- - Monday, April 28, 2014

From the cow-grazing pastures of Nevada to the courts of the NBA, America’s preoccupation with race relations and racism has been stoked to a bloody frenzy.

It seems like just yesterday that a young, clean-cut and articulate Democratic senator from Illinois captured the imagination of the nation and the world with ringing oratory and powerful promises of “hope and change.” Among Barack Obama’s most inspiring words were his promise to usher in a “post-racial” era in which, under the leadership of the first American president of color, divisions between the races could be soothed and allowed to heal. He could do it, Mr. Obama stated, just as he promised to bring Muslims, Christians and Jews together.

Unfortunately, the Obama presidency has not improved racial relations in America. In fact, relations have deteriorated badly on Mr. Obama’s watch.

Of course it would be foolish to blame Mr. Obama alone for the current racial turmoil that permeates American life, but one cannot help but wonder if the flames would be less intense if the president had made an honest effort to put out the fire, rather than pouring gasoline on the flames in order to divide people for political gain.

Perhaps “The One” could soothe rather than aggravate the situation by promoting diplomacy rather than further division. After all, it was he who promised a “post-racial” America.

JOHN W. LILLPOP

San Jose, Calif.