Wednesday, June 04, 2008



That said, though, I don't think I really appreciated, on a visceral level, exactly how much this would mean to African-Americans until sometime around November. At that time, Obama was trailing Clinton by around 20 points among black voters, which I found odd, until I read some article -- I can't recall which -- with a number of interviews of black Democrats. Those interviews made it clear that most of the people quoted in the article did not believe that a black candidate -- any black candidate -- could win the nomination, let alone the Presidency. Once I had noticed that, I seemed to hear it a lot: just a few days ago, I was listening to CSPAN in the car, and a black voter called in and said that until Iowa, he had assumed that Obama was "some kind of stunt".

I suppose I live a sheltered life, but for some reason it hadn't crossed my mind that many African-Americans would think not just that it was very hard for a black man to win the nomination, but that it was impossible. But once it did, I found it horrible and heartbreaking, all the more so because, on reflection, I thought it was a perfectly reasonable thing to think. (At least in its milder form -- 'he can't win' -- as opposed to the more ominous 'they won't let him win.')

I know and have friends and acquaintances who are African-American, but that's something very different from being plugged in to the African-American community in any meaningful sense. There isn't one monolithic AA community, of course, but it is something which in broad general terms exists. The couple of times I went to Obama-linked primary parties I had a chance to have a pretty sharp reminder that African-American supporters of Obama are often coming from a very different place than his other supporters.

And, yes, at the post-primary party I was at last night I did sense a degree of "holy fucking shit" especially from the African-American attendees. It's a sentiment I share somewhat, but perhaps not quite at the gut level that some others in the room felt it.

...adding that either way this was going to be a "holy fucking shit" election given who the final two were. And it is somewhat amazing, after the moment of awe, how mundane it actually seems.