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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Jan. 18, 2007 / 28 Teves 5767

Obama's big test — and ours

By Clarence Page


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | This time he's not kidding.


"As many of you know, over the last few months I have been thinking hard about my plans for 2008," said Sen. Barack Obama in a groundbreaking announcement of his presidential intentions on his Web site.


In those initial moments, the Illinois Democrat reminded me of the gag video that he recorded with a very similar beginning for airing on "Monday Night Football." But this time Obama was not pulling our collective leg. He's beginning the process of a presidential run.


And unlike every other candidate of known African descent who has come before him, he's actually got a chance to be nominated and — who knows? — perhaps even win the grand prize.


Win or lose, he now faces the big questions, like what does he stand for? Can he take the heat and go the distance of a rigorous campaign? Does he have enough experience? Will he be hurt by his middle name, "Hussein"? Will he quit smoking?


That last one, interestingly enough, causes the most concern among Democrats with whom I have spoken. The party that reveres the memory of Franklin D. Roosevelt, who jauntily flaunted his smokes in a fancy little cigarette holder, now is the first to exile those who pollute their own lungs. Senator, snuff it out!


Yet, as much as we wait to hear what a presidential run will tell us about Obama, I expect it to tell us even more about America.


Already the national conversation about Obama has been like that surrounding no other presidential candidate I've seen or even imagined.


I hear, for example, from readers who admonish me to stop calling him "black," since he is the mixed-race offspring of a white mother from Kansas and a black father from Kenya. Now hear this, folks: Media people call Barack "black" or "African American" for several reasons, not the least of which is his own preference for the labels.


We are captives of this country's peculiar custom, the almost unique one-drop rule dating back to slavery times that defines as "black" anyone who has at least one drop of black Africa-originated blood. Obama has not run away from the label unlike, say, Tiger Woods, who famously told Oprah Winfrey that he likes to call himself a "Cablinasian," for "Caucasian, black, Indian and Asian."


That's just as well for Obama, since he wants to win black votes. As a long-time observer of black politics, especially in Chicago, Obama's hometown, I can tell you that a substantial number of black voters are mightily suspicious and even personally offended by black folks who don't want to be called "black." Many are wary of anyone who sounds, for whatever reason, a bit too eager to abandon the tribe.


Absurd? Blame the inadequacy of our language to navigate the largely political and social construct that we call "race." The chance to cut American life loose from such absurdities may, in itself, be boosting Obama's popularity, even among those who don't know much about his political beliefs. His sheer winnability as a black candidate or, if you prefer, not-all-white candidate, offers a comforting reassurance to many that this country is not as racist as many Americans fear it still might be.


Black author and essayist Debra Dickerson in a Los Angeles Times quote called "the swooning from white people" about Obama "a paroxysm of self-congratulation." That's OK, America. Pat yourself on the back. As recently as 1967, marriages like the one that produced Obama still were illegal in 16 states.


Like then-Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) in 2004, Obama is fresh, new and exciting in spite of his lack of national political experience. And, unlike Edwards, he offers a bonus: He assuages white guilt.


He also offers an alternative to the more extreme race-based politics of other media-anointed leaders like, say, the Rev. Jesse Jackson or the Rev. Al Sharpton. That might explain why Jackson and Sharpton have been noticeably restrained in their critiques of Obama.


Harry Belafonte, the singer-activist who called Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice "house slaves" on the Bush plantation, says America needs to be "careful" about Obama, according to the London Times: "We don't know what he's truly about." The London Times headlined that story, "Obama's Charm Lost on America's Black Activists." But, really, chaps, that's stepping a bit too far past the cricket wicket. You wouldn't have black leaders endorse Obama just because he's black, would you?


That's why it's good for America that Obama has decided to run. This is a big contest for him. It's also a big test for the rest of us.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

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