Barack Obama may have secured the Democratic nomination for president, but I don't think he will ever see the inside of the White House except as a visitor.
He has two things going against him. He's African-American, and he's way too liberal for most Americans. Barring a gargantuan blunder by the Republican candidate, John McCain, those two factors will put Obama on the short end of the vote count.
Race is a factor in America, though no one is going to admit to being prejudiced to a pollster or a journalist. Nevertheless, I believe there remains a substantial number of people who simply will not vote to put an African-American in the White House.
Presidential races are won by stitching together percentages of constituencies. Unlike the Democratic nomination process, the general election is a winner-take-all system. In close races, small constituencies can mean the difference between winning and losing a state's electoral votes.
Obama has been very clever by holding rallies in places like Iowa, Minnesota and Oregon. What do these states have in common? They are white, liberal states with a very small percentage of black residents. Contrary to TV ads, which like to blame parents for teaching their children to be prejudiced, most people develop their prejudices based on their personal experiences.
A very liberal friend of mine confided one day that he was shocked when his middle-school son said to him, "Daddy, I hate (N-word)." When questioned, it turned out that a few African-American thugs were waylaying younger white kids in the restroom, beating them up and stealing their lunch money. The spineless school administrators had done nothing to stop it.
So this is a case in point. The boy had been taught from childhood not to be prejudiced. They had lived in California and had contact with few African-Americans. So the lesson was all theoretical. Moving into the South, however, gave this kid his first person-to-person experience with African-Americans, and it was, in his case, a bad one.
The point being, in states where blacks and whites interact, there is bound to be more friction. Don't be fooled by the la-la land created on television. Some whites don't like blacks. Some blacks don't like whites. I would like to be wrong, but I don't think we've yet reached the nirvana the TV pundits are proclaiming. Obama's win was historic, but so was emancipation, and we all know what happened after that historic event.
I've been leery of Sen. McCain because he seems inclined to bomb Iran. However, now that Obama has sold out to the Israeli lobby, that's a moot point. Furthermore, there is not a stupid idea about gun control that Obama hasn't supported either verbally or with his vote.
The Second Amendment was not written for duck hunters. It was written for self-defense and for defense against tyranny. Obama ought to talk to some of the people who survived the civil-rights revolution about how they stayed up all night with their private firearms to protect their families. He ought to research the old Jim Crow laws, which banned blacks from owning certain kinds of firearms.
If my choice is between a guy who may bomb Iran and one who shows such contempt for the Constitution as to support gun control, then the Iranians need to start working on their bomb shelters. A man ignorant of or contemptuous of the Second Amendment cannot be trusted to obey any of the Bill of Rights. He cannot be trusted to appoint sensible judges. Americans need to send a clear message to all politicians that our rights are non-negotiable.
If people think the Second Amendment is archaic, then try to repeal it. Until then, it is as binding as the rest of the Constitution and must be respected.
June 9, 2008
Charley Reese [send him mail] has been a journalist for 49 years.
© 2008 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.