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Millions of people this year have watched homes that they have owned for decades taken away from them through foreclosure, an after effect of Predatory Lending. According to Wikipedia.com, Predatory lending is defined as, the practice of a lender deceptively convincing borrowers to agree to unfair and abusive loan terms, or systematically violating those terms in ways that make it difficult for the borrower to defend against. In New York City alone, for the 2007-8 year, there we be over 10,000 foreclosures due to predatory lending and the majority of these foreclosures will be made against some of the weakest and poorest members of our community, African-American seniors. Across America, states are investigating charges that banks targeted blacks and Latinos in this detestable scheme.
But there is another foreclosure going on in America today, one that we might not think of, but which is filling up our newspapers and magazines, the web and the television. You see, the Clintons have foreclosed on blacks.
In 1992 blacks took out a loan with Bill and Hillary Clinton. We gave them the keys to our home, America, with the agreement that they would help us make this a better place by showing us respect and insuring that people of color would get treated as people and not mere pawns on a political chessboard. To that end we remained loyal. In fact out of America blacks were probably the most loyal to the Clinton brand than any other group in this nation. When Bill Clinton said, I did not have sexual relations with that woman, we believed him; and when he finally admitted the truth, we were the first to take his side. When he left office, tagged like Hester in the Scarlet Letter, we took him into the heart of Harlem, welcoming him into our community, our restaurants, and our homes. We helped make his wife our Senator. We looked up to him. We admired him. We were loyal soldiers.
We fulfilled our side of the bargain, but what we didnt know was that it was a predatory loan, and now Hillary has posted up the foreclosure sign.
For the last six months, blacks have stood by and watched the Clintons inject race into the campaign for the Democratic nomination. Im sure Hillary didnt want to do it. Im sure a year ago when her closest challenger, John Edwards, was 20 points behind, and Barack Obama was just a black dude with the strange name, Hillary wasnt thinking about race. But the pressure of ambition and the desire to win can bring out the real character of a person, and in Hillarys case her character was the kitchen sink. It was that of a real Predator. When she saw that black people were lining up behind Obama, when she saw that her path to the While House was paved with the needs of whites, she sold blacks down the river.
We first watched as she stood idly by while her surrogates and husband made Obamas race an issue. She remained silent while Geraldine Ferraro told voters that Obamas candidacy was nothing but affirmative action. She remained silent when Bill Clinton demeaned Obamas win of North Carolina, saying that, “Jesse Jackson won South Carolina in ’84 and ’88 Jackson ran a good campaign. And Obama ran a good campaign here.” Later Bill Clinton outrageously claimed that Obamas team was playing the race card against him, twisting around the statement I previously mentioned. Now thats rich.
But that wasnt enough.
Soon she got directly in the fray. On 60 Minutes, when asked about the rumor that Obama was Muslim she said, No! Why would I? There’s nothing to base that on. As far as I know. [Boldface mine]. Of course that rumor took root when two of her former staffers circulated the memo that Obama was a Muslim, along with a picture of him dressed in traditional Kenyan clothing.
And then there is Rev. Wright.
Its well known that this whole mess began when Richard Cohen of the Washington Post, and Hillary supporter, brought up Rev. Wright in a January 15th column. His intent at the time was to use Wright to link Obama to Farrakhan; but, as weve seen in the multitude of cherry picked video clips making the rounds, eventually Wright himself was enough to stir up racial anxieties among the white population. Clinton gleefully nailed Obama to his minister, circulating ads and flyers that exploited white fears and hatreds. She told us in the last debate that Wright wouldnt have been her minister, implicitly stating that Obamas connection with Wright was a deficiency of character, a flaw not suitable for the Commander-in-chief.
But Hillary Clintons interview with Bill OReilly last night was the straw that broke this camels back.
I dont need to sit up here and recount Bill OReillys racism. The man was surprised that black use knives and forks. Hes Illseeds alien of the year, or at least gets a lifetime achievement award in the category of ignorance. Bill OReilly is a man who makes his living on demagoguery, polarizing, misleading, and preying on white fears and anxieties. Thus, its no wonder that it took Hillary this long to make an appearance on his show.
They jumped right into Wright, with OReilly providing the perfect foil for Hillary, saying, Can you believe this Rev. Wright guy? Can you believe him? Like a coy mistress, Clinton tepidly parried his questioning, Im going to leave it to the voters to decide. She said as if Rev. Wright was on the ballot in November. Then she repeated her claim that she would not have stayed in his church.
But that wasnt enough for OReilly. Frothing at the mouth, thirsty for new bile to spew, he pressed her harder, asking her what she thought about this as an American. From there on it all went downhill, ending with what will probably be the sound byte of the week, He [Obama] made his views clearfinallythat he disagreed with Wright, and I think thats what he had to do.
Slam! That was the sound of the pad lock getting snapped on your door.
Make no bones about it, yesterdays interview was a slap in the face of black America.
It wasnt as if Hillary couldnt have gone on FOX News, I mean Obama sat down with Chris Wallace on FOX News Sunday and gave an interview. FOX News, for better or worse, has its audience of American voters and its the responsibility for a candidate to reach out to everyone with their message. That being said there is something particularly disrespectful and disgusting for Hillary to sit with Bill OReilly in order to chastise and criticize her black opponent. She could have done that interview with Juan Williams, or even Alan Colmes and FOX wouldnt have turned that down. But Hillary specifically sought out one of the most racist and vitriol spewing personalities in the media to criticize a black man.
Let that settle in.
Deciding to sit and talk about these issues with OReilly was the Clintons decisive moment with black Americans. In this moment she truly showed what she thought of us and our struggle, the struggle to overcome people like OReilly and his ilk, and their attitudes about blacks and minorities. This isnt about Obamathis is about respect. This isnt about winning the race, but about how you play the game.
Obamas shown respect. He has treated Hillary with dignity even when it hasnt been due. He has never once interjected that because of her religion, because of her gender, or her personal issues that she would not be qualified for office. Hes attacked her, but its been on her policies, and her record as a Senator, especially her disastrous vote for the Iraq war. But in her march to fulfill what she undoubtedly sees as her destiny, she forgot that in tearing down Obama, and by making his race, his culture, his religion an issue she tore down our race, our culture, our religion.
Obama may have been her target, but we blacks are the collateral damage.
Seeing what I saw last night, I actually became physically sick. Watching her prim and smile and throw Obama and Rev. Wright under the bus all on the altar of Bill OReilly is a completely traitorous action that is tantamount to stabbing blacks in the back.
Whether or not you support Obama, I think blacks understand his importance in the state of black America today and admire how hes conducted his campaign. In a way, his candidacy has taken the next step in the civil rights movement, a movement that is undeniably American and has helped secure dignity and justice for all Americans. But we all know that this movement is not concluded. As Sean Bell recently showed us, we are still in the struggle and Obamas candidacy is just another battle in the ongoing war. Its not about whether he wins or loses, but its about the chance hes givena chance to run as a Senator, a politician, a man, an American, and Barack Obama. When Hillary evokes the tactics of Karl Rove, dredging up the worse stereotypes and lies based on racism, she only sets the movement back, and thats a loss in general for America but specifically for blacks.
Last night Hillary Clinton foreclosed on black America, but today we start looking for a new bank.
Listen to the doors slam shut here:
The Wolf runs a blog on political matters at www.wordofthepeople.blogspot.com. His first novel, The Intellectual Prostitute, will be dropping this fall.