Wednesday, May 1, 2013
The Larry Bird Effect and The Obama Effect
I remember, like it was yesterday (dating myself), the devastating psyche blow absorbed by many African-American males during the 1980's.
The event was the emergence of NBA Hall of Famer Larry Bird -- an unstoppable force of nature. Not only did Bird play basketball for the hated Boston Celtics, he was crushing the competition -- and he was doing it with swag.
Bird would bust your ass and talk ish at the same time -- he took no prisoners.
At the time, we brothers didn't own much, but the NBA was ours. We dominated, awed and played above the rim -- a la Doc J -- in other words, we set the gold standard. The NBA was our confidence builder. It taught many of us -- refuting the popular narrative of our inferiority -- that we had greatness in our DNA.
And the season that resonated the most: In 1984, on the road to a Celtic world championship, Bird got the best of Doc, Isaiah, Magic and he was crowned by sports writer after sports writer as the greatest hooper in the land. Some went as far as stating that Bird may have been the greatest basketball player of all times.
As I stated, brothers were devastated. We experienced the four stages of grief -- until MJ (Jordan) came on the stage -- denial, anger, depression and acceptance. But before the acceptance, we whined and bitched about how Larry, a Great White Hope, got all the benefit of the doubt and all the referee calls in his favor.
Our psyche was wounded.
The Barrack Obama Effect
Fast forward to 2008: The same psyche blow that brothers sustained with Larry Bird, most white male Republicans suffered (and still are suffering) tenfold, triplefold and maybe even a thousandfold when Barrack Hussein Obama was elected to the highest office in the world.
Similar to the supremely confident Larry Bird on the hoop court, Obama is supremely confident in the world court. He is an Ivy League educated black family man occupying the White House. To many his story is too good -- or too tragic -- to accept.
White male Republicans, believing they are the Rulers of the Universe, struggle to process a black man being more cognitively blessed. In this elite world, from the cradle to the grave, white men are taught about their intellectual superiority.
World leadership is their domain.
Not anymore. A huge and multi-cultural (and growing) segment of America has changed the game forever. Republican refusal to accept this -- stuck on denial, anger and depression -- has hurt their party, our country and our economy. But they remain too stubborn for a course correction, they continue to oppose all things Obama:
Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) revealed that some members of his party opposed expanding background checks for gun sales recently because they didn't want to "be seen helping the president."
Two weeks ago, only three Republican senators voted for the bipartisan background checks amendment sponsored by Toomey and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), despite overwhelming popular support for such a measure.
"In the end it didn’t pass because we're so politicized. There were some on my side who did not want to be seen helping the president do something he wanted to get done, just because the president wanted to do it,” Toomey admitted on Tuesday in an interview with Digital First Media editors in the offices of the Times Herald newspaper in Norristown, Pa.
If brothers can accept Bird's talent, white male Republicans need to accept the leadership and talent of Obama. History will be a harsh judge.