We periodically point out the most obvious person in the news who exhibits the sense of self-loathing that we lovingly call "tomming." By definition an Uncle Tom is: a black who is overeager to win the approval of whites (as by obsequious behavior or uncritical acceptance of white values and goals) - meanspirited? Maybe, but we think of it as our brand of tough love.
A moment of Tom-Foolery – 2016 Presidential Campaign Edition
While liberal minded Democrats began a battle that would ultimately pit two former U.S. Senators Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders against one another, on the Republican side of things the race for nomination would feature a veritable cornucopia of candidates.
At one point, 18-candidates in-all comprised a tremendously diverse field for those dreaming of being the ring-bearer of what had historically been conservative thought and the face of traditional, white American leadership.
Some would call that a delusion, given that two unsuccessful tries for that crown had been quashed by a, Black, first time candidate on the left in two successive races.
In the 2016 race for the White House the tables had turned and many prepared for the opposite concept – it looked to be Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, veteran of the 2008 presidential race, versus a newby from the right.
It was understood in most circles that Jeb Bush, first time presidential candidate, brother of the 43rd President and son of the 41st President, would rule the roost. But as has been the case in the last few Republican runs for the White House, a dark horse candidate would emerge early on.
In 2012 it was businessman and Godfather’s Pizza baron Herman Cain,” Mr. 999,” who led in polls before the New Year.
Cain, a good old fashioned Tom, had managed to heap all of the accolades of success on himself, while somehow believing that he would be the standard bearer of the nation’s party for the wealthy, largely because of early returns.
Caught up in believing the hype and that the wealthiest whites in America would put him up as president, Cain said all types of outlandish things to gain favor, most of them were aimed directly at the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue – the first African-American President Barack H. Obama.
This year was no different, although stalwarts like Mike Huckabee and Rand Paul made appearances in the race, early on it as newby Dr. Ben Carson, a former neurosurgeon, was racking in the highest poll numbers.
Dr. Ben too was drinking the Kool-Aid and made incendiary comments about Obama as much as he was called to all for nice pat on the head and/or the belief that he too would be allowed to live in the Big House and set policy for the nation’s Grand Ol’ Party.
Ben got all loosey-goosey and started spouting off frightening non-sense like these three gems:
- Slavery was one of the best things that could have happened to us.
- The pyramids were built by (the Biblical) Joseph as wheat silos.
- Prison makes straight people gay.
Carson was the darling of the GOP when early polling began in June, but by the end of 2015 the leader of the pack was fading in favor of Ted Cruz and ultimate front-runner Donald Trump.
In those lazy, crazy days, Carson was the toast of the town after saying wacky things, but mention President Obama and this self-loathing Tom would show his true colors, or lack there of, as it appeared.
He once screamed at the press after being questioned about a non-existent scholarship to West Point and then angrily pivoted to quiz them about why the media had not scrutinized President Obama more stringently almost four years ago. Dr. Ben went on to say federal healthcare (i.e. Obamacare) was the worst thing to happen to America since slavery and that Obama was a well-dressed psychopath.
After a dismal showing in March 1, 2016 Super Tuesday primaries, Dr. Ben, one of the good Blacks, the top member of the Boom Bap Radio 2015 Tom Tom Club, too fell on his sword and exited the race for the 2016 Republican Presidential nominee in early March just ahead of his anticipated address to CPAC.
Sure, Dr. Ben’s kooky thoughts and demeaning comments to his fellow brother, Obama, were expected, but what was surprising was how fast he would race to kiss the ring of the front-runner for the nomination – Donald Trump – a closeted bigot.
For all of his attempts to walk that fine line between being ” real “and doing the cake dance, Carson brought to us an almost unexpected moment of Tom-Foolery in March of 2016 when he sprinted from the back of the bus and publicly dropped to his knees to kiss the ring of GOP front-runner just days after announcing he had given up his race for the White House.
Trump, a self-absorbed billionaire, had once inferred that Dr. Ben had been a child molester and a violent street thug, who tried to “stab a ‘itch.” Trump also openly praised Carson, only to later remind him that if it were 150-years ago he would have owned him.
At his rally on March 11, 2016 Trump trotted Dr. Ben out like the spoils of war or at least a good buck and made sure he publicly abdicated during one of his many rallies of hate and populism.
I was actually waiting for him to tell Carson: “Don’t be proud. Pick up the scraps,” afterall he’d been hawking Trump wines and steaks just days before.
No matter how demeaning Carson’s actions before the Donald, some of his earlier actions were arguably worse. He seemed to violate the basic rules of Blackness that came after they brought us here in chains.
His lack of self-dignity and perverted racial pride is what initially was unforgivable.
When things were cooking with oil for Dr. Ben in the late Fall, he fell into one of the oldest traps set by the oppressors. He began demeaning himself in mixed company in the hopes of currying favor with the Ol’ Boys network.
Carson began trying to up his street cred among a non-existent Black pool of voters, by paying for a pithy Hip Hop ad and rhyme and then spinning yarns that would have made Ghostface Killah blush.
The teenage Dr. Ben once tried to stab a classmate only to be thwarted by a belt buckle. Evidently, in his Detroit neighborhood he was known to go after people with bricks, rocks and bats.
Following the shooting spree in Oregon, Carson tried to get all ghetto and relate stories about how he once deflected a stick-up by pointing the thief in the direction of the cashier.
While those tales of woe, may earn you points in lyrics on a Hip Hop record, in the white, white world to which he aspired – no one’s got time for all of that stuff.
Case and point, his new buddy Trump, clowned Dr. Sambo about his violent past, something that Carson was able to bury weeks later when he did us all a favor and dropped out of the race.
As we bid adieu to Carson and his zany rantings, we’d be remiss to if we didn’t stop to remember all the “Tomming,” he did along the way.
Let’s just hope he didn’t forget where he put his shine box as he travels on the campaign trail with The Donald.
However, for rushing in like a fool, Dr. Ben you did manage to lose your self-respect, but most definitely caught our eye as the biggest Tom since at least Stacy Dash made a fool of herself at the Oscars, and for that we thank you.