*I just watched an interview of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton with host Bill O’Reilly on the Fox News channel (The O’Reilly Factor 4/30/08). Clinton seemed very relaxed and comfortable in speaking with O’Reilly, so much so, that she made a couple of comments that showed (if you really listened) who she really identifies with most; her true affection. As a matter of fact she opened with, “Happy to be here my fellow Irishman.”
When O’Reilly (playing devil’s advocate) mentioned the idea of he and Clinton’s husband Bill being additionally taxed in her proposed redistributing of wealth in her health care plan because their annual incomes are two hundred fifty thousand dollars or higher, she connected with O’Reilly saying “…yes, we the rich; God bless us. We deserve all the opportunities to make sure our country and our blessings continue to the next generation!” And did Hillary high-five O’Reilly!?
Then when she said she borrowed from former president Ronald Reagan on her payroll tax stance – she commented that both Reagan and then House Speaker Tip O‘Neil “two Irishmen,” as Clinton stated, got together on the initiative – she showed again a partiality that would not sit so well in the media if her democratic nominee competitor Barack Obama had made a similar remark with someone of his own ethnicity. Did Hillary Clinton need to refer to theirs?
Again, why is it okay that white Americans can identify with class and ethnicity with ease and no repercussion, while if a black American does the same, the short and narrow-minded pundits (oxymoron characters I call them) take it completely out of context? One has only to ask themselves this question about today’s media: How can people be so knowledgeable and yet so ignorant?
How many white presidential candidates over the years have been associated with some “whatever-winged” ethnic Irish, Polish, German, Swedish; professed Baptist, Catholic, Mormon; you name it; that have come under such scrutiny as has the association of Barack Obama and Reverend Jeremiah Wright? Give Obama a break and let him run his race fair and square.
Oh some white politicians have come under other such scrutiny as infidelity, and cover-ups, etc; but never their association with the likes of let’s say a Jerry Falwell – the late founder of “The Moral Majority” – who, according to reports, slammed white Christian ministers involved in the civil rights movement and gave audience to segregationist politicians like Lester Maddox and George Wallace. Did presidential hopefuls Mitt Romney and John McCain come under such fire for their association with him? And Falwell’s sound bites were far more divisive than Jeremiah Wright’s!
What people don’t understand, they tend to destroy! The black church has always been a beacon of light for the black community. What do white folks think got us through the civil rights era? It wasn’t the politics of the day, even with the Kennedy’s in the White House. It was the black church. I remember a sermon my former pastor, Reverend Charles J. Holley (Pastor, Little Rock Baptist Church, Detroit), delivered in 1976, the Bicentennial year celebration. His text was, “I Love You America, But I Got Something Against You” (probably taken from Hosea 4:1 or a few other biblical references where God came against an arrogant and disobedient nation). Everyone in the congregation left the church that day on fire to go out to try and make a positive difference in our community. We were all we had! White folks were strangers to us, and we were constantly reminded of that fact where just a few miles away, Alter Road served as the Mason/Dixon line for our community and the suburb of Grosse Pointe which was the difference (in many cases) between heaven and hell comparatively for black and white communities.
The engine that has kept the Obama campaign going is inclusion. A house divided against itself cannot stand. Clinton is a great candidate, but comments that hint of classicism surfacing now will only manifest if she becomes commander-in-chief. And to all the (to use an old term) mudslinging, Abraham Lincoln was quoted as saying, “Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another, but let him work diligently and build one for himself, thus by his example assuring that his own shall be safe from violence when built.”
Larry Buford is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer. Author of “Things Are Gettin’ Outta Hand” (Steuben Pub) www.amazon.com. E-mail: [email protected] Visit the author at www.larrybuford.com. (213) 220-8101