When it came to Cornell West and Tavis Smiley, their credentials were unimpeachable – they were the pinnacles of "blackness." So much so, in fact, even to jest about their commitment to the anti-societal issues of "blackness" used to divide people and foment discord would have been unthinkable – perhaps even heretical.
That is, until they dared challenge Obama to make good on his campaign promises to the black community. West dared to publicly characterize Obama's dealings with him as two-faced, rude and dismissive. He told how Obama had tried to intimidate and bully him. Smiley had become increasingly more critical of Obama for what has been viewed as his inattentiveness to the black man and, specifically, to black poverty.
The vituperations were swift in coming – they were set upon from every sector of liberal blackdom. How dare they criticize Obama? They were committing the ultimate sacrilege: They were black liberals of unassailable "blackness" criticizing the prince of "blackness" in public. And if that weren't bad enough, not only did they combine their efforts on a talk program, they also organized a 15-city "Poverty Tour" to bring attention to black poverty, the needy and the failings of Obama.
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Let me remind you that these are the royalty of Blackdom – this is the Jet Magazine and Ebony Magazine set hurling these epithets back and forth at each other. Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., and the Congressional Black Caucus have also begun parroting concerns about Obama's apparent disinterest with poverty in general and with the concerns of blacks specifically.
But there is something else I wonder about that just might be cooking under the surface of their actions. First let's look at how the battle lines are drawn. On one side you have Tom Joyner, one of the undisputed valedictorians and keepers of the flame of "blackness." On the same side are Al Sharpton, Steve Harvey, liberal opinion writers, liberal black bloggers and other members of the revered liberal black illuminati. But it's the other side I find compelling – the side criticizing Obama is comprised of West, Smiley, Louis Farrakhan, Jeremiah Wright, Maxine Waters and the Congressional Black Caucus, for starters.
The one thing Farrakhan, West and Wright share is a fundamental and philosophical commitment to anti-poverty rhetoric. The other thing they share is a philosophy about how to end it – socialism. Factor in that West and Farrakhan have long hoped for – indeed they have longed for – the kind of rioting and bloodshed in the streets Europe is experiencing. Factor as well that they believe this will happen precisely because the rich in America (read: white people) have built the nation and prospered on the backs and blood of black folks, and will one day be made to pay for it.
Maybe, just maybe, I'm seeing things differently than they really are, but this is an interesting alchemy of opposing allegiances. And while the one thing that, on the surface, seems to be dividing them, i.e., Obama, it's Obama and his philosophy that are drawing them together. Consider the possibility that the supposed consternation between the two sides is just theater.
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Here's a question. In any volatile, potentially incendiary situation, what is the one thing you need to set it off? If you answered a "spark," you win. Could it be that hidden deep behind what is seen there is a plot to provide the setting and the spark to bring about the rioting in the streets? You've got a CBC comprised of socialists and others with socialist philosophies, even if they haven't renewed their membership cards. Following this stream of "what ifs," suppose a spark is provided and the two opposing sides suddenly kiss and make up just as things start to erupt?
The bottom line is that Farrakhan, West, Wright and no few members of the CBC have long lived for the shedding of white blood in the streets by blacks fed up with being oppressed. When the Poverty Tour rolled through Chicago, they stopped at the radial racist socialist cleric Michael Pfleger's church.
From that platform, Smiley called the debt-ceiling legislation Obama signed "a declaration of war on the poor." Farrakhan, who was also in attendance said: "There will be blood on the streets," just as there was in 1960s when people rebelled against poverty. Farrakhan also said Obama needed to come home to his base. Others said that elitist Negroes had left out grass-roots blacks. And while this was going on, Steve Harvey was apologizing for his remarks, and others were making amends for criticizing West.
I'm not saying or even suggesting that I'm right in what I am allowing as a possibility, but I am saying there is more to this than meets the eye. I am also saying there is more to this than we are being told. I'm saying that somewhere between what we see and what they are telling us lies the truth. I'm also saying that when it comes to Farrakhan, Wright and Obama – nothing is as it seems.