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The Sound of Ideas

Obama, Race and America’s Future

Posted Friday, November 7, 2008

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Obama, Race and America’s Future This week “black power” took on an entirely different meaning than it has ever had as the United States selected an African-American to hold the most powerful job in the nation. Obama did not play up his mixed race status, but his victory clearly broadens the aspirations of African-Americans and gives a greater ring of truth to the words of the Declaration of Independence. A new America? Join us Friday morning at 9 on The Sound of Ideas®. Image courtesy The Plain Dealer

Tags

Arts and Culture, Government/Politics, Other, Ethics/Religion

Guests

Louis Stokes, Former Congressman, United States House of Representatives
Subodh Chandra, Lawyer, Voting Rights Activist and Obama Delegate
Carleen Basler, Assistant Professor of American Studies and Sociology
Tim Burke, Chair, Hamilton County Democratic Party, Board of Elections Member

Additional Information

America's History Gives Way to Its Future, By Kevin Merida, Washington Post
2008 General Election Results, AP

Show Response:
My husband asked that I email your program regarding the discussion what Obama will do in office. Or, more importantly how he plans on doing the things he wants to accomplish. My husband told me that no one has mentioned Obama's plan to utilize his online base as a way to involve the public by sending messages via the web and "community organizing" in such a way that involves all Americans. This is a very important message that needs to be understand. We all own this election. Barack said "Let's get to work". This is one woman who is anxiously awaiting my first email from President Obama telling me what I can do for my country.
Heather

It's really ridiculous how some people are responding to the election. Both your callers and panel have discussed how President Elect Obama can now stick it to the current administration by either rolling back everything they've done for eight years, or, indicting them. This demonstrates an approach that is exactly opposite of what President Elect Obama campaigned on. He will not lead us by exclusively looking to the past eight years and we will not move forward by engaging our political opponents as enemies who are just too stupid to agree with us. America may be ready for a minority president but it's apparently far from prepared for a politics of tolerance, understanding and compromise.
Cory

I wonder why the issue of racial prejudice is not being applied to the black voters. How many didn't vote for McCain because he's white? Clearly by the statistics presented in the newspapers, blacks voted color, not issues and policies.
Stan, Brecksville

My 9 year old daughter is biracial, black/asian. She is short
for her age. Our family is atheist.
The day after the election, at breakfast, my daughter suggested that she, as a short, girl minority athesist, Obama's election might make it easier for someone like her to be president!

Hazel

Certainly the election of President Elect Obama is a wonderful milestone for our country that will address some of the racism in this country, but it is not an end to prejudice and discrimination in our country. The ceiling has been cracked, but it is not broken. While we elected our first African American president, we had four states deny basic rights to the gay/lesbian community. Our own state did this four years ago. Obama is perhaps a first step, but only that. Division is alive and well in the United States.
John, Ohio City

With respect, Ms. Brett, this is an exceedingly welcome and almost unbelievable breakthrough and I worked here in Cleveland to help make it happen. However, it is not breaking the last glass ceiling. As has happened throughout our American history, before a woman breaks through the glass ceiling, a black man precedes her.
Barbara

Here is what Obama and every winning politician knows.
Political power comes from:
1. Money
2. Volunteers
3. Money
To the extent you can move ANY of these - you are a player. Whenever anyone makes a demand - the unspoken corollary being evaluated by the person(s) to whom the demand is put is - 'what if I don't?' If the answer to that is; a couple of protest marches and a week of bad publicity...well, you know the rest.
Blacks give < 1% of all the political money that is given.
Our POLITICAL volunteerism (appears) to be under representative of our 13% slice of the population. (And if you compute it to our % of the Democratic electorate; over time, it is still bad. - The Obama phenomenon will not be assumed to be a trend by the Democratic Gray Beards).
BOTH sides know that blacks have averaged around 90% democratic voting habits. This time it was 97% - 98%. The problem with this is - when you use your ONLY political weapon so totally predictably (for 45 years), you have effectively given away most of what leverage you may have had.
If you accept this (power) premise - how then do you go about holding ANY politician accountable?
We have willingly followed our "leaders" into and around the political desert for 45 years now...That does not seem about to change.
Now you line up all the liberals...old and new, who will understandably hail their new king...I think Obama is going to surprise and disappoint A LOT of them.
He knows (inspite of his liberal leanings), that the War on Poverty with all of it's giveaways and lack of personal accountability and responsibility was not just a failure but a significant precipitant in the continuing downward spiral of blacks and THE BLACK FAMILY UNIT.
Plus, the country is unwilling to write that check again.
It is as it was; UP TO US to become the parents we need to be...to NOT become parents before we are ready...to stop this neutral ethicism that disallows a STRAIGHT FORWARD admission - that will allow the essential discussion we must have about our own role in our own plight.

Mark, Akron

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