Obama won’t be president without a third reconstruction

By George Ploss

When we read about the First Reconstruction after the Civil War, we think of true reform within the system. Adequate representation for blacks and their exercising of civil liberties, rising literacy and rational, moral action were acting as a brief virtue of the United States. However in 1877, it all ended. The country had taken three steps forward, only to take five steps back.

As our chopped and screwed general history has taught us, the country defeated Jim Crow with the help of King and we were all better again.

With the King National Memorial in D.C. under way, along with the initial Web site video saying “A Dream No Longer,” one may only squint at today’s world and realize the naiveté of the general American population. The Second Reconstruction in America, 1945-1975, was followed again by harsh conservative reforms that severely handicapped any legislative good that had been achieved by blacks’ greatest generation.

So where are we today?

Without the nooses, Jena would have been another incident of disproportionate sentencing against black men. We have the highest incarceration rate in the world, with more black men going to jail than college. When Conservatives and Liberals throughout all ranks of government twist the knife of this oppressive disparity, you really should ask yourself, have we really come that far?

King realized that all that was fought for during the Civil Rights Era of the overall Black Freedom Struggle were only victories on the scale of small skirmishes. He realized, like Malcolm X, that the only way to achieve equal, biracial democratic governance was to completely reform our political capitalist system. King understood what Malcolm X said: “You can’t have capitalism without racism.” We see this ever so shameful truth as globalization takes heed in South America, Asia and Africa. As spheres of influence strangle poor nations of colors’ autonomy, we here at home bask in the fact that we have a favorite son running for the most powerful position in the world. He won’t win. As much as I want him to, the black ritual of voting has become simply an exercise in futility. That’s why the GOP front-runners didn’t go the Morgan State University debate, not because their schedules were too full but because it didn’t matter. They knew that, and so did we.

Blacks do not have equal representation in this country. We may never. With all our progressive efforts for reform, we are met with a more mobilized, better funded, sometimes government-backed countermovement that positions us right back at square one. The space that is “given” to us is a space where we are free enough to fire a nobody like Don Imus, but not free enough to have access toward basic goods because of the incestuous relationship between racism, poverty and economics, the real “Axis of Evil.”

So yes, Obama is behind in the polls and he will stay there. It’s because he’s a black man. He is part of the strong lineage of black men who negotiated their way through a corrupt system to achieve relative power without sacrificing his ethics or relinquishing his caste as a black man like Clarence Thomas.

The only way for Obama to win is for this country to rid itself from personal tyranny and selective oppression. The only way for Obama to win is for this country to realize that it needs to become great, not just better than the rest. We need not be richer and stronger economically and militarily, but morally. Like Anne-Marie Slaughter emphasizes the need to return to our moral center, we need a third reconstruction. Even if it will result in the rescinding our relative gains, we need to keep fighting, because iPods and SUVs don’t spell freedom. They spell SUVPODI, and I have no idea what that means.

One Love.