Saturday, December 16, 2006

Obama Should Be Cautious Discussing Safety Fear

I was only six months old when John F. Kennedy was killed. Therefore, his murder and the assassinations of RFK, MLK, Malcom X and Medgar Evers don’t register with me and millions of others my age or younger as they do for those who lived through that era. So when I heard that Barack Obama and his wife fear the potential for violence, whether he runs for president or not, it makes me wonders if fear of another assassination will become a cause of great concern for supporters contemplating an Obama candidacy.

“Being shot, obviously, that is the least-attractive option,’’ Obama said. “I think it is something that will have to be addressed if I ran. You are not assigned Secret Service protection until you are effectively the nominee.”

Now, in addition to the question of whether America is ready for a Black President, we now have to question, along with Obama and his family, if America is ready to cope with the possibility of a Black presidential contender being assassinated. It is a reality of just not our time but of all time. It is one of the realities that Colin Powell’s wife spoke to years ago when she issued her concerns about her husband’s potential presidential candidacy.

Every presidential candidate must address personal and family safety issues on the campaign trail and afterwards but a potential Obama candidacy obviously raises the stakes. For the candidate himself to speak to the issue, specifically before he’s made a decision to run officially, may be a political mistake. America has seen far too many young, bright flames extinguished prematurely. She may not want to face the thought of that ugliness happening again.


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