CHENNAI, India, 2 October 2016
In a desperate effort to help Hillary Clinton become the next President of the US, President Obama has appealed to African-Americans not to vote for Donald Trump. It appears that President Obama has forgotten for a moment that he is still the President of the US and has the duty to keep all Americans stay united emotionally. Unfortunately, it appears that the politician in Obama has gained an upper hand over his statesmanship.
Even the pledged admirers of President Obama cannot approve of his appeal to African-Americans to stay united as “blacks” and vote for Hillary Clinton. One cannot be blamed if he would think that President Obama has thoughtlessly tried to divide the American society into whites and blacks, by appealing to all the blacks to support him because he is black and asking them to vote Hillary Clinton, as he supports her.
Really, President Obama has insulted African-Americans by asking them to vote for a particular candidate en masse. Does he think that African-Americans living in the US would not think for themselves about the policies and programmes of the Presidential candidates before exercising their franchise, but would vote for the candidate based on their perception of the candidate as supporter of blacks or otherwise?
What is even more shocking and unbecoming of the incumbent President of the US is to have reminded African-Americans about the arduous struggle it took before the community could free itself and gain civil rights. President Obama said that those gains of African-Americans are now at risk. Can there be a more chauvinistic, sectarian, and divisive strategy to get votes in the Presidential election?
It is true and well-known that there is sort of divisive politics in the US by some self-centred leaders of various groups who want to keep a division between the blacks and the whites, to meet their personal, political interests. It is really necessary that the US has to fight against such divisive forces. President Obama’s speech exhorting African-Americans to vote based on their colour only make one suspect that President Obama is really strengthening the divisive forces in the US.
Today in the US African-Americans enjoy rights and privileges that are available to every citizen of the US. Large number of them hold lofty positions in academics, business, and government. While some of them may still face economic disparities, it is not due to the policy measures of the US government. Therefore, there is no justification for President Obama to argue, which he has done for all practical purposes, that the blacks in America have to stay together to protect their interests and vote against Donald Trump.
Perhaps, no other past President of the US has been careless enough to ask Americans to vote on the basis of their colour. President Obama has brought the election debate in the US to a low level.
President Obama started as President talking great philosophy about the need for peace and harmony around the world. He deprecated divisive tendencies and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for peace for his postures and advocacy. Unfortunately, his Presidential term is now ending with President Obama asking the section of Americans to vote on the basis of their colour.
Eight years of the term as President of the US has not done good for the statesmanship qualities of President Obama.
About the author
NS Venkataraman is a chemical engineer as well as a social activist in Chennai, India. He is the founder trustee of Nandini Voice For The Deprived, a Chennai-based not-for-profit organisation serving the cause of the deprived and down-trodden and working for probity in public life.
More articles by NS Venkataraman on Tibet Sun.