Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Passion of the (Negroes’) Christ: Why America Will Never Elect Another Black President

       I thought about introducing this piece by copying and pasting one of the numerous, if not exhausted, references by political media pundits  equating Barack Obama to the Messiah (metaphorically speaking of course), or a savior, for the United States of America.  Then, I decided that would be too obvious, too contrived, lame, even corny, at best.  So, I thought about giving a brief 145 word historical analysis of the African in America since 1619 and the nuances of the subordinating, debilitating, and socioeconomic and political stifling vis-a-vis prescribed attributes and derogatory stereotyping of the Black American which has had catastrophic effects on our psyche and self-esteem. But, I decided against that introduction as well.
      By now, my scholars, students, and Intelligentsia are laughing and enjoying the literary trope I’ve used up until this point.  I’m literally introducing the piece with all the introductions I claimed I was against.  I guess you could say  this piece will be a ‘stream of consciousness’ in the vein of philosopher William James, who coined the term in his book ‘The Principles of Philosophy’ (1890).   

 In my opinion, and subjective reality constructed by the ethnic hierarchy that existed in this country long before my father lay with my mother in the late 70s, there is no scholarly path in which I can intellectually walk in order to definitively compose a rhetorical construct that posits President Barack Obama as America’s Christ, yet that’s what the POTUS has become; A savior.  A messiah who’ll cure the ills of the Black ghettos and inspire the Millennial and their offspring and their offspring’s offspring to be great, to challenge the status quo, to break down barriers, to make race, or color, invisible, if not non-existent or a non-factor. So, I will write until I’ve reached my limit—let’s say 1000 words, so that I won’t lose your attention. 
In order to juxtapose Obama’s presidency and his relevance in Black American and American History to that of the historical pertinence of the notorious C.H.R.I.S.T., one must compare the similarities between the two; both were accused of sedition and both men were deemed divine saviors.  Merriam-Webster defines ‘sedition’ as overt conduct, such as speech and organization, that is deemed by the legal authority to tend toward insurrection against the established order. Wasn’t Jesus Christ accused of using subversive rhetoric against the Roman Empire? Hasn’t Obama been accused by far-right wing conservatives, most Republicans, and even some Democrats as being a Socialist? And for one to deem Obama a socialist would suggest, in terms of the ideological understanding of the U.S. government, that the Barack is also a culprit of sedition.  This, in my liberally narrow view of the nuances of the politics of government would be considered a form of sedition because of the president’s alleged socialist views, which, in Karl Marx’s definition, is an in-between time between capitalism and communism and calls for the redistribution of wealth to the masses—which would inadvertently challenge the socioeconomic and political hierarchical structure that inundates American politics, society, and the nation’s History.  How dare the POTUS even think to deconstruct and reconstruct the hierarchical structure that has worked so well for capitalistic America?—(insert laughter and hyperlink satire here)  

  Secondly, both Christ and Obama have been posited throughout History as messiahs who have come to rid the world of sins and restore the morality of humanity while offering salvation and an afterlife in Heaven.  By no means do I believe that Obama is comparable to Christ in the theological context of “washing away” the sins of man and offering man a place in the Heavens, yet in the 21st century American context, the election of a bi-racial and visually aestheticized Negro, Barack Obama was, and in some people’s eyes, particularly Black Americans and liberal whites, is the personification, and a living testimony of what America was always meant to be:  a land void of race and appearance as a societal hindrance, a nation in which anyone from any circumstances can rise to great heights, achieve great feats, and loves all. 
The POTUS was supposed to heal the hood and ‘save’ Blacks from the dastardly ills of inner-city life by the mere winning of the 2008 Presidential Election.  He was supposed to be the laser that was to destroy over four centuries of racism in a land that is now the United States of America.  A messiah for not only Black America, but a messiah for those Americans who tend to say that Blacks that still speak out and speak against racism are ‘race baiters’ and often say the proverbial, “Get over it,”  “Move on,” or “It’s the past, so leave it there.”  He was proof that there are no hard feelings towards Americans of the darker hue.  There couldn’t be, could there?  Non-Blacks and Non-Biracial Americans voted him into office, right?
Briefly let me further delve into another similarity between the Christ and Obama.  Just as Jesus was rejected by the Jews, so has Barack been opposed by his own people à la Isaiah 53:3 (KJV) which states, “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.  And have we as the American audience seen not only Blacks, but Americans as a whole reject the POTUS?  Common sense would tell us that the highest political office in the nation would lead Obama to endure the sorrows and hardships of the citizens of this nation.  When his slogan of “hope and change” is mocked by political analysts and laymen alike, do we not believe this causes the man grief?  As odd as it may seem, in my thirty-four years on this planet, I have never seen the POTUS referenced by his first or last name without the esteemed title of ‘President’ preceding it as much as I have in the last 44 months (“..and we esteemed him not.”).  Is it because of his aesthetic being a visual aid for his blackness?  Sure, he is biracial, yet he looks like a Negro.  You be the judge.  I don’t want to be accused of ‘race baiting.’ 
It seems as if the nation, both Black and white, liberal and conservative, Democratic, Republican, or Independent, are telling the nation, the Negro has had his chance.  Why would any other person of color even want to pursue the office of the President?  You will be criticized and poked and prodded daily.  Not that other presidents didn’t endure the same treatment, but it is much more intense when you share the lineage with those who have been stereotyped as the U.S.’ stepchild  via slavery, Jim Crow, and de facto racism.  Hell, even Jesse Jackson, a respected Civil Rights leader and harbinger in Black (presidential) politics was recorded saying he wanted to “cut his nuts off”.  (talk about being rejected by your own people).  High profile Black entertainers, scholars, and members of the nation’s intelligentsia have even come out voicing their uber-criticism of the man’s every move and nuance of his administration’s agenda (e.g. Lupe Fiasco, Cornel West, Boyce Watkins, Tavis Smiley to name a few). 
He’s been attacked by white and Black sociopolitical critics for not attending every Black Caucus or NAACP event or Smiley’s State of the Black Unions, yet don’t we as a people want the man to be the President of all the people, not just some?  I know I do, even though I have been critical of his failure to, in my assessment, adequately address racism and the effects thereof since his time in office, but I’m coming around, folks.  I am trying to become more understanding of what it is to be unbiased and hopefully President Obama’s detractors, on both sides of the sociopolitical aisle, can do the same.  Yes, he’s been a savior, a messiah-of-sorts, particularly for the Black American psyche.  He’s debunked the myth that a Negro could never become the POTUS.  He’s exhibited that a Black man can have fidelity and equality in his marriage.  He’s destroyed the myth of the absentee Black father.  In essence, he can always be upheld as the Black exception to ‘the rule.’ 
  With the aforementioned being said, I doubt the nation will ever elect another Black President, simply because no other Black American would willingly endure what Obama has endured in nearly four years, and the mere electing of a Negroidian American only catapults the issue of race in America to the forefront of the American psyche, and I do not believe America can deal with the issue head on again.  Well, maybe for “four more years.”  See you all in November when the POTUS’ national popularity will be resurrected if only for one night.   Peace to the Righteous. 
                                                                                       - Gee Joyner