If our current charismatic contender for the Democratic nomination Barack Obama wants to leave us with no doubt he will be our first truly African-American president I humbly suggest he doesn’t do any more dancing until he is safely ensconced in the Oval Office.
His recent appearance on the Ellen DeGeneres show where he danced with Ellen, arms lifted, bent at the elbows and fingers snapping to some post-disco tune reminded me of somebody else I saw on television. It took me a minute but then I remembered. David Gregory the journalist for NBC News dancing on stage at the Press Club Show with Karl Rove. Only I think David Gregory did the white man’s over-bite, which thank God Barack didn’t do but he looked like he was going to.
Senator Obama, riding the wave of his own Obamanon made encouraging remarks to Ellen as she did her best to dance while he did his best to dance– only he was very proud of his dancing and she acted cheerfully humble about her own. The audience cheered, clapped and screamed although I don’t think anybody fainted or else the camera would have alerted us to what the newspapers have been telling us, that people are fainting in the huge crowds that come out to hear the senator’s orations.
In one of his books Obama wrote that he was a “blank screen” where “people of widely different views project what they want to hear.” Usually a charismatic leader doesn’t just announce in a book that he’s a blank screen. “Hey everybody, I’m a blank-screen, project on me what you want to hear and then I’ll run for president.”
But why quibble. Everybody is saying Barack has a fast learning curve about everything and I’m sure if he practices a little bit he’d have no trouble beating Bill Clinton in the dance contest that he challenged our former “first black president” to during some debate.
Poor Bill. He didn’t say he was America’s first black president. Toni Morrison called him that and he humbly accepted the moniker biting the top of his lip shyly minus any dancing. I think I read somewhere that Toni is taking it back. This, on top of everything else the Clintons have had to go through. It seems kind of disloyal in a way, to take something like that back. But as Hannah Arendt once said, “politics is not like the nursery.”
The only way this horrible mess about Bill being our first black president could be resolved would be for Barack and Bill to have that dance contest. The presiding judges would be a tricky matter. Brian Williams and Tim Russert are definitely out. And so is Gwen Ifill or Cornell West. Maybe the winner of the contest should be put to the super-delegates. Or let’s get really crazy and have the “people” decide.
EVA LIDDELL is a painter who lives in the Pacific Northwest. Her email is Eva.Liddell@gmail.com