By Armani Scott
Told you it was great drama!
The consternation over President Obama’s first debate performance had not abated the morning of the second debate on Strong Island, New York.
The consensus Barber Shop Wit was that President Obama needed to give Romney an intellectual beating or all could be lost. The pleas for him to engage Romney were only outnumbered by the pugilism metaphors used to describe the debate. Me too!
My barber and confidant Jason, counseled that there were ways to be firm and direct without losing civility. One of our Barber Shop pundits, an attorney, sportsman and genuine American intellectual, Kevin, had been hard on the President’s unwillingness to “mix it up” since the beginning of his term.
I agreed on the need for assertiveness but added some context.
Before we go further: does anyone think President Obama would have gotten this far (uhhh he is President) if he had shown flashes of anger and let the Gorilla out before?
In NHL hockey, after a fight, which occurs every night of the season, the players sit out for 2 minute, 5 minute, or 10 minute penalties then get back on the ice. In NBA basketball after a fight, which may occur once every one or two years, there is a season of national hand wringing, multiple game suspensions, fines and indiscriminate use of the word “thug”.
For anyone who is wondering, the object of hockey is to knock the hockey puck, a solid, black, rubber disc, into your opponent’s goal while defending your own. In basketball the object is to shoot the basketball, a inflated, brown, rubber sphere, into your opponents goal while defending your own. In neither game is it the object to physically beat your opponent into submission—unlike boxing.
What does professional hockey and professional basketball tell us about President Obama, Romney and America?
This country has a well documented history of suppressing African-American male masculinity (lynching of black men for supposedly looking at white women and any other offense like wearing their World War I uniform back "home" often included cutting off of the lynched black man's genitals).
Obama may have been self-muzzled by the sensibilities inherent in his life story as well as American history. Those sensibilities have in part allowed him to ascend so let's not knock it.
Before Round Two in Strong Island, everyone (even some soccer Moms) wanted him to let the Gorilla out...
Ok. I always said that the President has the minerals. Remember, he beat the Clinton Machine on points and they are BOTH BRILLIANT.
My bet was that the President’s ego kicked in after getting sucker punched by an average, privileged, entitled, plastic man in an empty suit and that he would impose his intellectual and emotional will on Romney.
So that night I watched not only to see Obama let the Gorilla out but also to see how all these good Americans would react to a genuine display of black masculinity.
There is another institutional barrier that Obama may be breaking if he lets the Gorilla out... and doesn't get lynched.
Before the debate, the Barber Shop Wit also offered some music suggestions for the President to pump himself up; everything from Nas, and Notorious B.I.G., to Curtis Mayfield and James Brown moved the crowd.
In summation, I concurred with the Barber Shop Wit for letting the Gorilla out and upped the music ante with one of my favorites, Public Enemy "Can't Truss It!"
Based on the second performance I think Brother President may be a closet P.E. fan (as he should be) and America… well lets not rush to grade her maturity on this subject just yet.
Stay sharp America!