It's on. Smooth Barack is in it to win it too. Just like that - in Springfield, Illinois, on a cold, sunny February morning, the country has finally fielded (in my opinion) the first, legitimate southside presidential candidate. If y'all got a chance to catch Smooth's announcement speech (if not check it here), y'all already know the brother has an uncanny knack for stringing words together. I caught his announcement on CNN and continue to like what I hear. I know one thing, anybody up against this brother in any televised debate better come correct cuz Smooth's got the whole oratory package working - smooth delivery, memorized, thoughtful , inspiring content, a self-deprecating demeanor and an amazing ability to relate everything back to the founding ideals of the country. That should equate to something unheard of in quite some time - must see political TV. Despite all that ol Ty still has one nagging concern about all this...
Y'all outside Chicago may not be familiar with Father Michael Pfleger, leader of the St. Sabina Catholic Church in Chicago - one of the few Catholic churches in Chicago that makes it its business to embrace and advocate for Chicago's southside population. Ebonically speaking, Father Pfleger is a down homey and as I was reviewing the off the hook roster of speakers coming to speak at the church as part of their African American Speakers Series, a small, unrelated link titled: "Leave Obama Alone" caught my eye.
The link leads to a short article written before Smooth threw his hat in the ring but it outlines a concern that sadly remains very real for any legitimate southside political candidate (especially one on a stage as large as this one). The article speaks to Smooth's concern for the physical safety of he and his family should he undertake a run for President. Amazingly, Father Pfleger - a northside, catholic priest - put out an interesting notion for how this situation should be handled. In a nutshell he advocates that folks make it known that if any harm should come to Smooth that there will be extreme consequences and repercussions similar to those seen in Watts, Detroit and Florence and Normandy on Rodney King verdict day. Father Pfleger (clearly no ordinary cat) is saying folks should take it to the streets y'all - wow! If that doesn't tell you that this won't be your grandfather's campaign season I don't know what will.
We're now clearly at a different threshold and I have to give some props to nationally syndicated, southside columnist Deborah Mathis for recognizing this and for informing the southside nation that we have some "heavy lifting" of our own to do with respect to the approach we take to Smooth's candidacy. In her column "If Black Folks Really Want Barack Obama to Be President, Here’s What We – and He - Must Do", D-Mat rightly tells us not to expect (and not to jump off the bandwagon we're so quickly climbing on) Smooth to run as the 'southside candidate' whose business it will be to primarily advocate for southside issues. In order to win, Smooth must have broad appeal and, truthfully, we shouldn't expect anything different in anyone who aspires to be President of the United States.
Godspeed brother Barack - do your thing, homey...and BIG props for *finally* making politics interesting again.