Doris Lessing, the winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize for Literature, made what I consider an ill-advised statement today:
If Barack Obama becomes the next US president he will surely be assassinated, British Nobel literature laureate Doris Lessing predicted in a newspaper interview published here Saturday.
Obama, who is vying to become the first black president in US history, "would certainly not last long, a black man in the position of president. They would murder him," Lessing, 88, told the Dagens Nyheter daily.
While it’s certainly possible that Lessing’s prediction could come true – Obama’s risks are, I think, more substantial than those of the typical American president – I don’t think that there’s any justification for Lessing or anyone else to use words like surely or certainly when making wild speculations of the tabloid variety.
An individual whose opinion I respect recently told me that he couldn’t vote for a black man in the general election. I was surprised, having expected more from his analytical mind, but then he is older than me and was raised in a different time.
Assassins, however, are another category of creature entirely and far removed from the world of people who make their radical decisions in the voting booth. Too many ignorant bigots roam the highways and byways of this country to pretend that Obama isn’t taking a chance with his life in this election. Even so, nothing is certain and I’d appreciate a little discretion from people like Lessing who ought to know how to use words more appropriately.
From my perspective, the race issue in this election has nothing to do with Barack Obama himself but rather with the expectations that many black Americans seem to have – questions about Obama’s "blackness" notwithstanding – regarding the presidency of a black man.
However, if elected I think that Barack Obama would be a president for all Americans whose greatest failing would be his decided and unfortunate liberal bent. I don’t believe that he would cater to blacks as president. This would undoubtedly irritate black voters but would also ultimately help to heal racial wounds in this country.
If only Obama were a fiscal conservative or even a moderate. Then we might have something. As it is he’s the least desirable candidate left in the mix.