Welcome to Operation Reach B.L.A.C.K.

Operation Reach B.L.A.C.K. is a Pan-African Blog with an acronym that stands for Building Leadership Awareness and Cultural Knowledge.

The goal of this blog is to become a "Blog of Black Thought" focusing on matters of social, economic and political awareness through education (re-education), self-affirmation and cultural expression. Above all, this blog will DEMAND respect and appreciation for one another as black men and women.

Got something to say? Feel free to visit and comment on past posts. You can also email this site at opreachblack@gmail.com and follow on Twitter @reachblack.


(Opinions, Observations, and Commentary)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Losing My Religion

Clinton Condescension 2008

Life is bigger. It's bigger than you. . . (REM, Losing My Religion)

Could someone please say this to the Clintons?

Senator Clinton keeps saying that "[Democrats] will all be united in November." Both Senator Obama and former Senator Edwards have also said as much in the past week (although with much less enthusiasm).

It smacks of a certain level of arrogance; this idea that, regardless of what gets said, Democrats will line up, like good little boys and girls, and vote for whoever the Democratic nominee is, especially if that nominee is Bill . .. excuse me, I mean Hillary Clinton.

But why should I be surprised. The Clintons are banking on the belief that we'll always come back. After all, we don't know any better, right? I mean, how could we live without the Clintons? Where would we be without the Clintons? How could life go on without the Clintons back in the White House? Indeed, if you buy into the spin of the Clinton campaign, you’ll slowly but surely start to believe that there is no other way. We love our Clintons like a child loves his parents . . . LIKE REPUBLICANS LOVE BUSH! We love the Clintons UNCONDITIONALLY. And that’s the problem.

Campaigns rarely focus on the power ordinary Americans have to be agents of change. No, that’s always someone else’s job. Likewise, Hillary Clinton’s campaign has promoted the notion that the capacity for change is an external phenomenon. The problem is that the major appeal of the Clinton Campaign is the Clintons themselves. It is an appeal that, by definition, is inherently and exclusively Clintonian. At least that’s how the Clinton camp portrays it. Senator Clinton provides a resume to the American people and asks us to embrace where she’s been rather than anticipate where we’re going.

And this is where "politics as usual" rears its ugly head...where "conventional wisdom" overshadows idealism; where the "reality check" trumps hope; and where we end up with the exact same type of politician that we claim to despise.

It’s always too good to be true isn’t it? It’s never the right time, is it? In truth, we’re compelled to postpone "change" for some other time. That’s what we call the inevitability factor, a factor that plays predominately throughout Senator Clinton’s campaign. Rank and file Democrats know their marching orders . . . it's time fall in line and wait for your crumbs (umm . . . I mean piece) of the Democratic pie. Save hope for some other day.

This “kiss and make up” attitude is a disingenuous ploy to serve the betterment of one person and one person only. It has NOTHING to do with the sake of the Democratic Party, but EVERYTHING to do with staving off a significant DEMOCRATIC backlash against one would-be nominee, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

It doesn't make any sense, but who are we to question the Clinton orthodoxy? The Clintons work in mysterious ways. They giveth political power and they taketh away. Sorry Democrats, it's not your place to question. Just have faith that Mama and Papa Clinton know best.

Like overbearing parents, the Clintons have demonstrated that they will smother their precious creation before they ever let someone else take it from them. The paternalistic tirades of President Clinton over past few weeks evoke images of a father fighting his son for the title, “Man of the House.” Even more disturbing, Bill’s unapologetic antics; his willingness to ignore the concerns of loyal, black voters; and his complete disregard for the future of the Democratic Party, suggests a well known paternal foreboding to anyone who thinks they’re big enough to test Papa Clinton . . . “I brought you in this world, and I’ll take you out!” Save hope for some other day.

Senator Clinton’s tone is slightly different. Though equally condescending, her approach is more maternalistic. Her warning to baby Democrats who’d dare challenge her entitlement to the White House: "Wait till your father gets home!" Hillary would rather not show her teeth in this primary campaign. So, rather than take Obama head on, Hillary chooses to raise warning flags at every possible turn. She doesn’t attack Obama because she hates him. She attacks him because she’s scared of what the Republicans might do to him in the Fall. She calls his hope false hope because . . . well, baby Obama just doesn’t know what he’s getting himself into. Her condescension of Senator Obama is just as clear as her husband’s. She’s proud of her little baby Obama. He gets a pat on the back for making Democrats feel good about themselves. Even more, Senator Clinton probably thinks it’s cute that Obama has ambitions of being President when he grows up. But he’s just not ready. Obama’s adorable when he dresses up and plays President. But this is just not his time. No. Mama Clinton isn’t ready to let baby Obama out of the nest just yet. Once again, save hope for some other day.

Fat chance of seeing “some other day” materialize any time soon. Try getting anything done in 2016 when partisan Republicans, through Clinton backlash, regain control of the House and Senate beginning in 2010. Eight more years of 90s partisanship and Clinton fatigue will surely handicap whichever Democrat finds him or herself as the Democratic nominee once Bill and Hillary have had another stay at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. But hey, by then maybe Jeb Bush will be ready to assume the Presidency. Gotta keep that Bush/Clinton dynasty going!

The divisions within the Party are getting deeper and more personal. It’s the idealists vs. the pragmatists; young vs. old; hope vs. experience; those who want to change vs. those who want to win; and women vs. Blacks vs. Latinos. It spells doom for the Democrats come November. But Bill and Hillary could care less because the Clintons are only concerned about winning. Damn the consequences.

But, once again, Mommy and Daddy Clinton know what’s best for the rest of us. As New York Times Columnist, Maureen Dowd, accurately notes,

"If Bill Clinton has to trash his legacy to protect his legacy, so be it. If he has to put a dagger through the heart of hope to give Hillary hope, so be it. If he has to preside in this state as the former first black president stopping the would-be first black president, so be it."

But to this day, many progressives continue to look the other way; knowing fully well that if Bush, Giuliani, Huckabee or some other conservative were spouting the same garbage, they’d be the first to organize the next March on Washington.

But I guess that’s the power of unconditional love. The Clintons are a religion to many rank-and-file Democrats. They’re favorite commandment: Obey thy mother and father. Their second favorite commandment: thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thus, an Obama candidacy (or any other Democratic candidacy for that matter) is more than a fairy-tale . . . it’s BLASPHEMY.

But I, for one, am losing my religion. I will not be voting for Hillary Clinton, whether now or in the general election. Their increasingly condescending and paternalistic relationship with the African American community is unhealthy. Their (legitimate) fear of losing this nomination has made their selfish motives even more transparent. In the 90s the Clintons said “we feel your pain.” Now, the Clintons are quick to tell us to just get over it.

And, make no mistake about it, the Clintons know exactly what they are doing. Of all people, President Clinton, having based much of his legacy in a familiarity with African-American culture, should be more than empathetic to sensitivities of race and the Southern strategy that he claims to be ignorant of today. Senator Clinton is no better. Nor is she innocent. Her role in this good cop/bad cop melodrama is just as calculated and divisive. Remember that Bill campaigns on behalf of his wife. He is not some rogue surrogate; he is Hillary’s chief adviser. Bill is the agent and Hillary is the principal. As such, I hold them both equally accountable.

But, after all of this, Hillary is confident that the Democrats will be united come November. Don’t count on it. A smack in the face is a smack in the face. It doesn’t matter whether it’s coming from a staunch conservative or a fair-weather liberal. This bruise will not heal easily. It certainly won’t heal by November. And maybe that's not such a bad thing after all. The terms "progressive" and "Democrat" have become more and more distant over the past few years. As such, I, like many other proud progressives, find myself in the strange position of being a liberal who doesn't like Bill or Hillary Clinton.

This primary might fracture the Democratic Party. However, it might also force a critical mass in the progressive wing of the Party to rethink their allegiance to a spineless Democratic politic. Who knows, we might have enough time to promote a change, third-party candidacy. Gore/Obama '08 anyone?

But, sadly, I'm done with the Clintons. I’ve defended them for years. But, unlike previous generations, I never pledged my unyielding devotion to the Church of Clinton. Mr. and Mrs. Clinton . . . life is bigger than you. The Democratic Party is bigger than you. Progressive politics is bigger than you. I lose my religion when I see such divisive politics, especially when race plays a central (although deliberately subtle) part in the attacks. I’m sorry Senator Clinton . . . with all due respect President Clinton . . . the Black community is not a rung on your ladder to success. And I, for one, cannot ignore your racial politics even though you happen to have a "(D)" at the end of your name. Barring the nomination of an extremely crazy Republican hell bent on blowing up half the globe, I will not cast a vote for the politics of fear and division that I see in the Clinton campaign.

Bill and Hillary Clinton: Your inability to accept responsibility for your words and actions; your willingness to blame other people for your shortcomings while never looking at yourselves; your lack of foresight; your refusal to acknowledge past mistakes; your God-complex; your extreme paranoia; your repulsive sense of entitlement; your legion of apologists; and your mastery of double-speech are all eerily similar to that of another "leader" . . . the present BUSH ADMINISTRATION. I didn't vote for Bush and I’m not voting for YOU.

Be Somebody,



  • Gregory says:
    February 2, 2008 at 8:05 PM

    Excellent post! I thought the paternalistic characterization of the Clinton duo was dead on!



Video: Perspective Piece