I don’t want to come off sounding like the Los Angeles Sentinel wing of the Barack Obama Campaign Committee, because I want to assure you, there’s no such thing. But I keep hearing things during this election season that just scream to be commented upon. For example, I just read a blogger on Democrats.org who said that Hillary Clinton did so well in the debate that he’s “almost” willing to forgive her vote on the war. Now, I’m not a Hillary hater, and I’m just as hypocritical as the rest of America, so if she gets the nomination, I’ll be right out there supporting her efforts wholeheartedly—in a halfhearted sort of way. But let’s be real here—Hillary’s vote to go to war in Iraq isn’t something that should be casually fluffed off.
Hillary’s vote on Iraq defines everything that’s wrong with this government in general, and the Democrats in particular. Her vote was not only the epitome of poor judgment—thus, undermines her contention that experience in Washington is an asset rather than a liability—but it also clearly demonstrates that she’s predisposed to caving in to pressure and putting her own political career before what’s in the best interest of this nation. And beyond that, her vote on the war is partially responsible for the death of thousands of young Americans, the maiming of thousands more, and the death and mutilation of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis—and that’s not even to mention the thousands of families, on both sides, that will never be the same.
Johns Hopkins University did a study on the war, and their demographers estimate that the United States is responsible for the deaths of over 600,000 Iraqis. That’s 200 Iraqis for every American killed on 9-11—and the Iraqis weren’t even involved in the attack. In order for the Iraqis to wreak the same kind of havoc in terms of death in the United States, they’d have to kill over 120 million Americans. So when we consider the anger and passion that was generated in America over the three thousand American lives lost during 9-11, can you imagine the kind of hatred that’s being generated in the Middle East over the mass slaughter we’ve committed in Iraq? So Hillary’s vote—the vote that the blogger is “almost” willing to forgive—has served to create an entire generation of Iraqis who, literally, love to hate the United States more than life itself.
That one senate vote alone has sealed the fate of Americans yet unborn. There are children—both American and Iraqi—who are not even born yet, who are going to have their chance at life cut short as a direct result of that vote. So to say that we’re willing to overlook that vote—with all the death and destruction it’s created—represents a vulgar and unconscionable level of hubris within the American psyche that is paralleled only by the very worst episodes in human history. Thus, if we were truly the just and loving people that we profess ourselves to be, that one vote alone would easily render Hillary Clinton unfit to be president of the United States. But unfortunately—and here’s the scary part...quot—she’s among the best we’ve got.
But the good news is, while she is AMONG the best, she’s not THE best. Clear evidence of that is the fact that the only negative thing they can come up with about Barack Obama is by comparison, actually, positive—that he’s young, Black, and inexperienced in the ways that got us into this mess in the first place.
But I’m not surprised at the feeble attempt of some to find fault with this young man. It’s like déjà vu, and it clearly demonstrates why the powers that be try to keep us on intellectual plantations—and I’m not just talking about Black people—they want to keep ALL of America in intellectual slavery. As long as they can keep us uneducated and more interested in the Super Bowl, Miller Lite, and whether or not Barry Bonds is taking steroids, they can keep us so ignorant that we won’t recognize that they used the exact same criticism of others in the past.
The controllers and their lackeys used that very same criticism about another young, Black man. They said he was too young, too inexperienced, and was neither Black nor militant enough to suit our purposes. The lackeys want us to forget that they once referred to one of the greatest men in the history of mankind as Martin Luther Coon; they also want us to forget that it was they, not the White man, who pulled the trigger on Malcolm. But even in death these two great men managed to leave a powerful message—You can snuff out life, but you can’t stamp out the power of truth, integrity, and the greatness of men willing to live by that moral code.
Thus, looking back upon it now, it is the height of irony that this nation honors only two men in history by declaring their birth a day of national celebration. Sure, we have days with various mens’ names attached, but for these two men it is different—for them, the entire nation is shut down to honor their name. One of those men is Jesus Christ of Nazareth, and the other, is the young and “inexperienced” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a man whose forebears were brought to these shores in chains. They said he wasn’t up to the challenge as well, but they greatly underestimated his eloquence, his character, and the force of this young man’s will.
In spite of the fact that Dr. King had no experience with being the moral leader of a nation, and began his life burdened by the inherent disadvantages of being blessed with black skin in a Jim Crow environment, his words, his intellect, and his deeds so inspired the heart and soul of humanity that America saw fit to set aside a day for this nation to thank God that he was allowed to walk among us. His was a soul with such strength that it served to lift the rest of mankind to a higher level of humanity. That was not only a testament to one black man’s ability to pull himself from the dust of his humble beginnings, but also a testament to the capacity of his people to meet the test of greatness. Much like Obama, Martin was also a scholar. He was admitted to Morehouse College at 15 years of age and was a Nobel Peace Prize winner by age 34. Dr. King rose to become one of the most honored men in this country’s history—in fact, the history of mankind. By his untimely death at age 39 (that’s right, 39 years old!!!) it was clear that his was to be one of those rare voices that would speak to all men, for all time. Thus, he might have been inexperienced, but this unassuming young man’s name will continue to reverberate throughout the ages, long after the bones of his more experienced detractors have turned to dust.
Abraham Lincoln was also inexperience. He had no more experience than Sen. Obama when he became president—and that inexperience benefited every Black person in America. A more experienced president might have known that attempting to free America’s slaves was against all of the conventional wisdom of his time, but as John F. Kennedy pointed out, when the more experienced asked, “why?” Lincoln asked, “why not?” So you see, you can’t judge a man based on his experience alone—you’ve got weigh his heart, his character, and his vision.
There are many experienced men and women in this world, but there are very few great ones. There’s a reason for that—”experience,” by definition, is the ability to understand, and thereby, control the status quo, while “greatness” entails the creativity to step outside the status quo, and the willingness to endure the selfless sacrifices necessary to plow new, fertile, and uncertain ground.
Thus, there are those who have spent a lifetime marching, preaching, and grinning at cameras in an attempt to fill Martin’s shoes, but to very little avail, because you can’t fake greatness. The people know greatness. They may not be able to describe it, but they know it when they see it—and Americans of every stripe across this country, see that quality in the young Senator they call Obama. That’s the only thing that can explain why he’s in the position he is today.
And the numbers are growing. Earlier this year I wrote an article critical of Dr. Cornel West, of Princeton University, for criticizing Sen. Obama on national television, on the very same day that the senator announced his candidacy. But now, I understand that Dr. West is serving as one of Obama’s unpaid advisors. Rev. Jesse Jackson has also thrown his support behind Sen. Obama. But of course, there are always those people who you can depend on to be a day late and a dollar short. I understand, for example, that Rev. Al Sharpton is considering dividing the vote by challenging Sen. Obama for the nomination. I have but one thing to say about that: Brother Al needs to realize we’re talkin’ about the White House here, not Comic View.
Eric L. Wattree, Sr. n can be reached at