[StBernard] Anne Wortham - No He Can't

Westley Annis Westley at da-parish.com
Sun May 17 10:45:45 EDT 2009

Anne Wortham is Associate Professor of Sociology at Illinois State
University and continuing Visiting Scholar at Stanford University 's Hoover
Institution. She is a member of the American Sociological Association and
the American Philosophical Association. She has been a John M. Olin
Foundation Faculty Fellow, and honored as a Distinguished Alumni of the Year
by the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education. In
fall 1988 she was one of a select group of intellectuals who were featured
in Bill Moyer's television series, "A World of Ideas." The transcript of her
conversation with Moyers has been published in his book, A World of Ideas.
Dr. Wortham is author of The Other Side of Racism: A Philosophical Study of
Black Race Consciousness which analyzes how race consciousness is
transformed into political strategies and policy issues. She has published
numerous articles on the implications of individual rights for civil rights
policy, and is currently writing a book on theories of social and cultural
marginality. Recently, she has published articles on the significance of
multiculturalism and Afrocentricism in education, the politics of
victimization and the social and political impact of political correctness.
Shortly after an interview in 2004 she was awarded tenure.

This article by her is something else.

Fellow Americans,

Please know: I am black; I grew up in the segregated South. I did not vote
for Barack Obama; I wrote in Ron Paul's name as my choice for president.
Most importantly, I am not race conscious. I do not require a black
president to know that I am a person of worth, and that life is worth
living. I do not require a black president to love the ideal of America .

I cannot join you in your celebration. I feel no elation. There is no smile
on my face. I am not jumping with joy. There are no tears of triumph in my
eyes. For such emotions and behavior to come from me, I would have to deny
all that I know about the requirements of human flourishing and survival -
all that I know about the history of the United States of America , all that
I know about American race relations, and all that I know about Barack Obama
as a politician. I would have to deny the nature of the "change" that Obama
asserts has come to America . Most importantly, I would have to abnegate my
certain understanding that you have chosen to sprint down the road to
serfdom that we have been on for over a century. I would have to pretend
that individual liberty has no value for the success of a human life. I
would have to evade your rejection of the slender reed of capitalism on
which your success and mine depend. I would have to think it somehow
rational that 94 percent of the 12 million blacks in this country voted for
a man because he looks like them (that blacks are permitted to play the race
card), and that they were joined by self-declared "progressive" whites who
voted for him because he doesn't look like them. I would have to wipe my
mind clean of all that I know about the kind of people who have advised and
taught Barack Obama and will fill posts in his administration - political
intellectuals like my former colleagues at the Harvard University's Kennedy
School of Government.

I would have to believe that "fairness" is the equivalent of justice. I
would have to believe that man who asks me to "go forward in a new spirit of
service, in a new service of sacrifice" is speaking in my interest. I would
have to accept the premise of a man that economic prosperity comes from the
"bottom up," and who arrogantly believes that he can will it into existence
by the use of government force. I would have to admire a man who thinks the
standard of living of the masses can be improved by destroying the most
productive and the generators of wealth.

Finally, Americans, I would have to erase from my consciousness the scene of
125,000 screaming, crying, cheering people in Grant Park, Chicago
irrationally chanting "Yes We Can!" Finally, I would have to wipe all memory
of all the times I have heard politicians, pundits, journalists,
editorialists, bloggers and intellectuals declare that capitalism is dead -
and no one, including especially Alan Greenspan, objected to their
assumption that the particular version of the anti-capitalistic mentality
that they want to replace with their own version of anti-capitalism is
anything remotely equivalent to capitalism.

So you have made history, Americans. You and your children have elected a
black man to the office of the president of the United States , the wounded
giant of the world. The battle between John Wayne and Jane Fonda is over -
and that Fonda won. Eugene McCarthy and George McGovern must be very happy
men. Jimmie Carter, too. And the Kennedys have at last gotten their Kennedy
look-a-like. The self-righteous welfare statists in the suburbs can feel
warm moments of satisfaction for having elected a black person. So, toast
yourselves: 60s countercultural radicals, 80s yuppies and 90s bourgeois
bohemians. Toast yourselves, Black America. Shout your glee Harvard,
Princeton , Yale, Duke, Stanford, and Berkeley. You have elected not an
individual who is qualified to be president, but a black man who, like the
pragmatist Franklin Roosevelt, promises to - Do Something! You now have
someone who has picked up the baton of Lyndon Johnson's Great Society. But
you have also foolishly traded your freedom and mine - what little there is
left - for the chance to feel good.

There is nothing in me that can share your happy obliviousness.


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