Nobel Prize winning author Toni Morrison's old comment about Bill Clinton being the "first black president" recently ignited a firestorm debate about the role of race in the current presidential campaign against Democratic front runners Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. It is widely known that she (Toni Morrison) has been close to the Clintons in the past and was expected to show her support for Hillary Clinton's campaign, but if she thought Bill Clinton was the closest this country would ever get to having a bonafide black man in office, the emergence of Senator Barack Obama as a likely candidate to win the nomination and ultimately the presidency has become a sweet surprise. A surprise that Toni Morrison recently endorsed publicly in a way only a gifted writer would, she sent him a letter.
Read the letter below courtesy of The New York Observer.
Dear Senator Obama,
This letter represents a first for me--a public endorsement of a Presidential candidate. I feel driven to let you know why I am writing it. One reason is it may help gather other supporters; another is that this is one of those singular moments that nations ignore at their peril. I will not rehearse the multiple crises facing us, but of one thing I am certain: this opportunity for a national evolution (even revolution) will not come again soon, and I am convinced you are the person to capture it.
May I describe to you my thoughts?
I have admired Senator Clinton for years. Her knowledge always seemed to me exhaustive; her negotiation of politics expert. However I am more compelled by the quality of mind (as far as I can measure it) of a candidate. I cared little for her gender as a source of my admiration, and the little I did care was based on the fact that no liberal woman has ever ruled in America. Only conservative or "new-centrist" ones are allowed into that realm. Nor do I care very much for your race[s]. I would not support you if that was all you had to offer or because it might make me "proud."
In thinking carefully about the strengths of the candidates, I stunned myself when I came to the following conclusion: that in addition to keen intelligence, integrity and a rare authenticity, you exhibit something that has nothing to do with age, experience, race or gender and something I don't see in other candidates. That something is a creative imagination which coupled with brilliance equals wisdom. It is too bad if we associate it only with gray hair and old age. Or if we call searing vision naivete. Or if we believe cunning is insight. Or if we settle for finessing cures tailored for each ravaged tree in the forest while ignoring the poisonous landscape that feeds and surrounds it. Wisdom is a gift; you can't train for it, inherit it, learn it in a class, or earn it in the workplace--that access can foster the acquisition of knowledge, but not wisdom.
When, I wondered, was the last time this country was guided by such a leader? Someone whose moral center was un-embargoed? Someone with courage instead of mere ambition? Someone who truly thinks of his country's citizens as "we," not "they"? Someone who understands what it will take to help America realize the virtues it fancies about itself, what it desperately needs to become in the world?
Our future is ripe, outrageously rich in its possibilities. Yet unleashing the glory of that future will require a difficult labor, and some may be so frightened of its birth they will refuse to abandon their nostalgia for the womb.
There have been a few prescient leaders in our past, but you are the man for this time.
Good luck to you and to us.
Toni Morrison isn't the only celebrity showing her support for Sen. Obama. Actor and author Hill Harper is spreading the message to" BaRack The Vote", taken from the popular slogan used during the last presidential campaign to urge young people to participate in the political process. The Obama campaign has created an entire website where supporters can go to purchase hoodies, t-shirts, and tank tops in an assortment of colors to show their love for the man who will become America's first African-American president...and the first competent one in eight years.
Log onto barackawear.com to purchase your merchandise today. I will definitely be sporting my "BaRack The Vote" tee. 25% of the proceeds go to support Barack Obama's campaign.
Actress and The View co-host Sherri Shepard continues to make an ass out of herself and embarass us in front of millions of white folks on a weekly basis. I guess she never learned the rule as a kid "to think before she speaks", because every time she opens her mouth she proves to the world just how ignorant she is.
It wasn't that long ago that she was asked by co-host Whoopi Goldberg "is the world flat?" She first responded "…I don't know" and expanded that she "never thought about it", the co-star of two network programs continued that it was more important to her that she thought about how she was "going to feed her child". Barbara Walters replied to this defense of her scientific illiteracy, "You can do both." She then went on to quote scripture.
And if that wasn't bad enough, Sherri attempted to assert that Christians existed in classical Greece, and that the Greeks threw them to the lions . When confronted on this point, she further claimed that "Jesus came first" (before Greeks and Romans) and stated "I don't think anything predated Christians".
I think most of us were willing to give her a pass after the first couple of dumb statements, but three strikes and you're out Ms. Shepard, and that third strike happened yesterday.
On The View yesterday morning, Sherri recounted her close call of almost missing the cutoff for registering to vote via absentee ballot for the election in November. (Shepherd resides in New York, but is a California resident.) And apparently this is the first time that Sherri will be voting...ever! Having turned 18 in 1985, the now-41-year-old has missed out on the past five presidential elections because she "never knew the dates or anything." She said it was important to vote in this one, though, because otherwise, she wouldn't have a right to complain on The View about whomever is elected for an entire year. (She probably meant to say "four years")
God how I want Barbara Walters or Bill Getty to find a loophole in her contract so they can axe her and bring on another token black host. At least we have Whoopi.
Watch the video here.