Who wudda thunk it? A month away from what is arguably the most important election in the history of America, things blow up sideways with colors and melodies interchanging. Nothing makes any real sense. That’s what most of us thought after America decided that most of those who would vote in this important election decided that Sen. Barack Obama, in spite of his being Black, brilliant and beautiful–and in spite of his running against a 26-year veteran of the of the United States Senate who is old, vicious and crazy whose credibility has been damaged by an Alaskan governor who is out to lunch and incredibly naive and alarmingly attractive–was faced with a dilemma. As we compared the two candidates and analyzed the polls from pillar to post the best mix that we could get out of this was that an America has spoken. Throw out the fact that Sen. Obama is Black. Just put him down as a non-rich American. Give him 12 college degrees in horticulture, land reclamation, anthropology and algebraic and nuclear chromosome research and suggest that he is one of the best candidates American has ever had for public office. Close off the resume of the less-than-literate Sen. John McCain as one whose most notable achievement was lying on his back with a broken arm for five years, praying to the Greek god Zeus for an American war to end.
Those who had to ascertain that a Black man could win if treated fairly were asked once more to review the credentials of Senator Obama and Senator McCain. Barack Obama looked like a cleaned-up Christian version of Harry Belafonte with overtones of a slightly graying Clark Gable without a mustache. Not to be outdone, the other team cried foul–that no one could have two gorgeous men like that rolled into one, though they took Belafonte away and they gave him Louis Armstrong. That seemed to seal the deal until Louis Armstrong opened his pipes. Again, they cried foul. The committee went back to work and pulled from the heavens Billy Graham and his most famous sermon, Soul Sunday. Surely with this combination there would be a win for the team. Everything was going smoothly. Everything was working out as well as the Obama forces believed that they would until another requirement was brought forth: What will we call him? What is his nickname? The answer in the crowd was, “make it something easy that we can all remember.” This was a requirement of both teams. One came back with Jesus Lord. The other came back with nigger. Somebody won that election long ago when there was a belief that the first Black would be elected president of the United States. It didn’t happen that way; but it did. Another group just like George W. Bush came with their gang of Supreme Court appointees and stole this last election. That is how, after more than 200 years of great American history, the most famous spiritual has become “Ain’t That a Shame.”