When Barack Obama won the U.S. presidential election, I watched the celebrations on TV in Jerusalem and wished I could be happy. All the carry-on about seeing an African-American in the White House was contagious. I, too, wanted to get all teary-eyed along with Oprah Winfrey, and jump up and down like a love-struck teenager the way my female peers in the Israeli press were doing.
But my worldview wouldn’t let me celebrate the victory of a Democrat in general, and such a radical one in particular. I mean, Obama made even Hillary Clinton look like a member of the Tea Party.
Still, there was one aspect of the historic event that appealed even to me. With a black at the helm — put there by a clear majority of the American electorate — the Left’s “race card” would be rendered ridiculous. That was a “change” worth “hoping” for.
I should have known better.
If anything, the whole issue of victimhood based on skin color took a turn for the worse four years ago. And no amount of sudden, self-imposed separation on the part of the Obamas from their beloved Pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, altered that reality.
For some odd reason, the Jews who voted for Obama in droves didn’t find it problematic that their candidate and his wife had been attending Wright’s church every Sunday for 20 years, listening to his blatantly anti-American and anti-Semitic sermons.
These were the very same Jews who threw fits any time their own rabbis uttered a single word with which they disagreed. These were the Jews who tried to get rabbis fired, or who left their congregations in a huff when they were unsuccessful at doing so. Yet most such Jews let Obama’s feeble explanation about not actually agreeing with his pastor suffice. After all, they told themselves, what counts is that Obama likes to quote his “real role model,” Martin Luther King, Jr. That he always does so in the wrong context — such as when comparing the struggle of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt to that of the American Revolutionaries — doesn’t seem to matter to them that much.
Perhaps this has to do with holding blacks to a lower standard than everybody else. If I were African-American, I would be fighting, not embracing, such a contemptible concept. Ironically, however, it is this disturbing idea around which Jews and blacks best bond.
For this there was a civil rights movement?
Well, apparently yes, for some of its original leaders — those who were not ultimately battling for equality and justice, but rather for militant separation and endless emotional blackmail (no pun intended). Jews might wish to be color-blind, but they could at least attempt to make a distinction between Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. And it has been their inability to do so on which Obama has relied throughout his career, first as a community organizer in Chicago, then as a senator, and certainly during the campaign that resulted in his presidency.
In less than a week, we will know whether the “radical-in-chief” (to borrow Stanly Kurtz’s brilliant book title) has again managed to pull the wool over the eyes of an electorate that is generally more patriotic and conservative than Obama’s popularity indicated the last time around.
This week, pollsters and political spin doctors have been asserting that Hurricane Sandy has helped the president regain the points he appeared to be losing to Mitt Romney. It remains to be seen whether this is true. Hugging a New Jersey woman traumatized by the flood may be a fantastic photo-op, especially when accompanied by the public display of affection from Republican Governor Chris Christie. But the millions of people across the country who are out of work and witnessing fellow Americans being slaughtered abroad by jihadists might not be lulled into ignoring the incumbent’s part in their plight.
Nor may some of the rest of us let a renewed round of “black power” rallies on Obama’s behalf go unnoticed. Though recent reports that Obama phoned Rev. Wright to ask for advice were firmly denied by the White House, an event that took place last Saturday in Georgia is on the record.
As part of a pro-Obama tour of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, two extremist icons of the African-American community spoke at the St. James Baptist Church in Forsyth Georgia. One was former mayor of Atlanta, Andrew Young. The other was Rev. Dr. James Lowery.
Young was the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. under Jimmy Carter. He ended up resigning when it was discovered that he was conducting covert meetings with the P.L.O. But while still holding the post, he made the following statement about the leader of the Islamic Revolution in Iran. “[The Ayatollah] Khomeini will be somewhat of a saint when we get over the panic. In two years, our relations with Iran will be on a pretty even keel.”
Lowery gave the benediction at Obama’s inauguration in Jan. 2009. Six months later, Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
At last weekend’s gathering, he made a comment that was eerily similar to something Michelle Obama announced as soon as she became First Lady. She had said that her husband’s election was the “first time she was proud to be an American.” Lowery said that his giving the benediction at the president’s inauguration was the first time he enjoyed hearing the national anthem.”
Even more impressive was his choice of language. "I don't know what kind of a n----- wouldn't vote with a black man running,” he jived.
The icing on the cake was his admission that in his youth, he used to say that “all white folks were going to hell.” After that, he “mellowed and just said most of them were.” Today, he acknowledged, he is back where he started.
These are Obama’s true colors, no matter how hard he and his “amen corner” in the media try to hide it.
Ruthie Blum is the author of “To Hell in a Handbasket: Carter, Obama, and the ‘Arab Spring,’" available on Amazon and in bookstores in Europe and North America – and now on sale at Pomeranz Bookseller in Jerusalem.