As I watched Barack Obama walk away from the podium Sunday night with his Presidential swagger full in tact, I became full with emotion. Don’t get me wrong I wasn’t one of the jingoistic people dancing around in red, white, and blue playing “America, f*** yeah”. I left that to some of my classmates. I on the other hand, in a tempered fashion, smiled from ear to ear for about 5 minutes while I silently reflected on what had just transpired. Let me be clear (in my Obama voice), I have not and will not celebrate the death of any human being. No matter how reprehensible a person’s act were, I can’t morally condone or take pride in their assassination.
Article 23b of the Hague Regulations, adopted by the U.S. and other nations in 1907, prohibits “assassination, proscription, or outlawry of an enemy, or putting a price upon an enemy’s head, as well as offering a reward for an enemy ‘dead or alive’.” In 1976, President Gerald Ford signed an executive order banning assassination.
After I read all of my friend’s ridiculous tweets and Facebook statuses and turned off the television, I realized that this watershed moment will forever define Obama’s presidency. After all the character, moral, and intellectual battering he has taken from his detractors it was refreshing to see him basking in the glow of accomplishment. Just days after having his academic credentials and citizenship called into question, President Obama went to bed having the last laugh. He was able to laugh at the folks who said that he was soft on national security, at the people who said he was nothing more than an affirmative action baby who took a seat away from a “qualified” White student at Columbia and Harvard, and at people who said that he was an out of touch ivory tower elite.
For centuries Black folks from all around the globe have had their credentials, intelligence, and humanity called into question. From David Hume in his essay “Of National Character” to Thomas Jefferson in “Notes on the State of Virginia”; many of the founding fathers and political philosophers whose thoughts have shaped this country have questioned the very humanness of us darker folks. Today there are some deluded minds who try to validate the myth of Black inferiority through what Dr. Michael Eric Dyson calls a system of bigotocracy.
Maybe it was wrong for me to celebrate Obama’s political victory due to the fact that someone’s life was lost. But unless you’ve felt that pain of constantly having your credentials called into question it’s hard to understand where I’m coming from. Am I happy that the titular leader of the Al Qaeda movement is no longer able to wreak havoc on the world? Yes. Am I happy that someone was murdered? No. Am I happy that Barack Obama has got his mojo back? HELL YEAH!!!