The Republican Party, in all its iterations, held its breath this week in anticipation that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie would enter the race for the 2012 presidential election. Christie, after taking conservatives to the brink of hope, has decided not to run. So, the search continues to try to find somebody, anybody, that can successfully disrupt the re-election of President Barack Obama.
The Republicans want to beat him. They wanna beat him bad. The Tea Party wants him to lose worse than they want to save the American people in this depressing economy. If Obama is the cure for America’s sickness, then they don’t want to take the medicine. If the president is the solution to the nation’s problems, the Tea Party doesn’t want those problems solved. They’ll collapse the country and start over rather than let Obama rebuild it.
It’s become obvious that some of them hate Obama more than they love their country, and they’ve made it clear that they can’t do both. Country singer, Hank “Are You Ready for Some Footbaaalll?” Williams, gave the nation some insight into that mindset on Fox this past weekend when he compared President Obama to Hitler and called the president and Vice President Joe Biden “the enemy.” ESPN pulled Williams’ opening from the Monday Night Football game this week. We cannot escape that there is a panicked mentality out in the society that wants “a change” that has nothing to do with what’s best for the country. America is looking for hope–the Great White Hope–again.
The Great White Hope mentality started 100 years ago when Jack Johnson won the heavyweight championship of the world in 1908 at the height of the post-Plessy-v.- Ferguson Jim Crow era. Promoter Jack London put out a worldwide call for a Great White Hope to get the title belt back from Johnson, who associated with White women and was full of braggadocio at a time when his victories literally fueled race riots.
That was the case after Johnson beat retired, previously undefeated heavyweight champion James Jeffries in the “Fight of the Century.” Two weeks after Johnson beat Jeffries (and collected $65,000), President Teddy Roosevelt wrote an editorial supporting a national ban on boxing. Johnson, who held the title until 1915, was considered the most notorious Black in America, for no other reason than that he was great at his craft. And he was holding what was called the “the White man’s title.”
He lost to a Kansas “giant” named Jess Willard in a 45-round championship match fought in Havana, Cuba. Willard was 27. Johnson was 37, and out of shape. Johnson was knocked out in the 26th round, but had won all the rounds prior, to most people’s surprise.
Rumors were that Johnson threw the fight to get Mann Act charges dropped so he could get back in the country. The point is that America never stopped trying to find the “hope” that could beat Jack Johnson. Then they found one.
It’s been 100 years since Black America held a title White America wanted this badly. America, or some elements of America, are desperately looking for a “hope” that can beat Barack Obama. It’s almost laughable some of the people that have been put up. A few were qualified, but most were not. They were just willing and hopeful…and far from great. First, it was Sarah Palin, then it was Donald Trump, then it was Michele Bachmann, then it was Rick Perry…later, it was Chris Christie. Who will be next now that Christie has taken his name out of the “hope” race. The last Great White Hope, Rick Perry, is fading fast after he was found camping at his “Niggerhead” ranch he leased. Some people are so desperate to send signals, they send the wrong ones.
Perry must’ve forgotten new racism rule No. 1, no hate speech. He forgot Republicans don’t use that word anymore, at least not publicly. They use codified language. Whoever the next Great White Hope is has to know how to play the game. Obviously, Christie wasn’t ready to, or didn’t want to. They will find somebody, though. And not Herman Cain either. They tried that before with Alan Keyes. That’s how we got Obama in the first place. He beat the blackest White person the Republicans could find. Didn’t work. They need a real White person this time. It would help if they really were “great,” but it’s not a prerequisite. They just have to be White, hopeful and willing to take on Obama while carrying their same ole, same ole message.
The only reason Obama is so despised is because he is so good at his craft. Too good and the Republicans know it. So they have to get him before a second term where he will likely become great at his craft. That’s the reality of unforgivable blackness. There has to be a Great White Hope out there somewhere to deal with this “Black holding the White man’s title” thing, and they intend to find him (or her). They’re also hoping Obama gets tired before the end of the fight in November 2012 and gets knocked out.
In the meantime, the search continues…
Anthony Asadullah Samad, Ph.D., is a national columnist, managing director of the Urban Issues Forum and author of the upcoming book, “Real Eyez: Race, Reality and Politics in 21st Century Popular Culture.” He can be reached at www.AnthonySamad.com or on Twitter at @dranthonysamad.
DISCLAIMER: The beliefs and viewpoints expressed in opinion pieces, letters to the editor, by columnists and/or contributing writers are not necessarily those of OurWeekly.