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Monday, January 7, 2008

Colin Powell On Barack Obama:Enjoy The Ride

I like Colin Powell. Always have. I have elected to block out a certain speech at the UN about WMDs. This was a GRACEFUL, CLASSY and MAGNANIMOUS interview Powell gave to Tavis Smiley about Barack Obama. It is notable because it is in stark contrast to the old soldiers of the CRIC. Are you watching Andrew Young? Did you see that Rev. Al?

I have consistently rejected the argument by MANY of y'all who have said Black folks will be better off in an Obama administration than they will be in any of the other candidate's administrations. I don't think we will, but I am not going to lie and say this isn't fun to watch. From Oprah to Colin Powell, the cute Christmas commercial with the weeMichelles. Michelle out there representing. It is fun to watch.

I guess there is a part of me that wonders LOUDLY what an Obama administration is going to look like when an undercurrent to his campaign has been lauding his ability to keep Black folks and our "issues" (*cough* Black on Black crime *cough*)at arms length. As if by too closely embracing US, he will repel White voters. This may be a political reality, but that doesn't mean that it is any less hurtful. You have to remember that the people running his campaign will be running an Obama administration and will believe that his survival and success is predicated on his ability to move as far away from US as possible without alienating US. What does that mean for Black America on the day after Obama's inauguration? I know a lot of y'all are racial transcendentalists - You believe that we can transcend race if we just have enough hope. Maybe growing up surrounded by "sunset" towns is jading my ability to buy into the whole racial transcendentalist movement. Race still matters, even if not in the ways it has in the past.

I was a little Black girl whose idol was Barbara Jordan and I have donated money to candidates for no other reason than I wanted to support an African American seeking a statewide or national office for the first time. Because I knew that if seeing Barbara Jordan could change the course of my life, then seeing other African American people seek high office might cause some other little Black girl to believe that anything was possible. I get that. So like Colin Powell, I am enjoying watching all of this play out...from a distance. I would be enjoying it far more if I didn't feel like Delilah Johnson in the movie "Imitation of Life".

So while I may be offended by the Obama campaign's celebrated stiff-arm of the African American community and our "special interests", nobody is going to die as a result of being offended.

What people HAVE died from is the United States Senate abdicating its constitutional obligation to check the power of the executive branch and issue a blank check to wage war. The President has the power to wage war, but it is the Congress which must declare that there is a war to wage. I don't care what their reasons were. I have no doubt that many members of the US Senate at the time- Hillary Clinton and John Edwards made a political calculation imperiling the lives of people's sons, daughters, mothers and fathers. Not just of soldiers, but the civilians in Iraq. The decision to send someone else's child to die is the most weighty decision an elected official will ever have to make and should be exercised judiciously- reluctantly.

This isn't a commentary on whether or not we should have gone to war with Iraq, we can fight about that, but a commentary on US Senators neglecting the role that the Constitution says they must play in order to maintain the balance of powers between the three branches. So it isn't the fact that they issued a check authorizing a war, it is the fact that the check was BLANK. I don't care about what people knew or intelligence estimates. The problem isn't that they got it wrong, nobody has a crystal ball, but they got it wrong in the wrong way. In 2002-2003 Senators failed to preserve, protect, and defend the United States Constitution-for that I will always question the judgment of Hillary Clinton and John Edwards.

For all of you about to hop in the comments condemning the Republicans for all things Iraq, any time the Democrats want to end the war, THEY CAN. They don't have to pass legislation, just NOT pass legislation funding the war. I'm not saying whether they should or they shouldn't. I think we'll be in Iraq for 100 years , but know that the Constitution has provided the legislative branch with any and all tools to end any war they do not support in the same way the Constitution provided tools(even to the minority party) to prevent starting the war in the first place. For those of you saying a minority party can't still wield power in Washington, just look at what the Republicans are doing right now. They are giving Harry Reid HELL and somebody in the House can't figure out how to count high enough to realize that they don't have a veto-proof majority before engaging the President in repeated high stakes games of "Chicken." Shouldering your constitutional burdens isn't easy, but it is a requirement of the job.

You might want to read this post over at the AfroSpear Think Tank, "Obama's Win Doesn't Mean Racism Lost." I think folks need to start to ponder what life looks like for all the rest of us during an Obama administration. Whoever the next President is, I fear our country is on a perilous path and there has to be a change in trajectory. Once you get past the heart warming symbolism and the excitement, what then? Or is the symbolism enough?

For local show times of the Powell Interview, Go to KECT.

Special Edition of the Podcast Tonight: Pontificate 2008 -7:30 CST

All of your favorites and more will be back tonight to give live news and analysis of the New Hampshire primary results. You can listen live by going to blogtalkradio.com/blackwomen.

We're moving the time up by 30 minutes so it is at 7:30CST.