The message much of white America hopes to send to black America by electing Obama is: Don’t Be So Black. Act More Barack. Perhaps this explains why blacks haven’t been all that enthusiastic.
This is a poor explanation for the phenomenon of Obama, although certainly his ascendancy requires more explanation than his prodigious abilities can provide. In California the other day, 500 people volunteered to help at one of his appearances -- other politicians would have been glad to have that many at the rally itself. His Time and Newsweek covers have outsold all the other issues of the year at the newstands. His book is selling like a Grisham novel instead of just a politician's pre-campaign manifesto.
Our country's original sin is slavery. In theology he who redeems the original sin is the Messiah. I realize how glib that sounds, specially when referring to someone who is not the descendant of slaves. But Obama is the first plausible black candidate for President. The election of such a man would heal scars in our country's conscience. With his talk of bipartisan niceness, Obama plays into the part beautifully. He would let us think well of ourselves at a time when we're doubting our goodness.