Monday, September 17, 2007

AfroSpear Bloggers Address Edwards Campaign's Statements About Diversity in the Democratic Nomination Process

AfroSpear bloggers are expressing disappointment that recent statements by the John Edwards presidential campaign may reflect resentment toward in diversity in the 2008 Democratic presidential nominating process. On June 17, in Carol, Iowa, John Edwards implied that only a white man can win the presidency, saying,
"It's not just a question of who you like. It's not just a question of whose vision you are impressed with. It's also a question of who is most likely to win the general election. It's a pretty simple thing. Who will be a stronger candidate in the general election here in the State of Iowa? Who can go to other parts of the country when we have swing candidates running for the Congress and the Senate? Is the candidate going to have to say, 'Don't come here. Don't come here and campaign with me. I can't win if you campaign with me.'"Iowa Independent
He added later,
"I think it's just a reality that I can campaign anyplace in America." Iowa Independent
Edwards appeared to be implying that he should be the Democratic nominee because he is a white man.

Then, Elizabeth Edwards, in an interview with CIO Insights’ Edwards Cone, published August 6, 2007, said,
“We can't make John black, we can't make him a woman. Those things get you a lot of press, worth a certain amount of fundraising dollars. Now it's nice to get on the news, but not the be all and end all.”
Many AfroSpear bloggers interpret that statement as an expression of the Edwards campaign’s resentment at having to compete in a diverse candidate field. The Slant Truth AfroSpear blog said,

Did you just read what I just read? Elizabeth Edwards just played the "what about teh menz" and the "what about teh white folks" card in a single hand. And she did so in reference to a medium that is supposed to help democratize political participation in the U.S.. Does she really expect anyone to believe that her husband is at a political disadvantage because he is a white male? Slant Truth

The PlezWorld AfroSpear Blog was equally critical of the Edwards campaign, calling Elizabeth Edwards' recent comments "absurd."

The implication that Obama and Hillary consider getting attention for being black or a woman "the be all and end all" is, of course, completely absurd, especially given how much black-on-black racism the Obama campaign has faced, and how dizzy everyone got when Hillary showed the tiniest bit of cleavage.

[Elizabeth Edwards] remarks are also the ultimate in irony. She spent the article praising the Web; now that same engine will work overtime to crucify her. PlezWorld

Now, in a September 17 New Yorker article, Edwards told the New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza,

“The difference between them, Edwards told me, is the difference between “Kumbaya” and “saying, ‘This is a battle. It’s a fight.’” (Emphasis added.) September 17 New Yorker article,

To this, the Too Sense AfroSpear blog says,

Edwards To America: "I'm The White Guy." That's the subtext of this WaPo article, and I would be entirely skeptical were it not for recent comments made by his wife and the cover of last month's Esquire, but it really seems like appealing to white America's sense of its own victimhood is becoming an election strategy for the Edwards campaign. Too Sense
A brief study of the history of the word "kumbaya" shows that the word is inherently linked to the Black struggle for freedom and equality in the United States:

O "spiritual" foi a primeira manifestação musical norte-americana, pois clássicos europeus, baladas inglesas, hinos e cantos irlandeses dominavam a música dos Estados Unidos até os escravos criarem seus cânticos de sofrimento e esperança.

Translated: The spiritual was the first North American music [in the Colonial period], because European classics, English ballads, Irish cantos and hymns dominated United States music until the [Black] slaves created their own songs of suffering and hope. Electronic Brazil
Wikipedia says:
Originally titled "Come By Here", it first appeared in "Revival Choruses of Marvin V. Frey", a lyric sheet printed in Portland in 1939. In 1946, the song returned from Africa with a missionary family, who toured America singing the song with its now world famous Angolan text "Kum Ba Yah". ( . . . ) The song enjoyed newfound popularity during the folk revival of the 1960s, largely due to Joan Baez's 1962 recording of the song, and became associated with the Civil Rights Movement of that decade. Wikipedia: Kumbaya
Although Edwards may not have meant to reference Obama’s African heritage by disparaging his efforts using the African word “kumbaya,” which is the name a song that symbolizes the American Civil Rights Movement, still Edwards has left the impression that he may resent running in a diverse and competitive field.

Comments such as these risk leaving the impression that John Edwards seeks to highlight the fact that he is a white man as a selling point in his competition for the Democratic nomination.

Many AfroSpear bloggers have welcomed the Edwards campaign’s focus on poverty and New Orleans. However, we regret comments and statements that appear to express resentment at competing in a diverse and strong field of candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Francis L. Holland, Esq.
The Francis L. Holland AfroSpear Blog
Democratic Afrosphere

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