Tuesday, January 29, 2008


This picture headed the front page of Huffington Post yesterday linking to the news item announcing the endorsement of Barack Obama by Caroline and her uncle Ted Kennedy, endorsements filled with evocations of John and Robert Kennedy. It gave me the willies.

We know what happened to them.

Political assassinations have a long and inglorious history in this country, and the potential for the assassination of Barack Obama has been a factor from the outset of his campaign. It's something that's rarely mentioned, but it's always there.

This picture, though, draws an explicit comparison between the three men, and unfortunately it leads the mind directly to the horrible dénouement.

There are times I wonder if Obama is deliberately daring potential assassins to try it. This is not to blame him if something does happen. There are only so many ways one can attempt to avoid the perils of American public life. It is instead linked to my understanding of Obama as a candidate who offers Redemption to a nation that has long been on the wrong path.

Redemption and Sacrifice are too intimately linked to separate.

1 comment:

  1. A close friend of mine (a black man, FWIW) has repeatedly said that he doesn't believe that Obama will survive his first year in office if elected; the White Establishment(tm) wouldn't allow it. There's a certain force to his argument, but I don't agree. The Secret Service, IMO, is far too professional to allow a random assassin to kill a sitting President. JFK's assassination was able to occur largely because the Secret Service was not yet as paranoid about security as it is now (especially after the Reagan incident). When one examines the evidence of the RFK assassination, it becomes clear that not only did Sirhan Sirhan not shoot RFK, but that the Secret Service must have known that something was going to happen. I think that any attempt to assassinate Obama, then, will be the deliberate act of creating a martyr and stirring up racial hatred; black people will, naturally, point the finger at the White Establishment(tm) as my friend is inclined to do, while sympathetic whites will mourn his loss and embrace him as a debased symbol (much as they do MLK) of a "safe negro." That is, a black man who is black enough to pass as an authentic black man upon casual inspection but has made it known to White America that he is not black enough actually threaten the racial hierarchy. Of course, being authentic is only of secondary concern; it makes him a more effective symbol to black people, but the main thing is that he not fundamentally threaten white supremacy.