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Thursday, November 1, 2012

SIMPLE SOLUTION ESSAYS: Barack Obama is Gray


The other day, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser on page A5 headlined


The reporters cited polls indicating that 48% of Americans in 2008 showed explicit anti-black attitudes, while 51% do today.  Interestingly enough, the figures for views on Hispanics were 52% (2011) and 57% (2012).  Racial prejudice has increased in the four years of Barack Obama's presidency.  More specifically, the authors indicated that these feelings will hurt Obama against Mitt Romney next week.

In the previous presidential election the situation was even more polarized, as our Nation had never had a Black president.  We still don't, for Barack Obama is black and white, or gray.   So in my continuing effort to serialize my Book 3,  SIMPLE SOLUTIONS ESSAYS, this is the article I posted in the Huffington Post four years ago.


When I first heard Barack Obama speak at the 2004 Democratic Convention, even though he was yet a mere Illinois state senator, I was impressed.  Learning that he was born and largely grew up in Honolulu sealed the deal.  On 9October08 I felt compelled to point out what I thought was the only way he could lose to John McCain.  Actually, my first draft was to call him platinum, to cast a glossy sheen to his potential.  But I settled on the color mix, gray.

Barack Obama is Gray


My very first HuffPost a few months ago was entitled “Well, Barack, We have a Problem.” It was a wishful paean in search of the individual perhaps best suited to save our planet from global warming, while galavanizing world peace. In a Ray Bradbury Sound of Thunder reversal, I have come full-circle back to Barack Obama, but to a harsh real world on the verge of something worse than a recession.

Towards the end of CNN's post-presidential debate discussion on October 7, David Gergen declared it was too early to proclaim Barack Obama the victor of the 2008 presidential race simply because Obama was black. Polls are not totally believable, said Gergen, and Obama's blackness may cost him as much as six points. Gergen will be criticized, no doubt, for dealing this racial card, but he injected a very crucial point. This might well be the only factor left standing in the way of an Obama presidency.

Obama had his Reverend Jeremiah Wright (photo on left), Khalid Al-Mansour and Tony Rezko. John McCain has been linked to the Keating Five, is on his second marriage and was operated on for melanoma in 2000. Nothing much is left to uncover. Yes, there is the upcoming third debate, but no game-changing surprises are anticipated.

The numbers are such that Obama should win. Yet, as that venerable Yankee catcher Lawrence Peter Berra might have said, "It will never happen until it happens." A non-white person has never been elected president of the United States. 

Pundits like to point out the Bradley and Wilder Effects, when black candidates for governor lost even though polls showed them ahead at the end. Gergen knows all this, and when I observed him making that fatal statement, his facial and body language seemed to be that of a positively concerned observer who very carefully felt compelled to blurt out this almost verboten fact. In my mind he did Obama a great favor. He hammered home the first nail on McCain's campaign coffin.

By all common sense, the people of the Nation should mostly vote for Obama on November 4:

1. Obama is 47; McCain is 72. Because of his bout with cancer, there are reports available hinting that McCain had only a 65% chance of surviving into the year 2010.

2. Obama graduated #1 in his Harvard Law class; McCain was 894th out of 899 at the Naval Academy. If you were rating heart surgeons to operate on you, which medical equivalent would you choose?

3. Joseph Biden has a Juris Doctorate from Syracuse University; Sarah Palin meandered through five colleges over a six-year period, to finally graduate from the University of Idaho in journalism.

4. McCain supports President Bush in Iraq and the economy; Obama is for change.

5. Obama won the first two presidential debates over McCain.

The list can go on and on, but 66% of Americans are white and 13% black. All things being equal, people tend to vote their ethnicity. Hawaii has only minorities, but Filipinos vote for Filipino candidates and Japanese for Japanese. A person running for office actually gains when of mixed race, for a Chinese-Hawaiian will get most of the Chinese and Hawaiian votes.

This is where Barack Obama should have a huge advantage, for he is both black and white: his father is a PhD Kenyan, and his white mother was born in the heartlands of Kansas. Because she was busy saving the world in the Pacific and gaining her PhD at the University of Hawaii, Barack was in large part reared by her two white parents, and in Hawaii, where, again, there are only minorities. We are not a perfect society here, but equality trumps prejudice in our mélange melting pot.

There is a simple solution for the Obama campaign. Neutralize the Bradley/Wilder effect from the decision-making equation. Just make sure that the American populace knows that Barack Obama is Gray, or, better yet, both black and white, tinged with a variety of other colors from his upbringing and experience.  If nothing else, Obama now has grayer hair:


Comments (4):  There were only 4 responses, but I thought I’d share mine--

I was chided that Obama did not really graduate #1 in his Harvard Law class. They changed the ranking system in the 70's and editor in chief of the Harvard Law Review does not now automatically mean that person heads the class. Sorry. However, what a feat to even be admitted to Harvard Law, then, becoming an editor, and finally, editor-in-chief, or number #1 editor. The part about McCain being #894 out of #899 at Annapolis, apparently, is perfectly accurate. Incidentally, I am disappointed that, while I got all kinds of personal comments from my reading audience, the only ones that made this posting had to do with the Keating Five. Is that what interests HuffPo readers? If so, that is, indeed, sad.

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