Seeing as we could very well have a black president soon, curious patriots are tilling through the earth of our history, trying to divine some clues from the past as to what that could mean for America. We, on the other hand, just Googled "black presidents in movies." The Onion recently ran one of their jokey-jokey op eds on the subject, and NPR even covered it over a a year ago. What lessons can we learn from our celluloid brothers-in-chief? What can we expect when we're expecting a black president?
First, unfortunately, there will be an asteroid attack and Bruce Willis will be in charge of saving the world. But! We can expect a strong and sincere president, like James Earl Jones' in the 1972 film The Man. Or, more recently, those in Fox's torture fantasia 24, which has featured the political dynasty of Presidents David and Wayne Palmer, who rule over a helter-skelter, terror fraught version of America. While Wayne may have had some problems in crisis situations, it was really his nefarious white VP who was the evildoer. Older brother David was the kind of principled, no-nonsense fella we can all admire. Same with Freeman in the asteroid movie. Even Chris Rock's character in Head of State, though a bit green, has a new brand of clear-headed political thinking that just might get the damn job done.
Where are our devious, murderous black presidents, like the white ones that dotted so many B-movie thrillers in the early 90's? Where are our philanderers and cowards? They may be but a pipe dream. This essentially means that we're flying into this election blind. The few examples we have of black men leading the freest nation in the free world show unnaturally capable and grounded presences during unimaginable cataclysms (yes, Head of State is that bad). But America's not dealing with disasters here, people! Just war, flood, famine, pestilence, terror, and killer space satellites. A black president would be all too competent. Is America ready?
James Earl Jones in The Man, 1972