Businessman's blatant attacks on Obama's legitimacy pregnant with racist overtones
I had just finished the weekly "Obama Watch" roundtable on WLIB - 1190AM in New York Sunday evening at 10 p.m., where we dissected the administration for an hour on key issues as well as debunked the craziness of Donald Trump's unworthy challenges, when my BlackBerry showed an e-mail coming through from the White House media affairs department.
The e-mail was notifying journalists of an urgent conference call with White House officials about the killing of terrorist leader Osama bin Laden.
While we were waiting for White House officials to appear on the call, President Obama was simultaneously addressing the nation regarding how he ordered the decision that killed the world's most wanted man by the U.S. Navy SEALS in Pakistan.
President Obama's address to the nation instantly changed the political atmosphere. It was evident that the man who was being disrespected a week before and asked to show his birth documents has demonstrated the true mettle of a commander-in-chief.
A stern looking Obama spoke with calm and deference as he paid tribute to the lives that were lost on Sept. 11, 2001 while reminding the nation that the man who was responsible for the heinous crime had paid the ultimate price for his dastardly actions.
It was history in every sense of the word. Moreover, Obama had just given a new lease on life to the lifeless Democrats, coming on the heels of the 2010 midterm congressional elections.
Heading into the 2012 presidential campaign, Obama demonstrated Sunday night during the historic announcement that he has the authority as the man in charge of the nation, which creates a difficult mission for any of the Republican candidates challenging him. The GOP will have to produce a more vast, widely experienced and strong candidate than the ones they are parading out here now. Defeating Obama now is more than just issuing statements with deep racist connotations as Donald Trump, a potential Republican candidate, has been doing and given massive, unwarranted media coverage.
The most vilified presidency had finally done what Democrats have long not been able to do: own the conversation around national security.
Weeks leading into the announcement of Osama bin Laden's death we saw Donald Trump championed on a wide range of attacks on Obama's personality, intellect and his legitimacy as president with the media giving him more than enough airtime without challenging him to prove his assertions and mischaracterizations. Trump had a free reign for weeks on the national networks.
His dogged attacks on Obama, that were so blatantly racist, harkened back to the days of apartheid in South Africa where Blacks were asked to show their documents before they could travel from one township to another, and a sordid reminder of the Jim Crow era in the 1950s and 1960s.
That a man like Trump from a rich background who did not create anything for himself but, rather, what he inherited from his father, would question another man, Obama, who in many ways embodies what Nelson Mandela calls the "triumph of the human spirit" to prove his legitimacy in the White House, is a sad story in the long commentary of race and racism in America. All Trump ever did was live off his father's real estate legacy since leaving college. He did not create anything on his own.
That Trump, bereft of intellectual prowess, would use the power of White privilege and become the most visible person to boldly and repeatedly lead the false charge against the most powerful man in the world, appealing to a minority segment who still can't fathom an African American in the White House, is unbelievable. And the cowards want to dismiss Trump's attacks as mere politics because they don't want to discuss race.
Trump even went further to question Obama's academic record, suggesting that he was a terrible student. He said he wants to know how Obama got to Columbia and Harvard.
The media again failed to ask Trump to answer for his baseless comments and charges against a man who not only graduated from Harvard Law School, but was editor of the Harvard Law Review. But the latest attack revealed something deeper in our national psyche: the longstanding disdain for Black intellectualism among a minority who feel that even educated Blacks are not deserving of the respect that is given to their White counterparts.
Somehow Black intellectuals still need to prove that they really graduated from the same Ivy League schools that have produced most American presidents. Even towering Black intellectuals like Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates can be arrested in his home and humiliated for trying to enter his own house.
No one challenged George W. Bush's academic record or asked him to produce documents. Trump did not challenge Bush's or Bill Clinton's academic qualifications. He probably didn't see the need to because they are accomplished White men.
Trump succeeded when the White House produced Obama's birth certificate bowing to pressure and skewed polls showing some in the GOP believed what Trump was saying.
But the height of Trump's racial smear campaign was when he bragged about a so-called relationship with African Americans saying "I have a great relationship with the Blacks," a dehumanizing form of codifying a race of people.
Even after Sunday's historic announcement, there is still reluctance to give the president full credit. Instead, the military receiving most of the kudos rather than the man who approved the operation and, after extensive fact finding, ordered that it be carried out.
If Obama were White, after Sunday night's speech he would have been referred to as the Winston Churchill of American politics. He would have been the most celebrated president in recent history for the passing of the historic health care legislation.
But there is a problem within the Democratic camp to acknowledge the often utter disregard to African American presidential candidates. Democrats have sometimes worked against their own candidates due to deep-seated racial prejudices.
During the 2008 presidential campaign we saw former president Bill Clinton try to denigrate Obama's story as a fairy tale until Congressman James Clyburn put him in check, reminding him of the support he received from the African American community during his two-term presidency.
When the book "Game Change" was published, one of the biggest revelations was how Bill Clinton tried to convince the late Senator Edward Kennedy (a man who lived what he preached) not to support Obama's presidency. According to the book, Clinton said, "Just a few years ago, Obama would have been serving us coffee."
That allegedly disgusting and racist remark from Clinton, who enjoyed overwhelming Black support, added to the many reasons why Sen. Kennedy put the Kennedy imprint on the Obama campaign, giving him the powerful, highly sought after endorsement. But many of our so-called leaders failed to challenge Donald Trump, including Democrats as well as Republicans. Not once did any significant member of either parties come out to challenge the lunacy and political fantasies of Trump.
Former president Jimmy Carter, in reference to Barack Obama, said he knew of no president having to endure as many character assaults. For proof, one need look no further than the mean-spirited, moronic, media-supported tirades of Donald Trump.
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