Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Election (do I really dare go there?)

OK, I am absolutely unqualified in every way to address the subject of racism, because I am white, I grew up in a white neighborhood, attended almost completely white schools, and know hardly any non-white people at all. Having said that, I just cannot understand why a person would vote for someone based on his skin color. It’s almost as bad (but not quite, I admit) to vote for someone because he is black as it is to not vote for him because he is black. (The reason I say it’s almost as bad is because of the historical aspect of it. There’s something to wanting to see the course of history changed.) And whether or not I voted for Obama (and you’ll never know, will you?), I have to say that I’m very very glad that we finally have our first black president, mostly for the fact that hopefully from now on it won’t be an issue! We’ll have gotten all that out of the way and it won’t interfere with what really matters—right?

Similarly, I didn’t like feeling that the people who chose Palin to run with McCain did so because they thought people would vote for him BECAUSE of the gender of his running-mate. (And I’m sure that some people did just that, so the logic of choosing her was sound, much as I dislike it.) I don’t think gender should matter.

(I also don’t think that whether or not someone is a parent should matter—UNLESS that person is using his/her parenthood as a reason I should vote for him/her, emphasizing the effect that parenthood will have on his/her decisions. IN THAT CASE I think it is not unfair to examine what KIND of parent he/she is and whether I approve of that kind of parenting. In other words, if someone is thinking that I, as a mother, am more likely to vote for another mother, they are underestimating my intelligence—unless she’s the kind of mother I believe people should be has made it part of her campaign to include issues that affect that kind of mothers. But that’s another kettle of fish that I will keep [mostly] closed on this blog.)

And just because my friend had a horrible experience with people commenting on her own Facebook Wall when she expressed a political opinion, I’m going to ask you to comment only if you agree with me or want to tell me how smart I am (or beautiful). (Also you could compliment my children. Or my poetry.) So there!


Barbara Bakes said...

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." It gave me goosebumps when they played this speech the day after Obama was elected. I voted for Obama because he was the best person running. He offers hope for the future and will bring much needed change to our nation!

Anonymous said...

I agree with this entirely.

"The Content of our Character" by Shelby Steele (link is here) makes the same case very soundly. (I read the book years ago and didn't catch the allusion to the quote Barbara cited.) Shelby Steele is African American but has been vilified by many liberal African Americans because he is opposed to racial preferences, etc. -- vilified by those whose political views are more like those held by Jeremiah Wright -- the types of political views promoted in the congregation Obama actively participated in for so many years. Between that association, Obama's association with Bill Ayers and his ilk, Obama's extreme pro-abortion voting record, his redistribution-of-wealth philosophy, and (most importantly, for me,) his having the most liberal voting record in the senate -- given all that, I have very little regard for Obama's judgment or character. So, while I can bring myself to think it good, in a very general sense, that our country can elect a black president, I can't bring myself to be happy with the specific choice of Obama as that black president.

(And anyway, I can't imagine that liberals would be turning such cartwheels if our first black president were, say, Condie Rice. Even though we could have killed two birds with one stone and had the first female president, too! Yet I doubt liberals would have celebrated. And I've actually read some liberals dismiss Shelby Steele or Condie Rice with "They're not really black," (really, I have,) which is a rather breathtaking inverse racism -- you have to toe a party line for your ethnicity to "count"?

Anonymous said...

P.S. I can't believe I got so sidetracked that I forgot to say that you are smart and beautiful and that your children and poetry are fabulous.

Anonymous said...

P.P.S. I'm not assuming you agree with my political viewpoints, and I won't like you less if you did vote for Obama -- I gave my views as an example of the kinds of ways we ought to judge politicians (by how well their platforms mesh with our preferred positionss, and our perceptions of their ability and character,) rather than by things that have nothing to do with character, such as skin color or gender.