Everything has fallen apart — all his dreams, all his plans. He doesn’t have a job, and he’s three months behind on his bills, and he’s afraid of losing his house, and he can’t find any work, and he doesn’t feel like a man anymore, a real man, the guy who used to walk around with a couple hundred in his wallet, just in case.

He hates asking for help — whether it’s the government or relatives or anyone else — and has sold off most of his possessions. The 55-year-old welder can’t support his family and can’t imagine the future. He doesn’t have a pension and his savings have evaporated. When he thinks about everything, he sees only one way out.


“I think about suicide a lot,” he says.

More here.Obama’s chosen a novel strategy to deal with the media furor over his former pastor Jeremiah Wright. But if he’s not able to somehow get families like the one above to see beyond the soundbites, none of this will matter. For what it is worth I don’t think he has it in him. The model of post-racial politics he is pushing simply does not have enough progressive heft to it for him to make the types of innovative leaps required to bring to life a new conception of American citizenship. It’s too bad, because as Craig Nulan notes, it isn’t as if there aren’t other models:

 Barack should’ve spelled out his moral propriety rooted in latter day MLK exegesis and put his membership in Trinity in that context. Should’ve done it up front, should’ve had that entire lexicon of blocks, strikes, kicks, and grapples at his ready disposal…