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obamaOne is Commander-in-Chief of the most powerful nation on earth. The other is Public Enemy Number One. As one stood before a thousand cameras, his image flashing across 70 million television screens, the other was holed up in a cabin on the other side of the continent, with hundreds of police streaming to the scene.

As one gave out with his vision of the future, the other was in a final desperate shootout. Two Black men in America in 2013, one at the very top and the other at the very bottom of the heap. Sooner or later there comes to be a fork in every road. And when you get there you must decide. Do I go right or do I go left? (The Latin word for “left” is “sinistro,” and “dextro” means “right.”) If you work hard and do everything they say, and if everything breaks just right, and you somehow have the dexterity to navigate the many pitfalls you will face, you might just end up president of the United States. If you refuse to go along, and will not under any circumstance whatsoever compromise, and you fight back blindly, and literally take no prisoners, you will be seen as a sinister figure, and they will hunt you down to the end of your days.timeless play.

Most will at least try to “do the right thing” for fear of the “the undiscover’d country from whose bourn no traveler returns. (It) puzzles the will and makes us rather bear those ills we have than fly to others we know not of.” But it was not always so, and it may not be so again. But for now, listen to the speech of the African standing in the camera’s glare, and also hear the sirens’ wail as they surround the other one, the Native Son. . .

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