Congratulations? To Whom?

Karen Grisby Bates, National Public Radio commentator and blogger at The Root, believes America, each of us, should be dancing in the streets over the coronation of Barak Obama as President of the United States. Here’s the headline:

Congratulations Are In Order
Barack Obama didn’t become the president of black America. He became the president of the United States of America. So best wishes to all of us.

This statement is merely triumphalism. Nobody, and I mean nobody, has ever suggested otherwise. Everyone on the planet knows Obama is the President of the United States. Pretending that Barak Obama’s detractors and even his supporters think he’s only the president of black america simply poses the opportunity to blow a strawberry at non-black America and let them know that the bottom rail’s on top now. After all. there are plenty of voters who dislike Obama for reasons that have nothing to do with his race. They will not be celebrating. Ever.

The article goes on:

For all that, some well-intentioned people haven’t quite gotten out of the old habit. They’ll still offer their black friends, acquaintances and even strangers congratulations for Barack Obama’s history-making first. For some, it will take a little time to make the transition from “you” to “us.

Ms. Bates raises a phony issue of racial insensitivity so she may have the opportunity to triumph over it. Presumably, the “well intentioned” people are whites, some of whom voted for Obama and some who did not. Avid black Obama supporters are convinced (and would like to convince everyone else) that only racial bigots don’t honor the new president. The truth is, many consider President Obama to be an undistinguished political bon-bon raised to the heights by a biased, swooning media. For, them the “us” she celebrates isn’t “us” at all, it will always be “you”. Obama doesn’t appeal today any more than yesterday.

They will get there. In the interim, be gracious—but gently correct them: “Congratulations to you, too. Congratulations to all of us—he’s our new president.”

That’s not gracious, that’s snide. True believers in Obama are like religious converts, sure that the apostate voter will return to the fold and join the celebration once they discover the truth. The trouble is, some are still attempting to unearth the truth about Obama.

So go ahead and celebrate Ms. Bates. Jump up and down, dance and wave your arms, cry your heart out for President Obama, accuse the racist slackers of demeaning the President, not accepting Him. While you’re doing this the rest of us will be planning for 2012.


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