As to be expected, some folks have taken the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and questions of patriotism to divert the attention of the presidential campaign from important issues to those of race. As this occurs and mainstream media seems to join in I can only remember a conversation with a friend early in the presidential campaign who said, "White people are not going to vote for Barack Obama."
This is an open and honest conversation that I had with a friend and I don't mind sharing it with the world. I said, "Barack can win." As I went on to try to justify why America was ready and quite frankly needed a candidate like Barack Obama, he said, "I don't care if he graduated from Harvard, was president of the Harvard Law Review and his mother is white…he is not and white America will not elect him to lead the country; just you wait and see."
I respect this guy. He is older and has lived on several continents. He is black and not a person that espouses racial hatred. I still want to believe that white Americans won't buy into the hatred spin but I remembered his comment that Hillary Clinton and the GOP want to win and they will use whatever they have to do so.
Not naïve on matters of race, I still bet him $50 that young people, blacks and open-minded whites would elect Barack Obama president of these United States. I told him that America would not allow itself to be perceived as racist, prejudiced, un-Democratic, intolerant, etc., etc. He laughed and told me to have his money ready.
Now, there are viral videos surfing the net that continue to focus on the words of Rev. Wright and question Barack Obama's patriotism. We're in the midst of a presidential campaign and quite frankly the general election phase is likely to be even nastier --- anything can happen.
The question remains, can we as Americans, accept our differences in ethnicity, gender, religious beliefs and sexual orientation and unite as Americans? Surely there is agreement that our economy sucks, our people are dying in war, our health care system needs to be fixed, we live under a constant terror threat and our children have fallen behind in the global education system.
It is unfortunate that America has not overcome its racial problem; it may not be overcome for hundreds of years, if ever. We can, however, learn to respect each other as Americans for that may be the only way we all survive.