If you're black you already know this and if you're not, I'm sure you've suspected it. No matter what we might say in the polls today, come time to vote in our respective primaries I guarantee you that the black vote for Obama will be nothing short of a landslide.
Look, not only do we not all look alike, we certainly do not all think alike. We are hip hoppers and round-the-way girls, church deacons and ladies in hats. We are school teachers and opera singers, con men and police women, revolutionaries and Republicans. We have never done everything in lockstep. Just as I've got some cousins as white-looking as Reese Witherspoon and others as dark as Wesley Snipes, we are also a rainbow coalition of very personal opinions.
We're all going to vote for Obama.
If the majority of black folks swore O.J. was innocent just because of the color of his skin, the majority of us, when we're alone in that ballot booth, will pull the lever for brother Obama.
It's just too hard to vote for anybody else.
I am a fan of Obama, Edwards and Hilary and if any one of them asked me to help with their campaigns I would give them my all. However, personally, only a vote for Obama will send me out of the voting booth with a smile on my face. I don't know if he's going to win the nomination or the national election but if there is even chance that there will be a black President in my life time I'll be damned if I won't be one of the millions out there that helped row that boat. For black folks, an Obama presidency would be as miraculously uplifting as sending a man to the moon.
But what about the Sharpton and Jackson campaigns you might ask? They didn't get all the black vote. Those two were very different because they were largely ceremonial.
I worked for both Jesse Jackson presidential campaigns as a kid, driving up and down Harlem shouting into a megaphone strapped to the roof to get out the vote. I knew he wasn't going to win but he was the only progressive candidate running and I wanted to help give him the juice to push the Democrats a little more left of center. The fact that he was black like me didn't hurt either. On the day of the New York primary you should have seen the Harlemites hanging out of their windows and shooting me the thumbs up as if I had liberated Paris.
I didn't vote or work for Sharpton because I don't trust him, don't think he's qualified and knew he had no chance of winning.
Obama, on the other hand, is as excellent a choice as the other two leading candidates. He is both viable and capable. Black people have no reason not to vote for him.
The coming black Obama landslide came to me the other day in the grocery store. I was buying cereal and reached for my usual box of Cinnamon Life. As always I picked up the box with the smiling black-haired white girl on the front. Then I noticed, right next to her, another box of Cinnamon Life, only with a cute little brown-skinned black girl smiling from that box.
I put the old box down and picked up the new.
If the black girl were the spokesmodel for some cheap store brand I wouldn't have traded in the poor little white girl. However since the product inside was identical, buying the one tailor made for me made me smile. And what about the little girl on the 24 mega pack of my Northern bathroom tissue? As chocolate as a Hershey bar.
Anyone who knows me (or several of my former girlfriends) knows that I am in no way anti-white. I don't wear a rasta knit cap and I haven't changed my name to something Kenyan. I don't wear a bowtie and sell bean pies.
Nevertheless, race is a glue.
The history I share with other black people fuels an irresistible kinship. Look, if I were President I'd have every golf course in the country converted into a water park, but still I feel good every time Tiger wins and momentarily melancholy every time he doesn't. When they finally caught the D.C. snipers I felt a twinge, as if my distant cousins had turned out to be those monsters. How many German-Americans lost sleep feeling guilty the night they caught Jeffrey Dahmer?
In this way we black folks resemble another proud and sometimes touchy minority in America ... Canadians. You ever notice how both of us can be somewhat irrationally possessive of our confreres? I mean, you can't get two bars into a Joni Mitchell song without some Canadian chirping, "You know she grew up in Saskatoon, eh?"
Believe me, if a Canadian were ever allowed to run for President of the United States the majority of those crazy Canucks would vote for him too.