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The ubiquitous "they"
Posted by: McQ on Sunday, February 10, 2008

Yes, the all knowing, all seeing and all-powerful "they" would murder Obama if he was to become president. That, at least, to Brit and apparent expert on the US and its culture, Doris Lessing:
If Barack Obama becomes the next US president he will surely be assassinated, British Nobel literature laureate Doris Lessing predicted in a newspaper interview published here Saturday.

Obama, who is vying to become the first black president in US history, "would certainly not last long, a black man in the position of president. They would murder him," Lessing, 88, told the Dagens Nyheter daily.

Lessing, who won the 2007 Nobel Literature Prize, said it might be better if Obama's Democratic rival Hillary Clinton were to succeed in her bid to become the first woman president of the United States.
I'd be ready to write it off to age if she weren't a Nobel laureate. Instead, I'll simply write it off to ignorance.

In all honesty, however, I think that's something a lot of people both in and outside of the US silently believe. But I have to tell you, if Secret Service can protect George Bush, Obama shouldn't have a problem at all.
 
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While I’m sure Lessing is thinking (And implying) it’ll be some right wing racist monster that would do in Obama, she hasn’t considered Hillary as a suspect, should Obama win.

Ask Vince Foster.


 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
Maybe you guys don’t know but this is a very real fear within the black community. For a black man to be one of the major party’s nominees represents a pretty significant move in America and history has shown us that there are often fringe actors that react violently to these things. I’ve read stories that the assassination of Shimon Peres was what pushed Colin Powell’s wife back from approving of a run for the presidency for her husband.

I was recently at the hospital with a family member and a nurse came in and we happened to chat with her about the election and Obama’s success, and the next thing she said was "I hope they don’t kill him."

Maybe it sounds loony to you guys, but it’s a major concern for many black Americans.
 
Written By: Oliver Willis
URL: http://www.oliverwillis.com
I’m sure it is a real concern for them.

The problem is, it isn’t a very realistic concern. That’s what we’re commenting on.
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
What Scott said.

Though we should, perhaps, ask ourselves just why it is that there is real fear in the black community and just *why* some loony bat from England or South Africa or whereever, has the idea that this is a reasonable thing to predict.

Because it’s not reasonable.

No one who opposes him politically cares that he’s black. (Hillary only cares that he isn’t *her*.) It does not make whitey afraid when black people are mayors of cities, or Defense Secretaries or Secretaries of State or police officers or your neighbor.

So *who* is keeping the idea of a race war alive? And who uses that rhetoric and continues a narrative in which it supposedly represents real life? Who is responsible for the fear that there is going to be "chaos" if Obama wins?

That there are nut cases who want to assassinate the president is a given... no matter who the president is. (Living with the resulting security and risk could deter *anyone* from the job but it’s not got anything to do with being *black*.)

 
Written By: Synova
URL: http://synova.blogspot.com
If Whitey doesn’t kill Pres Obama, some people’s head will explode. How can they continue to blame white devils for all their probs when they can’t even off one uppity Pres?
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Side Note: Maybe one of the reasons the Secret Service has been so successful in protecting George Bush is the fact that Dick Cheney would succeed him. I’m just saying . . .
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
Side Note: Maybe one of the reasons the Secret Service has been so successful in protecting George Bush is the fact that Dick Cheney would succeed him. I’m just saying . . .
so you’re saying Obama should get Hillary to be his veep?
 
Written By: meh
URL: http://
" there are often fringe actors that react violently to these things."

There are fringe actors that react violently to anything. There were two assasination attempts against Gerald Ford, for crying out loud. Why should Obama be any different? But of course we all know how violent and nasty white people are.

" Maybe it sounds loony to you guys,"

Yep.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
I think that after the attempt on Reagan’s life that the Secret Service et al. went pretty much to a lockdown strategy for presidents and presidential candidates. It used to be "anyone who wants to kill the president bad enough can do it." That window has been closed to the point where there hasn’t even been something that looked like an attempt since the Reagan shooting in 1981. Sometimes you get a person trying to climb the fence at the White House or a "mysterious package" left in the neighborhood, but that seems to be it.

Nothing is impossible, but current standards of protection seem ready for things up to and including suicide bombings and military-style assaults.

 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Maybe one of the reasons the Secret Service has been so successful in protecting George Bush is the fact that Dick Cheney would succeed him. I’m just saying . . .
By that line of reasoning, Why have they been so successful at protecting Bush and Cheney?
 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://
Oliver, I don’t think it sounds loony. What I object to is the use of "they", like there’s some huge unspoken conspiracy out there. It’s a mindset that I find pitiful.
 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://
Perhaps Lessing is talking about Black Muslims, the only incontrovertible "they" I am aware of who killed a black national leader — Malcolm X.

In the meantime blacks have a homicide rate seven times that of whites and mostly they murder other blacks. No one on the left seems much concerned except, maybe, Obama’s church which blames it on another "they" — America as a "captor society."

It’s time to get beyond all this victimology. The fact is that anyone on the national stage—e.g. JFK to MLK to George Wallace to Ronald Reagan to John Lennon—is potentially in the cross-hairs of some nut. And any of us ordinary citizens could be collateral damage in some crime scene.

It would be a great tragedy if any of the current candidates were assassinated and it’s sadly possible that any of them might be.
 
Written By: huxley
URL: http://
One of the reasons that assassins were able to get to JFK and King and RFK was that America was then an innocent society, much more free and open, and it was also considered weird to be so protected that you could have no ready contact with people. That innocence has been progressively shattered. We are no longer living in that place, which is one of our modern ironies or progress.

Also, one of the forgotten assassinations was that of Martin Luther King Jr’s mother, Alberta Williams King, who was murdered inside Ebenezer Baptist Church by a young black man.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
While I’m sure Lessing is thinking (And implying) it’ll be some right wing racist monster that would do in Obama, she hasn’t considered Hillary as a suspect, should Obama win.
If history is any guide, excepting outright nuts and foreign agents, Presidential assassination attempts are six times more likely to be made by left-wingers than those on the right. So if Ms. Lessing is truly so concerned for Obama’s continued good health, she would be best advised to keep an eye on her fellow travelers.

 
Written By: Achillea
URL: http://
OTOH, if Obama keeps this up...
He then spent time talking to and shaking hands with the crowd before going in. I could not believe this was happening. No crowd control, no checking of bags, Barack in a potentially dangerous setting with no way for Secret Service to cover him. And he did it without hesitation.
—Salon
I kinda admire Obama for taking the risk to be this accessible, but it would be such a bad thing for his movement and for the country if he were assassinated. I really hope someone gives him a good talking-to about this.
 
Written By: huxley
URL: http://
Maybe it sounds loony to you guys, but it’s a major concern for many black Americans.
Which I’m sure you plan to exploit to the hilt. Everyone knows that Hillary herself could be standing over him with the smoking gun and, thirty years and three Oliver Stone movies later, history books and talking heads will stammer unequivocally some Republican grassy-knoll bullsh%t.
 
Written By: Rob
URL: http://
What I object to is the use of "they", like there’s some huge unspoken conspiracy out there. It’s a mindset that I find pitiful.
Are you serious? Surely you understand that as part of the strategy, right? That’s why they’re making sure it’s crossed everyone’s mind at least once. So that if it does happen, millions worldwide will say "I knew it".
Sorta the same reason Gore Vidal said Bush’s concentration camps and martial law would be here... any... time... now. By the way, what’s the holdup with that?
 
Written By: Rob
URL: http://
It’s time to get beyond all this victimology.
OK, now you’ve really lost it. "Get beyond it"? How do you "get beyond" something you’ve invested absolutely everything in? It’s the new mothership and they’re not gonna build another one. Victimology is sweeping the nation and the world. Better get on board before you get left behind.
 
Written By: Rob
URL: http://
Rob — I think it can be done and it must be done.

I started off as a kid singing Peter, Paul and Mary songs about civil rights. I’m all for black Americans to succeed, and happily—not that it’s acknowledged much—a substantial number have made it into the middle class and now we have a half-black American who has something like than 30% odds of being President of the United States a year from now. Fanstastic!

But on the other hand, black Americans (other Americans too) are really going to have get off the "We’re victims" shtick. The country has moved on and that’s not doing anyone any good. It’s even led to such distortions as the black community sticking up for obvious murderers like OJ and Mumia, and the recent vacant cause in Jena.

As I say, blacks have a homicide rate seven times that of whites, and they are mostly killing other blacks. I say the victim story—that American society is responsible for these murders and not the black murderers themselves—is killing large numbers of blacks. And Obama’s church, sadly, plays its part by repeating the victim story.

And this dark, knowing speculation that an American "they" will kill Obama if he is elected president is just another version of the victim story.
 
Written By: huxley
URL: http://
black Americans (other Americans too) are really going to have get off the "We’re victims" shtick.
My bad. I didn’t know you were referring to black Americans exclusively. I’m talking about something that has "transcended" (overused word of the day) black America and has taken root all over the world. Indeed, it’s now being infused into international law. That said, I think a large swath of black America knows they’ve been had and is now backing away from victimology. Hopefully, folks like Larry Elder, John McWhorter, and Bill Cosby will continue to encourage blacks to give it up for good.
 
Written By: Rob
URL: http://
And this dark, knowing speculation that an American "they" will kill Obama if he is elected president is just another version of the victim story.
Yes, because Medgar Evers, Martin Luther King, and the murders of thousands of others because of the color of their skin didn’t happen.

Are you aware that Sen. Obama is already under secret service protection, something John Kerry didn’t get until February of 2004?

Race relations have jumped leaps and bounds in this country, but you guys are deluding yourselves if you think their isn’t more than a couple crackpots driven to murder at the idea of a black man holding the highest office in this country.
 
Written By: Oliver Willis
URL: http://www.oliverwillis.com
It is time once again for the media to run stories about all those right-wing militias and the imminent danger they pose to our way of life. They have guns! And they train to use them! There is plenty of usable file footage left over from the post Timothy McVeigh/Oklahoma City hysteria.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Oliver - I’m well aware of "Medgar Evers, Martin Luther King, and the murders of thousands of others because of the color of their skin". But just about all of that was forty years ago and more.

I’m sure that there are some crackpots out there driven to murder a black man ... as well as a white woman or a white man. Personally I don’t think Obama’s chances are any worse than Clinton’s or McCain’s (assuming Obama’s ceases his reckless behavior of wandering unprotected among crowds). Of course, it’s hard to put numbers on this, but to the extent we can, I’d argue that Obama is the safest of the three.

Consider the 2005 black-on-white and white-on-black murder rates for strangers. Blacks kill ~4x as many whites as whites kill blacks. Adjusting for the fact that there are ~6.5x as many whites as blacks, blacks are 25x more likely to murder whites than visa-versa. This indicates that the poles of violent American racism have flipped and blacks are now the most racially violent group in the country by far. I don’t see any other way to explain this.

Furthermore, I say that this constant harping on violent white racism as though blacks were still being victimized as they were in the past is one force that keeps this racist dynamic going and prevents it from being discussed in the national conversation. But Obama being assassinated, that’s different.
 
Written By: huxley
URL: http://
That data is racist.
 
Written By: Rob
URL: http://
I think if you asked most black Americans they would readily admit that the major crime problem is black-on-black crime (that’s why Bill Cosby has had such resonance, while the right-wing lecturing of McWhorter and Co. hasn’t). But thats also more likely to happen with lower to middle class blacks than with a notable public figure like Obama. The two issues are not related in the popular psyche and they shouldn’t be.

Simply looking at history there’s a bigger threat to Sen. Obama than Sen. McCain and Sen. Clinton. I don’t think that he’s not getting the full protection of the very awesome Secret Service, but you’re also fooling yourself if you think this is some racial conspiracy versus white people as opposed to a fear well rooted in US history.
 
Written By: Oliver Willis
URL: http://www.oliverwillis.com
Simply looking at history there’s a bigger threat to Sen. Obama than Sen. McCain and Sen. Clinton.
How do you figure? As I recall, there have been no attempts on major black leaders since MLK was assassinated. However since then Robert Kennedy, George Wallace, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and John Lennon have been shot at—two of them killed and one paralyzed.

Contrary to popular belief, violent white racism has been deeply shamed, as it should be, and has trailed off considerably. As I noted earlier, whites kill blacks only 1/25 as often as blacks kill whites. And if you compare black on white rapes and visa-versa, you discover that the black-on-white rapes are astronomically higher and white-on-black rapes almost nonexistent.
In the United States in 2005, 37,460 white females were sexually assaulted or raped by a black man, while between zero and ten black females were sexually assaulted or raped by a white man

The Truth of Interracial Rape in the United States
These statistics indicate an astonishing level of black violence against whites which is not counterbalanced by white violence against blacks. Since I don’t believe that blacks are inherently more violent, there must be reasons specific to today’s American black community that keep this level of savage racial violence in place. I think the victim story of blacks in violent white racist America, which is no longer true, is a big piece of that, and the "Obama will be murdered" story is a smaller piece of that bigger piece.
 
Written By: huxley
URL: http://
"Simply looking at history there’s a bigger threat to Sen. Obama than Sen. McCain and Sen. Clinton."

Sure, if Obama were running 50 years ago. Some things do change. I doubt that there is any significantly greater danger to Obama now.

I am not really surprised that Obama is under Secret Service protection. These are, after all, professional paranoids who bring water along on foreign Presidential junkets so he won’t have to drink the local water.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
I absolutely support the best Secret Service protection available for Obama and as early as possible.

Not because Obama is in more danger than Clinton or McCain but because if he were assassinated, the damage to the everyone—his movement, the Democrats, to blacks, to whites, to anyone in between, to the United States, and to the entire world—would be so huge I don’t even want to think about it.

For god’s sake, someone—his wife, his campaign manager, whoever runs Democratic party these days, even Oliver Willis—please tell Obama not to wander into crowds unprotected. The stakes are way, way too high.
 
Written By: huxley
URL: http://

 
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