December 10, 2004

Aunt Condi's Cabinet

Condi Rice quotes her parents as telling her "you may not be able to have a hamburger at Woolworth's but you can be president of the United States." Well, with all due respect to the parents of the inventor of pre-emptive mayhem, I beg to differ. Even after suffering all their lives from the effects of racism, they obviously didn't understand the racist nature of the country, as evidenced by the fact that they failed to raise a child who pursues social justice. The United States will let black people serve whitey in any capacity, but it is not going to let them be the boss.


Anonymous said...

There would be a whole lot less social injustice if those who perpetuate the false notion of victimhood would stop promoting it and those who wallow in victimhood would simply get a good education and make socially responsible, law-abiding, and wise decisions as they journey along life's pathways.


chrisbaker said...

Perhaps not currently as President. But that is one specific leadership position among many. There are countless Black mayors, senators, state delegates, congressmen and women.

A similar argument could be made for a woman president. But a majority of the VAP is female, so why don't we have a female president?

Perhaps we don't have a Black president or a female president because of a lack of good candidates. I don't imply that our previous white male candidates were good either, but Alan Keyes? Riiiiiight. I could conceive an election in 2008 where Colin Powell, Barack Obama, or Hilary Clinton would be front runners. So perhaps time will show a change in this matter.

Sorry about removing the previous post, I just wanted to add

Al S. E. said...

Thank you both for your comments. I will continue to use the case of Condi Rice to illustrate my point, which is that, in the majority of cases, merit will not help a black person achieve high office in the US. Condi Rice did not get to where she is on the basis of merit. Just the opposite, in a sense. Because of the atrocious quality of her academic work, she had failed to secure an academic post. She was, therefore, available for other work, and happened to be at the right place at the right time. Bush, who literally knew nothing about anything outside the borders of the United States, needed someone to teach him about the outside world. Rice was suggested as a candidate for the job of teaching him about the world. The rest is history. She got where she is by failing to make the best of the educational opportunities afforded her, by being socially irresponsible, and by having no regard for international law. I will grant SemperFi's last point, though. Condi Rice did make "wise decisions" along her life's pathways, if we define "wisdom" as unscrupulous opportunism.
I applaud Chris' optimism about the possibility of a black US President, but I don't think the idea is a realistic one. There are several issues. One is the point I made above, which is that the reason some black people in the US achieve high office is not merit, but rather it is just that they happen to be at the right place when someone is looking to recruit a pliable token minority individual. Is it possible to conceive of a presidentail candidate more qualified than Rev. Jesse Jackson? Is it possible to conceive of a political system that has more wantonly wasted and abused political talent like that of Rev. Jackson's? The US is a country where a complete idiot can grow up to become President, but Rev. Jackson can't become President. Second, I don't know how Chris can realistically think of any of the "red" states voting for Colin Powell, Barack Obama, or Hilary Clinton. I am sure even George W Bush is a dangerous leftist for a lot of people in Utah and Wyoming. They voted for him because Genghis Khan and Tamerlane were not available (if they had been, I am sure the Constitution would have been amended to let them run). Third, my basic point was about the essential racism of the US society. If a black person ran for President, the blue states wouldn't vote for him either, because even most liberals are closet racists. As I said in the post, the society will allow black people to serve (as mayors and so on), but if it is ever faced with the option of giving them ultimate executive authority, the distinction between red and blue states will evaporate.

Anonymous said...

The Reverend Jesse Jackson is your idea of the ultimate presidential candidate? And you believe racism is the reason he wouldn't/hasn't win/won? Sorry, I don't agree that he represents the views of the majority - which is how a person gets elected. I agree, there is racism in this country and it would be difficult for an African American or a woman to win the presidency... but times are changing pretty quickly.

I don't understand the tendency of some african-americans to downplay the success of people like Collin Powell and Condi Rice. It sounds like some want to perpetuate the stereotype at the cost of the reputation of those who ARE successful. Just an opinion.

Honestly, I've made a living (and so have millions of others) without great academic achievement. In fact, I have only a high school education. But don't believe for a moment that I wouldn't qualify to be president! ;-)

Al S. E. said...

Thanks for your comment. In my opinion, you are more qualified to be President of the United States than the person currently occupying that exalted office. For one thing, you can think, and you can also express yourself clearly. You are probably right, though, that he represents the views of the majority. The majority thinks the war on Iraq had something to do with the so-called War on Terror, and the majority thinks also that tax cuts are a good thing. And the majority is wrong. So, what do you do when the majority is wrong? You wish for a leader who represents the real interests of the majority of the people, and not the ideas implanted in their heads by the corporate news media and government propaganda. That is when you wish for a leader like the Rev. Jackson, who I mentioned only as an example. I could have mentioned any number of others. But no, the people of the United States have got so used to being lied to that they keep electing people who represent interests diametrically opposed to the interests of the majority. What are the interests of the majority? They are pretty simple and straightforward things. They don't include owning a yacht, a private airplane, or a chalet in the Swiss Alps. They include having good healthcare, good education, good public transit, good jobs, and other such things, and, yes, safety and security. The policies of the Bushites have caused serious harm to the economic and physical security of Americans and everyone else in the world, and they continue to do so. This isn't just my opinion. It is the opinion of most of the sane people at the highest levels of US government, military, and academia.
As to wanting to perpetuate stereotypes, two of the commenters have accused me of this. But I think the exact opposite is true. I would like to see African-American people go on to represent society's highest ideals, namely social justice and social progress. Many of them have, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Unprincipled opportunists like Condi Rice only serve to detract from those ideals. And they help perpetuate the problem of racism itself in the US, because only a society based on the idea of social justice can address and solve problems like racism, and not a society based on right-wing principles of individual privilege and social injustice.