Monica Roberts

Obama Musings

Filed By Monica Roberts | February 11, 2008 5:52 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics, Politics
Tags: 2008 Election, African-American, LGBT history, Monica Roberts, politics

I originally posted this to TransGriot, but I decided I needed to share this with Bilerico readers as well.

As an Obama supporter, I was ecstatic about the weekend sweep of primaries and caucuses held in Louisiana, Washington, and Nebraska on Saturday and yesterday's in Maine.

As Sen. Obama told a cheering crowd at the Jefferson-Jackson dinner in Richmond, VA Saturday, "We won in Louisiana, we won in Nebraska, we won in Washington state. We won north, we won south, we won in between. And I believe that we can win Virginia on Tuesday if you're ready to stand for change."

So do I. The next group of primaries and caucuses will be held in Maryland, Washington, DC, and Virginia on Tuesday, but it's looking more and more as though my home state of Texas and Ohio's March 4 primaries will be the ones that could possibly decide it. I won't get a chance to chime in on this race as a Kentucky resident until May.

But, then again, as competitive as this 2008 campaign has been, I might get lucky.

One thing I am disturbed about is the whispers I'm hearing from the lunatic fringe of the web. They are apoplectic about the possibility of an African-American taking the oath of office at noon on January 20, 2009 and I'm afraid of what forms their desperation to prevent that from happening may take.

But, then again, I'm going to take the advice of a former Democratic president who took office in darker times in this country and said, "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself" in his 1933 inaugural address.

The beautiful part of this race is that as a Democrat, I win if either one gets the nomination. Either person who eventually gets the nomination would be making history. Both Sen. Clinton and Sen. Obama are eminently more qualified than the idiot-in-thief who currently occupies it or whoever the GOP puts up to oppose them, which is looking more and more as if that person will be Sen. John McCain.

As Sen. Obama keeps winning primary after primary and caucus after caucus, I keep hearing this bullshit 'lack of experience' charge. Abraham Lincoln only served a single US House term and had lost a race for the US Senate just two years before he was elected president in 1860. We all know how his presidency turned out.

The current misadministration was touted as the 'most experienced in history', and look how badly they've jacked this country up. Sen. Clinton's 'experience' didn't keep her from voting for a lousy bankruptcy bill or the Iraq war.

I'm also tired of hearing the 'he's only winning because of the African-American vote' charge. If that was the case, then by that flawed logic he should have lost in Washington state, which has a whopping 1% African-American population, Nebraska, which has a 4.3% African-American population, Maine which has a gigantic African-American population of 0.8% percent, and Sen. Obama should have never won the Iowa caucuses or finished second in New Hampshire.

It may be news to many of you peeps that think we African-Americans have a Borg-like hive mind that moves in lockstep with each other, but the reality is that we are not monolithic in our thinking. Even in my own family I have peeps who support Sen. Clinton, and one of the bumper stickers on my car says 'I Miss Bill'.

My admiration for President Clinton is such that I stopped on my way back to Louisville from my cousin's November 2006 wedding in Dallas to visit Hope, AR, and the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock.

That admiration, however, did take a major hit during the South Carolina primary. Like former Virginia governor and now mayor of Richmond L. Douglas Wilder, I wasn't happy about the race baiting comments 'Brother Bill' made during that heated race.

The facts are that African-Americans, when choosing a candidate, use the same criteria to decide who to support as any other voters do. We look at the issues, look at our wallets and purses, check out the platforms of the candidates, see if they fit our values and our agenda, and if their current words match their past deeds.

We also base our decisions on whether this candidate when they've finished serving their potential eight years in the Oval Office will leave the country and the African-American community in better shape than it was when they were sworn in.

It just so happens that some of us have done the analysis and concluded that Barack Obama is the right person for the job. It also doesn't hurt that he's a brother.

Would I like to see someone who looks like me in the White House? You damn skippy I would.

I would love to see an African-American president in real life and not being played by actors on a TV show or a movie. Latinos and women feel the same way. I believe they would love to see someone who shares their cultural heritage in the presidency just as many women would love to see Sen. Clinton take the oath of office as well.

I was a Jesse Jackson delegate in 1984. His 1984 and 1988 runs for the presidency got many people of my generation registered, focused their attention on getting involved in the political process and paying attention to it. It also inspired many of us to consider running for office ourselves.

Sen. Clinton and Sen. Obama's campaigns are having the same effect on this generation of young people. It's also reminding my generation of how important it is to stay engaged in politics and I'm extremely happy to see record breaking voter turnout and increasing voter registration as well.

That's something all progressives can be happy about, no matter what candidate we're supporting.

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Obama's appeal for change has resonance with the young, who are voting for him in droves. Us "older" people are conerned about his lack of experience in both domestic and foreign policy.

The world and America is a much different place than it was in Lincoln's time. Our foriegn entanglements are much more diverse, and a modern society depends on expertise that can only be found through experience.

Whoever wins, we need to get behind and make sure they get elected in November. This country may not survive another Republican administration with our freedoms intact.

Michael Bedwell | February 11, 2008 7:51 PM

There is much to admire in what you wrote, Monica, but keeping the myth alive that Pres. Clinton was "race baiting" is not among them.

Might I respectfully remind you of what your candidate said in Nevada:

"For his part, Mr. Obama said that he, “not only in hindsight, but going forward,” regretted that members of his staff had prodded reporters to pursue the issue. “Our supporters, our staff, get overzealous,” Mr. Obama said. “They start saying things that I would not say.” Mrs. Clinton concurred, saying, “We need to get this campaign where it should be.” She also said comments by the founder of Black Entertainment Television, Robert Johnson, were inappropriate."

I certainly believe that many African-Americans have chosen to support Sen. Obama solely on the issues, just as have African-Americans who support Sen. Clinton.

But whatever many individuals have done, there is little to explain the dramatic reversal in support for Obama among African-Americans since mid-October when Sen. Clinton had a 57 percent to 33 percent lead over him—unmatched by Obama’s increases in any other demographic—beyond the verbal tar and feathering of the Clintons as racist by members of his staff, amplified to the den of a lynch mob by a sensationalist mainstream media that repeated the smears over and over and over while, earlier, having given virtually no attention to the charges by black lesbian minister and Bilerico contributor Irene Monroe that it was Obama playing the race card—and homophobia card—in South Carolina.

The ironic parallel is the way the black community and homophobic civil rights leaders joined arms to support black gay civil rights icon Bayard Rustin after rabid racist Strom Thurmond demonized him on the US Senate floor to try to stop the 1963 Great March on Washington which Rustin, over earlier private homophobic objections, had been chosen to organize. Suffice it to say that six years before Stonewall, there was even less general support for gays, of whatever color, in the black community than now[among others black megalomaniac Adam Clayton Powell had used it to immobilize Rustin before], and that they were likely not thrilled to read in national newspapers about Rustin’s arrest card for public sex ten years before that Thurmond had entered into the Congressional Record, nor that his former Communist Party membership would reinforce the charge that the civil rights movement was nothing but a Communist plot. But one of their own, despite his “faults,” a "degenerate" even, had been publicly attacked and the wagons circled.

You can still hear their wheels at the polls tonight in the Potomac primaries, no matter how many others are deciding on substance alone.

Its not just blacks who are voting for him and even im giving him a second look just in case I have to vote for some one else in November and he is the nomine.The Rev Mike can get himself the nomineation its not all a done deal just yet.Yes im for McCain so bash away but im looking close and like what I see in Obama now if its Hillary forget it.I will hold my nose and vote Libetaian party as there our regular third choice here in Georgia.

You touched on another reason why I and many people are supporting Obama. Many of us believe that if Hillary's the nominee, the GOP base, dispirited as they are right now would react to her like pit bulls who've been slapped with raw meat and mobilize to defeat her just like they did when the Massachusetts marriage equality case ruling went against them.

This election is the most critical of our lifetimes. We can't afford another four years of GOP policies and I'd rather take my chances going into November with Barack Obama as our nominee than Hillary Clinton.


In a McCain vs Obama match up if my guy lost I could live with a President Obama and who knows maybe even vote for him for a second term it would have to depend on his forgein policy and defense team he puts together.

Those are the two aeras why I still consider my self a Republican not on the social issues on those im sometimes more liberal than most of the Democrats so im that rare bread a real old school moderate maybe even a Liberal Republican.

The Clintons lost the Conservative wing of the Democratic Party which is what makes me leary of them and most of the more socialist minded Democrats.

Anyone think that the reason the GOP runs horrible candidates like McCain is to pull the entire debate to the right? We're always talking about who's better than McCain, but almost anyone is.

This is part of how they win even when they lose, they keep on pushing everyone else to the right. I mean, what's up with them referring to Clinton as a Marxist? In what world is she....

Alex reread what I wrote I said im leary of the Clintons and the Socialist wing of the DNC.I was not calling the Clintons Marxist by any means.

Yes you do have some very die hard socialist minded Democrats who have never gone back to the Socialist Party.Those folks should scare you just as much as the socialist right any body who wants there ideas on how to live made the law of the land should be watched and put on the edge with no power but let there wacky ideas be heard and people will see how unworkable they are.

I havent heard anyone call her a Marxist now John McCain being called a Liberal yes.So if you care to give your scource I woulld love to see what wack job called her that.If there name was Rush Limbugh then that wouldnt surprise me one little bit he is a blow hard who thinks to much of his self same with most of the radio talk show hosts.

We hear about the young folks supporting Senator Obama. I guess I'm a young 69 years old. And, I'm an Obama supporter.

Often we hear politicians (and chairs of large lobby groups) say one thing, and do the complete opposite.

Senator Obama has already fulfilled one of his campaign promises. He said he would bring about change, and he has. Just look at all the new voters he has attracted to the process.

When I went to the gym 4 years ago, the gym was maybe half full. This time, every bleacher seat was filled, and hundreds were standing.

We are witnessing a very historic time in our country. I do believe that it is a time of hope, and a time to put cynicism to rest for a while. I also believe it is a time to put the divisiveness of rancorous rhetoric to rest, and look to the day when we all realize that we are all in this together. There are no "those people," there's only "we."

Thank you for your always insightful comments, Monica.