When Senator Barack Obama ran for president in 2008, the possibility of him winning caught a lot of people off guard. After all, America had seen Shirley Chisholm of New York run for president, talking nonsense about being un-bought and un-bossed. Then, we saw Jesse Jackson running, talking about, I am somebody. Then came this tall skinny guy from Chicago, named Barack Obama, talking about doing things different and changing the way to do things in Washington. That was silly and he would be easy pickings. The impossibility of him winning put a lot of people to sleep. SURPRISE!
I remember someone telling me the story of a local preacher preaching a message called, "Surprise!" He told about when Moses approached the Red Sea and trying to figure out how to get over. Then he stretched forth his hand and, SURPRISE, the waters divided and they walked through. Then there came a time when Jesus had been crucified on a mountain called Golgotha and He was entombed. When they came to the tomb, on what Christians call Easter, and rolled the stone away, SURPRISE, He had risen and was gone.
In early America, the land of the free and home of the brave, except for Black- skinned people in slavery with no freedom, one day the slave woke up and started fighting back, talking about, "I'd rather drink muddy water and sleep in a hollow log than stay a slave being treated like a dog," and SURPRISE, emancipation.
Then came the Klan, Jim Crow, the Civil Rights movement, equal opportunity, Affirmative Action, and the right to vote, and SURPRISE! That brought us competent black mayors, lawyers, doctors, teachers, and behold, a brilliant black president, SURPRISE!
With each step of progress there is a ghost from the past trying to push us back into the past. He is not Alabama's George Wallace, standing in the schoolhouse door; he is not Ross Barnett or Bull Connor sicking police dogs on us, or turning fire hoses on black children seeking education, equality, opportunity and justice; now he is a white congressman hollering out, "You lie", at the State of the Union address, or singer Hank Williams talking about, "we hate the president," or a billionaire Sands Casino owner, named Sheldon Adelson, talking about spending billions to defeat this young black president; he is the Koch brothers spending unlimited funds to keep a black president out of the White House, and it's a white Mormon lying everyday to win the presidency because he and his cohorts think it's supposed to be a white man president.
We got the right to vote and a voting rights bill, well, SURPRISE! White Republicans are busily taking that away. JIM CROW has taken off its white robe and replaced it with a suit and tie and is now saying, "We're not going to contort to accommodate African American's right to vote."
The editorial from August 15, 2012, entitled, "Overt Discrimination in Ohio," talks about voting rules that allow white Republican voters to vote one way on the white side of town, while setting a more restrictive set of rules for voting on the black side of town. The article cites, not only Ohio, but Pennsylvania and Florida are doing some of the same dirty racist tricks.
SURPRISE . . . racism is alive and well and my daddy was right when he taught us that there are some white folks who don't sleep at night trying to think of new ways to keep black folks down.
When I finish writing this column I'm going to write another check or get a money order addressed to Obama for President. Then I'm going to march to the post office and mail it. Join me in this march, and come November 2012, we will get another chance to say to old man Jim Crow, "SURPRISE!"
Let's surprise them again . . . Go and vote for Obama on November 6, 2012.