The current General Election in Black America that is going on right now during the Democratic Primary is quite confusing and enlightening to me at the same time. It is confusing because of all of the previous Clinton Administration supporting Blacks have come out to make the claim that they never "really" liked Clinton anyway. Most of the vitriol is apply to Bill Clinton's wife as she operates as the main obstacle blocking the way of their goals of having the "first Black President" and the first Black "First Family" in the White House.
At the same time the split in support between the Obama camp and the Clinton camp has shown some interesting points of distinction between the Black folks who all call themselves "Democrats" and yet still who would not be offended if someone called them a "Progressive".
On the Barack Obama side is the typical young, idealistic politico who is seeking change in America and who is attracted to Obama's speaking style and visions of hope for America. Many young Hollywood Stars and entertainers in general (Black and White for that matter) have come out in support for Obama. In the Blogosphere this same segment makes their support for Obama known as well.
Over on the side of Hillary Clinton is the establishment Black folks. With Oprah as the exception - many "monied" Black folks have their bets on the Clinton machine - Magic Johnson, Bob Johnson, Willie Gary and other multi-millionaire Blacks in business or the business side of entertainment are going for the Clintons. So too are many old line Civil Rights stalwarts such as John Lewis and Andrew Young.
To the Obama Camp these others are old and tired. When given the chance to support a Black man for president - they went with the establishment White folks in the party. To the Clinton Camp those in the Obama camp are idealistic. They will one day have their chance on stage but in 2008 this is not the time to be making up the script as we go along.
I want to go a bit deeper with this analysis though. Beyond the two camps detailed above is a struggle for the heart and soul of Black America's political consciousness. Sadly and unfortunately these factions have pasted themselves to the framework of the Democratic Party rather than having defined themselves distinctly and THEN gone after the political entity that best represents their interests. Instead they have done the reverse. They have viewed what the Democratic party has put forth and then cleaved to the major points that they have in kind with the respective factions while casting aside the other major points that remain to be addressed WITHIN THE BLACK COMMUNITY.
There is simply no getting around it folks. The over all machine that you see as expressed between these two factions is STILL the Machine that ultimately presides RIGHT NOW over the Black Community. There is a difference without a distinction.
If we expand the argument to the national level my point above will be expressed. At the national level we have at least two parties. Each of these respective factions are able to go into their corners to convene about strategy as they duke it out for another round. The only time they would think to come together, putting their differences aside for a greater cause would be upon some national tragedy such as an attack by a foreign force against the United States. In normal order however "unity" is a threat to the attainment of their own specific goals.
Compare this with the supposed factions within the Black Democratic fabric. Aside from a few dust ups that occurred at the Congressional Black Caucus Legislative Weekend last year (most of which was over support for Obama vs Clinton) there really is no IDEOLOGICAL differences between these two groups - only the occasional tactical difference in how each believe something should be done. At the end of the day they convene together in the same strategy sessions and the operate and vote more or less as a machine.
To most observers the response to this would be "GREAT! We have 'Black Unity' within one political machine. What is the problem that you have with this?" The problem is that counter to the needed UNITY and suppression of differences when an outside attacker harms America as a whole....Black America is in an injured state currently and this is the worst time for UNITY as a means of looking past that which this same political machine is currently governing over.
The dominant theory that is currently in place is that if the Black voters grows the POLITICAL MACHINE that it will one day have the POWER to redirect resources into our communities and thus address our academic, economic, public safety and health care concerns. The primary framework for doing this is the Democratic Party. As they inspect the histories of the cities that they took over and make note of the failure of this plan they will trump it up to the problem that "White Flight" caused in the "de-capitalization" of these cities and thus, robbed of funds, they fell short of their goals. THIS TIME!, however things are going to be different. We plan to do it at a national level and they have no where to run from the tax man's reach - or so they say.
All the while that this "one off" assumption is made (that being grow the machine for future accomplishment of our goals) it is the Democratic Party which grows while our collective problems remain, despite this growth. The Black Collective Political Consciousness, as with the Public School Lobby has fallen into a mentally protective theory that no one should expect to see any INCREMENTAL BENEFIT until our master goal is accomplished and THEN all of the benefit will come gushing through to the community. This in itself plants the seeds of the current abstraction and non-accountability that is present with this machine that dominates us. It is simply INSANE for a people to suppress criticism of a machine lest they fear derailing it from its long term goals. The fact is that long term goals are nothing more than an aggregation of a bunch of SHORT TERM GOALS having been met along the way. We have been perverted to believe that the "short term goals" that we should be focusing on is the collection of political offices that are under our control - first as Democrats having won the seats away from Republicans and then as Black Democrats having won the seats away from White Democrats and all other. All the while that we have indexed our SUCCESS to the placement of a person who "thinks like us and who represents our best interests"........it is OUR BEST INTERESTS as PROVEN ON THE GROUND that have been squandered!!! No sane people would continue along this course.
(PS: If I there were not ample evidence pointing to the truth of what I am saying then I could understand why certain hard hearted and skeptical people would choose to ignore the obvious points that I am making).