Sen Obama is the latest politician to use race as a divisive issue in this campaign. In his “race speech” yesterday he spoke of slavery and discrimination as ills passed on to us by the founding fathers. He asked whites to ” acknowledge that what ails the black community does not exist in the minds of black people; that the legacy of discrimination are real and must be addressed.” He blamed the “middle class squeeze” on corporate America and its need/greed for profit and said that white resentment of minorities flows from these “culprits” who are sending jobs overseas and/or into poorer countries of color. He blamed the past for the black community not having more millionaires, saying “legalized discrimination meant black families could not amass any meaningful wealth to bequeath future generations.” and this “lack of economic opportunity and the shame and frustration that came from not being able to provide..contributed to the erosion of the black families.” And he excused his pastor’s comments by saying that this is the culture that Rev Wright grew up in.
His option of coming together to say “Not this Time” to divisive politics is based on the idea that whites bear a burden of responsibility for what is happening today in schools, heath-care and the world. While professing a belief in the can do, self help attitude of America during his speech, Sen Obama maintained that society can only change with more money and ironically more government control in health-care, education and other societal issues.
Unfortunately, Sen Obama’s dream of a more perfect union can’t be bought. It also can not come about by blaming the past for the ills of American society today. The only way a more perfect union can come about is to forget race and gender and age and focus on the issues that are important to everyone. After we identify those issues it is up to us, as individuals not races, to pursue happiness, not expect it from our government.