Can you smell it? There's a faint whiff of anarchy in the air. Nothing to get alarmed about. Not yet, anyway. Just a barely discernible unarticulated threat, a mere suggestion of a threat. But nonetheless it is there.
The voices are just whispers now, soft and faraway, but they are angry and determined: It is our time now, they are saying. You have had your time and you have used it to oppress us, to keep us down. But it is our time now. And you had better not interfere. For generations we have waited for this moment and we will not be deprived. It is our time now, and if you know what's good for you, you'd better step aside.
Of course, no one has actually come right out and said it quite this way, but there have been hints, there is something in the air. If Obama is not elected in November --
On his Fox News radio show, Tom Sullivan predicted that African-Americans would be rioting in the streets similar to what happened after the O.J. trial in the 1990s.
Let me put it to you a different way. What if Barack Obama is not -- does not win the Democratic nomination, or he does win it, and loses in the presidential race against John McCain? Is black America going to throw their hands up and say, 'Man, you know, I thought we were getting somewhere in this country, but this is just a bunch of racial bigots in this country and they still hate blacks and, I mean, if Barack Obama can't get elected, then we're never gonna have anybody that's a black that's gonna be elected president.' And will there be riots in the streets? I think the answer to that is yes and yes.
And these comments, all the way from India:
If Obama is not elected, it would destroy America because this time the blacks think that America has the best possible candidate that it has got the opportunity to elect as its president.
If Obama is not elected, the blacks would feel being cheated and would rightfully think that a great candidate has not been chosen just because of his skin colour and would be antagonised permanently.
For those well-intentioned observers amongst us, this 2008 presidential race has nothing whatsoever to do with race. They are still trying their level best to convince us all of this. The unprecedented fact of Obama's blackness, and it's symbolic meaning to African-Americans and, as we are beginning to see, to people of color around the world is to simply be ignored. In fact, they confidently reassure us, an Obama presidency would prove to the world that race doesn't matter in America, that we have moved beyond all that, that we have deeply regretted our shameful past and are willing to make amends. It is after all Time for Change. Change we can believe in.
But the question still remains: will our November elections, whatever their outcome, be but another example of Democracy in action, or could they be the OJ Simpson trial writ large?
It is probably safe to say that to most Americans this presidential election is still about Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and liberals, the economy, national security, and the war in Iraq.
There are others, however, both here and abroad for whom this election represents something altogether different. If Barack Hussein Obama wins the Presidency of the United States of America this November then all is right with the world and Democracy is alive and well.
But if he loses the presidency, if he is deprived of the presidency, it would prove that white supremacy is still in control of the engines of power in America -- and furthermore, they say, if a black candidate with the following and support of a Barack Obama can't become president, then no black man will ever be allowed to become president. And this cannot be tolerated.
Perhaps more than any other American Presidential election in history, this 2008 contest is being watched by the whole world. To a surprising number of people around this world Barack Hussein Obama is not just a black American presidential candidate; he is the symbol for an oppressed race, a symbol for all of the oppressed colored peoples of this world, a champion in their fight against that never-ending blight of white post-colonialist oppression, a symbol of their righteous anger and the promise of racial retribution. For these unhappy souls, it truly is to be Us versus Them.
Will it be Watts 1965 redux if Obama loses his bid for the Presidency of the United States?
Does this election have anything at all to do with race?
We shall see.