doctorate dissertation?