America, it appears, is on the verge of electing a black man as its president. It cannot be gainsaid; the immensity of this single cultural moment dwarfs almost any other in my lifetime. Its positive social impact is incalculable; it was only eight years ago that Al Gore traveled to Harlem to kiss Al Sharpton’s ring, which was only seven years after Sharpton had provoked a riot on 125th street that led to a fire that killed seven people. Sharpton was, at that point, by default the most important black politician in America. Obama’s ascension to the White House, if it does nothing else, may at last bring down the curtain on race hucksters like Sharpton, whose power has always been rooted in the political alienation of inner-city blacks.