I collect political memorabilia. As I looked through my junk last night I realized how much we have changed.
I have a George Wallace neck tie from his 1968 run at the Presidency. It is a thin white tie with bold red letters horizontally positioned that reads Wallace ’68. Twenty years ago I attached a campaign button to the Wallace tie – it reads Jesse Jackson ’88.
Barack Obama is not George Wallace and he is not Jesse Jackson. Wallace and Jackson were both polarizing candidates – each had agendas based on race. Al Sharpton’s agenda is dependent on continued racial divide – his bread and butter comes from segregation rather than true integration. Sharpton is an embarrassment to his race and to the principles of America.
Obama fulfills the hopes and dreams of W.E.B. DuBois. DuBois was the intellectual Black leader of the early 20th Century. DuBois wrote “The Soul of Black Folk” in 1903. He talked about the difficulty of being both Black and American – his term was the ‘two-ness’ of race and nationality.
Obama is both Black and American. Jackson and Sharpton are Black men who happen to live in America – they have never embraced their nationality. Unity is not about either/or logic. Unity is about inclusiveness – and Obama personifies the dream of DuBois.
The time is now.
Today we catch a glimpse of what the dream looks like in the 21st Century.