By Joe Ortiz
Barack Obama is riding on a meteoric carpet ride to become the nation’s next President, and his main message is that he is the best qualified to unite our country! He has promised to unite not only the US Congress and the US Senate, but all Americans, black and white, liberals and conservatives, rich and poor and red states versus blue states. His message is resonating and inspiring thousands of people, mostly the young and educated and, of course the black community.
Obama’s rhetorical chant of “change we can believe in” speeches remind me of the same ones we activists heard when we were involved in the early 60’s civil rights era and the anti-Viet Nam war movement. Many of those who are becoming motivated (and inspired) by his charismatic speeches were not around when truly inspirational leaders were basically extolling the same message; charismatic leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King, Caesar Chavez, Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, Jessie Jackson, Medgar Evers, Angela Davis, Andrew Young and many other (lesser known) leaders who have been fighting for civil rights in the trenches in the barrios and ghettos of America decades before Obama entered this arena.
Based on the last seven years of the polarizing exploits of George W. Bush, any message about “change” will obviously move an exasperatingly and frustrated electorate. Obviously, whether John McCain or Mitt Romney, or whether Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama is elected, their will be change from the dictatorial and insensitive regime of George W. Bush.
But will there be “change that we can believe in”? Obama believes he can do it! But how? He gives great and glowing speeches that he can accomplish this, but never tells us how!
How does Obama plan to bring about this unity? Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives, blacks and whites, rich and poor have always been divided by the dichotomies of race, gender, financial status, religion and red and blue state regions. Does he believe he can merely say “Please” to elected leaders from the other side of the aisle and they will jump and say, “Whatever you want Barack” without a fight? Does Obama believe that the political dichotomous turfs that have been in place for over a two hundred years will suddenly disappear because he extolled inspirational chants that “There is no such thing as liberal or conservatives, red or blue states, that we are all Americans?”
Does he believe, for example, that he can bring about calm and productive discussions with The Minutemen, the vigilante group of American citizens who are standing guard at the Mexican borders, with Mexican American citizens to mutually agree on the philosophical reasons as to why they actively guard the US-Mexican borders? Can he unite these vigilantes who claim they are there to protect America from and capture individuals who ostensibly want to re-conquer America and take back the land that was once Mexico? Will Obama set up meetings between the rich folks in the Hamptons with poor blacks who have been removed from their homes destroyed by Katrina, to discuss how the stock market is fairing? Will Obama inspire the thousands of Iranian, Pakistani, Jordanian and other Middle Eastern Muslims living in the US to have regular Sunday-go-meeting picnics with Jewish members of numerous Synagogues in New York and Los Angeles to discuss the customs and interpretative variances in their respective religions? Will Obama inspire members of the ACLU to meet with Christian right wing evangelicals to adopt a compromise of the Gay Marriage issue? Are these perplexing questions?
What is even more disconcerting is how journalists and media pundits throughout the land have failed to ask Obama these questions. They comment how inspirational Obama’s speeches are, always mentioning the huge throng at Obama rallies, but never, ever asking him the nuts and bolts question:
“Barack! Exactly and specifically how do you plan to unite the Congress, red and blue states, black, brown and whites, liberals and conservatives, rich and the poor? Give us some specifics, Barack!”
But they don’t! Most of them (journalists and pundits) have been felled by the same rhetoric that existed 45 years ago, but too few of them were courageous enough to embrace it back then. Many, such as Chris Matthews of MSNBC, have become so enamored by Obama’s rhetoric, that they swoon on every word he states and give him a pass by not asking him these questions. Matthews, in one of his shows, projected his obvious preference for Obama as he mocked Hillary Clinton when she was on stage for clapping her hands along with an audience she was introduced to.
”What is all that hand clapping all about?” Matthews smirked.
Obama does the same thing all the time whenever he is introduced and Matthews fails to mention that idiosyncrasy.
Many of us veteran civil rights activists who have been fighting in the trenches for over forty to fifty years, to remedy the injustices of racial discrimination, employment inequality and lack of active participation in the American dream, have heard the Pollyannaish rhetoric before. Many of us truly believed in our hearts the great dreams of Dr. Martin Luther King. Many of us believed that we could change the minds of the establishment to change their hearts and judge us by our character rather than the color of our skin, or the variance in our culture and language. While some gains have been made through active involvement within the system, today’s media evoke the harsh realities of a jaded and still xenophobic citizenry. For one, the anti-immigration discussion glaringly has turned into one of the meanest and most heinous attacks against members of the human race ever experienced in history, not seen since the attempted annihilation of Native Americans.
Sadly, many of us would like to seriously believe that Obama’s Messianic message was being felt and accepted by the masses; that the establishment (those who control the military industrial complex) would see the light, would repent and use their vast wealth to overcome poverty and racial discrimination, once and for all. It will never happen. No! This is not pessimism! It’s realism!
Besides, Jesus said, the poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. (Matthew 26:11 (New International Version).
There is only one person who truly cares for the poor: Jesus! He told us that, the poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. (Matthew 26:11 (New International Version). If more people had Him in their lives and trusted in Him, Jesus Christ (Christ means Messiah), hunger and poverty would come to an end, peace and harmony would prevail throughout the world. Those who know and trust Jesus Christ (the only true Messiah) do not believe that mankind is willing to repent and truly love Him and their neighbor and share in his burden. There are a few who truly care, but they are not politicians. Many of us do believe in Christ do not trust nor believe in the rhetorical messianic promises of mere mortals, especially politicians. Regardless of how smooth and promising the speeches of politicians like Obama make to the voters, claiming he can unite the masses, and instill a positive change in American politics and throughout the world, many can see through this empty rhetoric. They (true believers and followers of Christ know that the true unification (of not only Americans but) people and races throughout the entire world, for that matter, can only be accomplished by the only true messiah they can trust. No, it will not be Barack Obama, but Jesus Christ, Himself!
Joe Ortiz is the first Mexican American to ever host an English-language talk show on a commercial radio station. He is the author of two recently published books, The End Times Passover, and Why Christians Will Suffer Great Tribulation, published by Author House.