The Real Sign
In the 80s Franky Schaeffer, the son of one of the greatest Christian thinkers of the 2oth Century, Francis Schaeffer, wrote a book entitled Addicted To Mediocrity.
Addicted was written to evangelicals challenging them to break out of the box of narrow thinking with regard to reaching "the world," culturally and otherwise.
I want to borrow this idea and apply it to those, particularly blacks, who are looking at race in America today. I am specifically speaking to the thought put forward by many that America will be judged on how far it has come by whether we elect a black president or not. I beg to differ and offer a counter idea. Is it possible to judge how far we have come by how we react if we do not elect a black president.
If Barack Obama is elected President in November it will be a great milestone in our history, however, it will be too easy to say Hallelujah, we have arrived. That will last until the first time he runs into a rough patch with legislative battle with the Republicans in congress. The first reaction will be to say that "they are only opposed to him based upon his race." I assure you that this will be held up throughout his term in office.
I propose there is a greater test of how far we have come and a true test to verify that we are In a post racial America. That test is if Barack Obama can lose the race for President and black people and others not using race as an excuse. Will we be able say that he lost based upon his ideology, his inexperience, his positions, and/or his associations, just as we have done with past candidates.
Al Gore, John Kerry, Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, and others each lost and did not have the excuse of race to fall back upon. They lost because America disagreed with some aspect of their person, character, or position. When we can accept that a black, female, Latino, or other candidate could lose simply because they were the inferior candidate we will be saying that we have arrived at a new day. When Hillary Clinton lost the primaries to Barack Obama, while you heard a few murmur of sexism, it was by and large overshadowed by, the fact that he clearly ran a better campaign.
Can black Americans, and liberal Americans walk away on November 5th and say Barack Obama lost because America chose another candidate based upon no race based criteria, or will they be even more enraged than they were when America rejected Al Gore in 2000? Will they take the elitist and presumptuous posture and say, "it is impossible that America could have rejected their Superior candidate on merit?" I doubt it.