IS America Ready for a Black President?

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By Patricia Wilson-Smith 

I recently called a friend of mine who is a seasoned Washington dweller to tell her of my excitement over my decision to actively campaign for Barack Obama. Somehow, I was sure she would immediately share my excitement, maybe even jump on the bandwagon. The first words out of her mouth, once I’d ended my breathess tirade was:

“America’s not ready for a black president.” 

“What do you mean?”, I asked. I wondered inwardly how it could be that she hadn’t seen all of the footage, all of the people all over America, standing shoulder to shoulder, blacks, whites, Latinos, gays, straights, old, young, all waving Obama ’08 signs, and gleefully and very publically showing their support for the Senator. I have to admit, so disappointed was I with her knee-jerk response, that I tuned out as she launched into her reasoning. I was dumb-struck.

And so I, in my simplicity of thought and naive political way (my friend called me an idealist) set out to disprove her. I read as many polls as I could stomach. I watched more election coverage. Unfortunately, the proof I sought is still forthcoming.

On the surface, what I found seems to support her view. Let’s start with the results of a recent poll in Iowa, where likely Democratic voters were asked which candidate had the superior “strategic vision”:

 

John Edwards

26%

Barack Obama

21%

Hillary Clinton

20%

Bill Richardson

11%

Joe Biden

4%

Chris Dodd

2%

Dennis Kucinich

1%

Unsure

15%

Source: USElectionPolls.com
6/23/2007

 

As you can see here, Senator John Edwards fares much better than does  both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama – the voters polled here have a strong opinion of his vision, and seem to be divided on Hillary versus Obama. But the interesting thing here to me, is that Hillary and Obama (in this poll) are in virtually a statistical dead heat.

But strangely, in a recent Fox News poll of likely Democratic voters who were asked who they were most likely to vote for, Senator Obama is pretty much eclipsed by Senator Clinton, as are all the other candidates:

 

Fox News National Poll 6/27/07 6/26-27/07
%
Hillary Clinton 42
Barack Obama 19
Al Gore 14
John Edwards 10
Dennis Kucinich 2
Joseph Biden 1
Chris Dodd 1
Mike Gravel 1
Bill Richardson 1
Unsure 6
Wouldn’t vote (vol.) 3

Source: USElectionPolls.com
6/23/2007

Now as I’m fond of saying, I’m no political pundit, and far from a professional poll-reader, but something seems amiss here, and it’s pretty hard to ignore. How is it that a man who can go toe-to-toe with a political power house like Hillary Clinton when it comes to public opinion regarding his vision, appeal so little to similar voters when it comes to their choice for president?

Well – sorry old friend (and you know who you are), I simply don’t believe it’s because America’s not ready for a black president. I think that what we see in the polls above is a result of Sentor Obama’s perceived lack of experience, and an overall hesitance towards change, which is one of the reasons I started BlackWomenforObama.org in the first place. I am of the opinion that change is exactly what we need, and not just any kind of change. We need real vision, real purpose, from someone who is eager to not only cross party lines to unite the Congress, and the nation, but who has the depth of character to begin to help us re-unite with our friends around the world. As far as lack of experience goes – without the right vision, experience or even having a father who used to have the job, means nothing. Just ask our buddy George W.

It’s obvious that many feel that Hillary Clinton is a shoe-in. It almost seems to me as if she’s somehow managed to stake a claim on the office by her sheer will to do so, and that’s fine. But in my heart of hearts, I believe that this nation cannot continue to do politics the way we always have. I believe that we’ve been on a slippery slope for decades, and now someone has poured chicken grease on it, and we’re sliding completely out of control. I think that part of the reason is that we’ve lost our ability to deal with issues in any meaningful way, because we’re too busy deciphering sound bites and delving into the personal lives of people who are after all human beings. It’s time to turn a corner.

So IS America ready for a black president? I of course have no answer for that question, but I do believe that America is ready for the kind of change that an Obama presidency will bring. A change that feels like we’ve shaken off the shackles of the administrations of the recent past, and headed towards a future filled with hope and promise.  If you feel like I do, then spread the word. Resist the fedders of doubt and tell everyone you know to read about Senator Obama, his views, his vision, and judge for themselves. I guess the truth is, we’ll only be ready for a black president, when whether or not we’re really ready at all ceases to be the most important question.

One more thing….would it make a difference if we were talking about a black woman?:

Condaleeza Rice

We’ll explore THAT question another time.

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Patricia Wilson-Smith is a columnist, and the author of “Duped By Love”.

 

About Patricia Wilson-Smith

Patricia Wilson-Smith is a freelance writer and author of the romantic comedy "Duped By Love". She is a regular contributor to She Unlimited Magazine, and covers special events as a special on-air correspondent.
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2 Responses to IS America Ready for a Black President?

  1. ardeth says:

    The question is, is America ready for a liberal president? Obama isn’t liberal, in my view. Kucinich is. Now, having a President Kucinich would be a true revolution for this country. It’s far more likely that Obama will be elected than Kucinich, and that’s a shame.

  2. krystal says:

    America is very ready for a black president… but they are also very ready for a woman president. Without Hillary, Barack would be dominating the pack. Without Obama, Hillary would be dominating the pack. And as far as religion, a mormon is leading the Republican nomination in Iowa and New Hampshire. America has come a long way and I love that about this country. Proud to be an American!!!

    Anyways, it is USAElectionPolls.com … dont forget the ‘A’ ;-)

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