America’s Racial Time Bomb Is Ticking

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America’s Racial Time Bomb Is Ticking

Barack Obama was supposed to defuse racial tension in America. Sadly, he is making it worse.

As a presidential candidate, Barack Obama sold himself as the antidote to America’s enduring racial infirmities.

Remember his major speech on race in March 2008? It was more impressive than Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream,” swooned msnbc’s Chris Matthews—the “best speech ever given on race in this country.” cbs co-host Maggie Rodriguez hailed it as a “defining cultural moment in America.” Good Morning America host Robin Roberts praised it as not just good for Obama’s campaign, but also for the “future of the country.”

Many believed Mr. Obama’s election heralded a new era of post-racial political and societal progress. Identity politics would begin to fade into irrelevance, America’s festering race wounds would start to heal. America, united under its first black president, would now explore new and better frontiers in race relations.

They were wrong.

Rather than soothe old wounds and diffuse racial tensions by avoiding race-based politics, Barack Obama has knowingly, perhaps intentionally, inflamed existing race wounds by “consistently emphasiz[ing] racial identity to further his own advantage,” noted Victor Davis Hanson this week. Instead of leading America out of its “racial morass,” the president so far has “only pushed us far deeper into it” (emphasis mine throughout).

By now you’re probably familiar with the president’s provocative remarks during his nationally televised address last week. Mr. Obama is an intelligent man, and is familiar with how combustible the race issue is, particularly when oxidized by the mainstream media. Mr. Obama knew he was handed a loaded gun when he was asked to comment on the July 16 arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., who is black, by James Crowley, a white sergeant in the Cambridge Police Department. (See here and here for the details of this story.)

The president was given a choice: Disarm the loaded question (a simple statement saying he couldn’t comment because he did not know the details would have sufficed)—or pull the trigger and incite what he knew would become a national debate on race.

Mr. Obama chose the latter.

After admitting that he was not there and did not know all the facts, the president confidently stated on live television that the Cambridge Police Department had “acted stupidly” in arresting his friend, Professor Gates. The president then segued into a short sermon on the problem of racial profiling that still exists in America: “[W]hat I think we know separate and apart from this incident is that there is a long history in this country of African Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately. And that’s just a fact.”

For a man so educated in and sensitive to the race issue in America—not to mention a post-racial president saddled with the unenviable responsibility of solving racial tension—Mr. Obama showed a remarkable absence of wisdom by weighing in on this issue in this manner. This was a racially charged situation from its inception on the doorsteps of Mr. Gates’s home, and the president premeditatedly transformed it into a national debate on race.


With the Gates story still front-page news, Americans got another glimpse at Mr. Obama’s tendency for race-based politics Tuesday, when the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the president’s nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court. Handpicked by Mr. Obama, Ms. Sotomayor is renowned for the race-based underpinnings of her moral and judicial thinking, particularly her infamous racially charged remark: “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”

Mr. Obama did not merely select a judge with an undeniable tendency for making decisions based on racial identity (as witnessed by her ruling in the Ricci v. DeStefano case, which was overturned last month by the U.S. Supreme Court). His relative silence on the issue and unwillingness to condemn Ms. Sotomayor’s racially inflammatory remarks indicates that the president more than likely agrees with the judge.

Then there’s Eric Holder, President Obama’s feisty attorney general. In a speech in February commemorating Black History Month, Mr. Holder roasted the American people as a “nation of cowards” for not regularly discussing and confronting America’s racial problems. As the controversy flared, conservatives criticized Mr. Holder’s address to Justice Department employees for being abrasive and provocative, actually representing a partial explanation for an unwillingness to discuss race.

In an effort to soothe the controversy caused by the man he appointed, Mr. Obama told the New York Times that had he been advising the attorney general, “we would have used different language.” During the interview, the Times reported, “the president said that despite Mr. Holder’s choice of words, he had a point.”

Many elected Barack Obama to be a racial healer. But in the past six months alone, at least three major instances have arisen where Mr. Obama had the choice to either stoke or douse what were racially charged issues. In each instance, the president chose to allow the issue to flare into a racial firestorm.

The case is strong that Barack Obama is making America’s racial infirmities worse.

The Trumpet has long been skeptical of Mr. Obama’s ability to solve, or even soothe, America’s race issues. In July last year, as the controversy over Mr. Obama’s twenty-year relationship with the rabidly racist preacher Jeremiah Wright billowed, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote: “The race card is going to be played often for political gain! And it is going to cost America dearly. This is not a small problem. We must understand where the race issue is leading us. The end result is going to be worse than anything you imagine.”

Elsewhere, Mr. Flurry wrote that America’s racial tension is a ticking time bomb.

Some of our skepticism about President Obama as a racial healer comes from his personal position and motivation. But most of it stems from an understanding of human nature. Racial strife is endemic to history, long before the Obama presidency—or America—existed. This deadly infirmity has plagued the human race since before the days of Noah. In fact, as Herbert Armstrong explained in Mystery of the Ages, “the chief cause of the violence and chaos of world conditions [prior to the Flood], was racial hatreds, interracial marriages, and racial violence caused by man’s efforts toward integration and amalgamation of races, contrary to God’s laws.”

We need to consider this history. It informs us where racial tension ends!

No human has, nor ever will, solve the enduring problem of racial tension and hatred. Like many of man’s solutions to his problems, Mr. Obama’s antidotes will only exacerbate the problems. God alone can heal America’s deep racial wounds. How will He do this? By removing human nature and replacing it with the loving nature of God, imparted by the power of the Holy Spirit. Thankfully, this time is bearing down upon us rapidly.

Until then, America’s racial time bomb will continue to tick toward explosion!