Wouldn’t it be something if Michelle Obama, not the Rev. Jeremiah Wright or John McCain, was the reason Barack Obama loses the presidency? Instead of “change,” the First Lady-in-waiting is sticking with old hurts held closely by certain black communities, long caught in the quagmire of resentment.
They are those who relish the pain suffered by their slave forefathers and mothers. They revisit, over and over, what was; hurts, carefully protected, harbored as badges of honor. They cling to a state of mind, more significant than embracing the privileges of the American dream; dreams fulfilled by the Obamas themselves, who are certain that their road up was tougher than any white, brown or Asian person ever traveled.
None of us on this land are responsible for what happened to their kin, but they don’t care. They marinate in crippling history. Why? The reasons reek of the psychology of it all. As long as struggle is someone else’s fault, then blame belongs to those other than the great-great-great-grandchildren of slaves.
Very few pioneers, who wove the early foundations of this country, missed out on suffering caused by prejudice. Either they were the wrong culture, or gender, or skill or religion. None, however, endured the evil suffered by the American Indian. Surely, every one of us who cannot claim Native American blood should leave this land forever, if justice is to be granted to a wounded race. When that is done, let the next victims speak their claims against a nation so grand that during the past century it astoundingly righted major civil wrongs.
Where will it end? Time for healing is long passed. Resentments and victimhood are now simply an excuse.
MOVE FORWARD, NOT BACKWARD
Despite her education, Michelle Obama doesn’t seem to compute the reality of the struggle of all humanity, everywhere. Behind the scenes, I imagine the Obama campaign handlers are choking on their pizza. “They just keep raising the bar on Barack,” she complained. And, we all know what that means. If it’s hard to be elected president, it’s about discrimination. No mention of black Americans who’ve broken the attitude chains of helplessness.
There are a good number among the black community who call on their citizens to reach forward, not back. They urge them to gather their families, mothers and fathers, and teach children values and the privileges of hard work. But, the other voices seem to dominate. Many are religious leaders, such as Wright, the Obama family guru for 20 years. They capitalize on a transparent time warp. They talk change, but they really mean “hold fast to the past and cling to hopelessness. Be sure and blame the white man.”
In its March/April 1995 issue, Psychology Today quoted British psychiatrist Anthony Daniels (pen name Theodore Dalrymple) in an article called “The Uses of Resentment:” “If the world is unjustly stacked against us … it absolves us from the painful necessity to change. We can remain exactly the same while calling down anathema on a cruel world.” And then he drives it home: “There is one further advantage of believing oneself to be the victim of circumstance. Our supposed victimhood assures us of our own importance.”
No one can ignore the evils of slavery. Like Auschwitz, it’ll always be with us. But, even if black Americans cannot find it in their hearts or religions to forgive, they can at least consider the power of letting go for the sake for their children’s futures. Only in moving forward will they soar to the heights found in American’s competitive, social and market systems.
CHANGE OF CULTURE
The oddness of Michelle Obama’s tack is this: She and her husband have proven the law of hard work. Still, she resorts to political dirty tricks with snarly references to prejudice. She’s seeking to capitalize on white guilt, now embedded in the DNA of white Americans. But what she risks is the backlash of those who have grown weary of the gimmick.
Her husband’s right: It’s time for change. A great place to start is in those black American communities which cling to cultural resentment.