Huffpost Politics

Obama Decries "Forces Of Division" In Dem Race: "We Have To Come Together"

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Following a week in which he faced a growing controversy regarding his relationship with his former pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Sen. Barack Obama spoke about the increasingly divisive nature of the Democratic race.

Sen. Barack Obama on Saturday decried "the forces of division" over race that he said are intruding into the Democratic presidential nomination contest.

"We have to come together," he told a town-hall meeting at a high school.[...]

Obama suggested that more and more is being made of racial divisions as his contest with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton heats up.

"I noticed over the last several weeks that the forces of division have started to raise their ugly heads again. And I'm not here to cast blame or point fingers because everybody, you know, senses that there's been this shift," Obama said.

"It reminds me: We've got a tragic history when it comes to race in this country. We've got a lot of pent-up anger and bitterness and misunderstanding. ... This country wants to move beyond these kinds of things."

But as the AP observes, getting beyond these divisions is proving to be far more difficult than it perhaps seemed when this historic race got under way.

Something happened to the feel-good, way-cool Democratic presidential contest in the months since a woman and a black man began their path-breaking race for the White House.

By the millions, black voters voted for the black candidate and women voted for the woman. White men seemed torn, by the millions.

Sen. Barack Obama has broken historic barriers, especially among the young, as the first black candidate with a serious chance at the presidency. Voters who might ordinarily balk at a female president have backed Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in her pioneering effort.

Those gains have not been enough to erase divisions by race, a task perhaps beyond any mortal and any one election, nor lesser ones between the sexes.

And when the campaign moves beyond Democrats, the party of diversity, and into the general election, it's questionable how much room is left for such progress.[...]

Whether clumsy, coarse or calculating, remarks by party stalwarts or hangers-on have brought race repeatedly into the discomfort zone, which is easy to do, suggesting a post-racial political consciousness is for a more distant future.

Watch the video of his remarks in Plainfield, Ind.