The Dillard Doctrine

Urban Conservative Commentary on Politics & Life

Visibly Rattled

I’m a little bit shook this morning.

I’m trying to figure out how-in ten years or so-how I’m going to be able to explain to my son and/or daughter why I worked against one of my own.

It’s a thought that I’ve avoided ever since Obama launched his candidacy in 2007. For the past year, it’s been easy to avoid that issue. Rev. Wright and flag pins all provided easy-and somewhat pleasant-distractions to really thinking about the historical implications of the Obama ascendancy.

The reality is, I never expected Obama to be viable. There was no way a neophyte to the national political scene would win. Too inexperienced. No name recognition. And, at one point, I even asked, “didn’t he see what happened to the black presidents on ‘24’?”

Then a funny thing happened on the way to another Republican being inaugurated. Obama started winning. And didn’t stop.

And now, he’s the first African American nominee for President of a major political party. Even better-or worse-there’s a better than even chance that he will become the first African American president.

In his blog, Jonn-a friend of mine-asked why last night was historic. I’ll attempt to answer.

It shouldn’t have been. Nobody should care that Obama is a black man. This should have been a campaign run on issues. We should be past the point in our collective history where the color of someone’s skin should matter. We judge someone on their accomplishments, not what they look like, right?

Some of us do. I do. I can say-and more importantly, believe-that Jonn does. Unfortunately, for every two people who can look at someone and see past-or through-their skin color, there’s been thousands of others who couldn’t.

Over the course of the last few months, we have-slowly-turned that page. The Obama ascendency has show millions of people that race is no longer an impediment. It’s no longer a cause for someone to feel inadequate.

It shouldn’t have been that way. But it is.

African Americans have long memories, and we do not forget easily.

I’ve stepped out for conservative causes that I honestly believe in. Each time, I’ve felt the sting of other blacks looking at me. How could I, they ask. How much am I being paid? Why?

As I consider my own future in politics, I’m forced to ask myself if fighting for what I believe is worth the potential backlash. Will I be labeled as another sellout; an Uncle Tom? Or will people actually give me an honest look and judge me based on my merits, and not my past actions? Will people see that I stood up for what I believed, regardless of the consequences-or will they see another “token black guy?”

I shouldn’t think about this. I really shouldn’t care. But at the end of the night, when the phone stops ringing and when the cameras aren’t on me, I do.

I brought two newspapers this morning. One for me, and one to give to my children. They’ll learn about Obama the candidate-and maybe, Obama the president-in school. They’ll see the speeches, see the crowds that showed up for him.

Maybe they’ll ask what I thought of him. If I supported him.

And maybe, by then, I’ll be able to tell them why I didn’t…and not feel guilty about it.




Written by Coby Dillard

June 4, 2008 at 12:47 pm

Posted in Editorials

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5 Responses

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  1. Great post D. Honest and very compelling.

    BTW you can tell your daughter that you did not support Obama because you did not support his policies. That in itself is good enough.


    June 4, 2008 at 2:38 pm

  2. Piggybacking Val,

    Why would you feel guilty?

    And would that guilt include policy positions that your daughter would ask: Why didn’t you support that?


    June 4, 2008 at 5:15 pm

  3. Great post. Question for you and I hope to see a response. 😉

    What Obama policies do you not support and why do you believe McCain would make a better choice for our country?

    I see that you call yourself a conservative. I have not read enough of your blog to know what you mean by that, but I am curious. Let’s set party lines aside and tell me what you think.

    On the flip side, as a Black woman, I think you can feel immense pride at the event even if you did not support the candidte. Black people are not a monolith.


    June 5, 2008 at 3:08 pm

  4. BlackLit,
    I’ve got two pieces here, both written back in-January or thereabout-that detail my issues with Obama, and why I think McCain’s better suited to lead the country.

    Sorry for the delayed response; demands on my time keep me from here a lot.




    June 10, 2008 at 1:56 pm

  5. “There was no way a neophyte to the national political scene would win.”

    Bush did it in 2000.
    Reagan did it in 1980.

    “Name recognition”

    Oh, W. is George’s boy and Reagan was in the movies. Got it.

    You would have been better of saying:

    “There was no way a person without military service would win.”

    Given all the discussion about security and the war that would be pretty good. I mean W. and Reagan were both officers during times of (not actually in) war.

    The best I could come back with would have been … Clinton. Never mind, pretty good comeback.


    You are 100% correct. It shouldn’t have been, but it is. Regardless of the many achievements of blacks in America (and there are many, and some of them are highly visible, and celebrated) there is is still a great deal more to do, further to go. There are entirely too many “no” and “first” (no black presidents, first black commanding general, 82nd Abn Div) for us to wave the flag of racial equality, parity, harmony or any other word ending in y. Your friend John, is either blind, lying to you, or worse, lying to himself. No matter how “open minded” you may be, race is a reality. Its something that we have come to define by and expect of. Anything outside of those definitions or expectations are exception rather than rule.

    I think your surprise at his success, and the following guilt is that for the first time, you realize that you hold the same definitions or expectation that you fault others for having.

    Race has NEVER been an impediment. It apparently still is a reason for some to feel inadequate.


    September 1, 2008 at 12:31 am

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