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The Damaging Political Legacy of Addressing the Race Issue

March 21, 2008
By Frank Salvato

Barack Obama recently issued another of his linguistic masterpieces in addressing the issues of racism, hate-speech and his spiritual mentor, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright. His speech was pretty. It was eloquent. It was impassioned. It attempted to approach the true issue in danger of being overshadowed by a sensationalistic mainstream news media; racism in the total of American society, including the Black community.

It even included a condemnation of specific statements by Wright, a man Obama says, “...has been like family to me.” But Obama’s speech fell short in answering some important ideological questions about his belief system and in doing so exposed the Achilles heel of the Progressive-Left where race is concerned: The Progressive-Left, in its quest for a multicultural utopia, simply can’t have racial harmony.

One of the biggest buzz-words used by the Progressive-Left – America’s Fifth Column – is “diversity.” They used the idea of advancing diversity as a means to achieving what they hoped – what they “knew” – would be a racially and culturally symbiotic utopia where “all men are created equal.” The problem with this line of thought is that celebrating diversity factionalizes people; it does not help to bring people together under a commonality.

By exposing the great racial and cultural divides that exist in the United States – within all racial and ethnic communities – Barack Obama is forcing an examination of the ideology of multiculturalism versus e pluribus unum (out of many one), much to the chagrin of the Progressive-Left.

By its very definition, multiculturalism encourages the promotion of individual cultures within a society rather than in only one common culture. Since the “cultural revolution” of the 1960s and 1970s, our society – guided by the counter-cultural elites – has embraced the ideology of multiculturalism.

In doing so it became “politically incorrect” to identify oneself as simply “an American.” To do so was to identify with “the establishment.” Instead, mainstream Americans began to refer to themselves as hyphenated Americans: Italian-Americans, African-Americans, Jewish-Americans, Mexican-Americans and so on.

In that single vestige of multiculturalism the American Fifth Column achieved two things: they marginalized the importance of identifying ourselves as Americans while culturally mandating the reconfiguration of our identities to emphasize ancestral origin.

In placing the emphasis on ancestral origin, the American Fifth Column encouraged the Balkanization of the United States. The American-Black community rallied around organizations and individuals that championed their African heritage.

The American-Mexican community united around organizations and individuals that championed their Mexican heritage. The American-Italians gravitated toward their Italian heritage, and so on. This established individual and separate communities not just in the physical sense, within geographic locations, but in the cultural fabric of our nation.

We, as a people, encouraged by the American Fifth Column and manipulated by their false-promise of a racial and cultural utopia, abandoned our American ideology for multiculturalism. We stopped being Americans, although that’s the way the rest of the world identified us (and still does), and became an association of different cultures that needs to employ “tolerance” towards other cultures in order to function as a cohesive nation.

A funny thing happens when you encourage people to factionalize; they revert back to the basic human desire to achieve the alpha status; the fundamental desire to be “in charge;” to be the one individual or faction in the community whom the others follow and defer to. This primal aspiration leads to a quest for superiority. That quest results in the division of society into competitive entities which serves to further bind the factional elements as they quest for superiority over the other factions. It is culturally destructive and a vicious self-fueling cycle, about as far away from cohesiveness as one can get.

When the nation witnessed the bigotry and racism of Barack Obama’s spiritual leader, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, we were witnessing the by-product of the multicultural ideology; we were witnessing the rage born of a Black supremist questing for his faction’s superiority. While it cannot be denied that the Black community has had to overcome incredible inequities and hardships throughout its American experience, so too it cannot be denied that today is not yesterday and few in the White community, as it exists today, are culpable for the inequities of the past.

That Jeremiah Wright’s assertions were divisive, aggressive and mired in the false-proclamation of victimhood is understood by anyone willing to be honest about the issue. But if honesty is to prevail in a real conversation about race and culture in today’s United States of America we must all take responsibility for our actions, our anger, our rage and admit that for all the rhetoric about bridging the racial and cultural divide we must move forward in action and deed, casting aside the race-baiters and haters and their cultural heroin of victimhood.

That the United States is a diverse nation is a true statement. We are a collection of families and individuals originating, whether in the present generation or generations past, from the four corners of the earth. But the ethos that would most cohesively bind us together, the ideology of e pluribus unum, the commonly held desire for freedom to craft our lives with limited interference from the government – liberty – has been abandoned. If our country is to survive we must abandon the failed ideology of multiculturalism before it is too late. We must reestablish our commitment to the American ideology.

Politically, no matter how Obama and his handlers try to free his campaign from the issues of Jeremiah Wright and the racial divide that exists in our country. the damage to his campaign has been done.

Obama’s poll numbers are dropping and the question of whether or not he is actually electable is being discussed in serious circles. Rather than quelling the “firestorm” (Obama’s words) that has erupted around the indignant and racist remarks of his spiritual leader, Obama’s speech provoked caution about his candidacy from within his own party. It indicated to the Progressive-Left that he is willing to chance the examination of one of their core tenets – multiculturalism and, through it, diversity.

The real questions are these: Is Barack Obama willing to forfeit his chance at the brass ring – the Oval Office – in order to move the much needed examination of the racial and cultural divides forward? Or did he bite off more than he could chew by playing the race card in trying to salvage his political career?

The longer these questions go unanswered the more damage his campaign endures.

Related Reading:
Diversity: American Heritage Dictionary
Multiculturalism: American Heritage Dictionary
Alpha: Wikipedia
Frank Salvato is the Executive Director and Director of Terrorism Research for Basics Project a non-profit, non-partisan, 501(C)(3) research and education initiative. His writing has been recognized by the US House International Relations Committee and the Japan Center for Conflict Prevention. His organization, Basics Project, partnered in producing the original national symposium series addressing the root causes of radical Islamist terrorism. He also serves as the managing editor for The New Media Journal. Mr. Salvato has appeared on The O'Reilly Factor on FOX News Channel and is the host of the The New Media Journal Internet radio program broadcast globally on NetTalkWorld global talk radio. He is a regular guest on talk radio including on The Right Balance with Greg Allen on the Accent Radio Network and on The Captain's America Radio Show catering to the US Armed Forces around the world. His opinion-editorials have been published by The American Enterprise Institute, The Washington Times & Human Events and are syndicated nationally. He is occasionally quoted in The Federalist. Mr. Salvato is available for public speaking engagements. He can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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