Wednesday, October 8, 2008
RACISM: Why Deny the Elephant in the Room?
At this stage of the 2008 US Presidential Election, I think it basically boils down to the very issue that all sides have tried to deny or minimize the existence of, but which has always, in my opinion, been a huge elephant in the room: RACE.
John McCain is of course a white man. His victory would be unexceptional since every president America has ever had has also been white (the claims for Bill Clinton notwithstanding!)
But if elected, Barack Obama would be the first black President of the United States of America and "history would be made" as they say. Even though Barack Obama IS half black (via his Kenyan father) and half white (via his Kansas-born mother), for most everyone he IS black and that's the history that America will be making in November, if Barack Obama wins.
I emphasize "IF" because despite a widening lead in the polls, some percentage of likely voters consistently tells pollsters that Obama RACE will indeed be a factor in their decision on whether to vote for him of McCain.
There is of course no generalization here. America has come a long, long way since the Civil War. Not all, not most, perhaps not even many Americans are true racists, (say in the skinhead mode). But some surely are and it is useless denying, castigating, diminishing, exaggerating, or even rationalizing it. It is simply the truth. Once this is admitted, especially by those who disingenuously or subconsciously go to great lengths to deny both its overt and subliminal presence in the campaign, a great historical opportunity reveals itself--to overcome and transcend this devastating mental disease called racism, once pandemic in America and from which she is still recovering these scores of years later since Gettysburg.
Both campaigns (and their respective blogospheric surrogates and extensions) have been tiptoeing around the issue and DENYING that it even exists or is any kind of major factor. Perhaps, they each fear that it could be an uncontrollable, unpredictable factor, though for very different reasons.
The Obama campaign has been very careful not to let their bet become tarred and feathered with the reputations of racial politicians like Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton (both of whom have run for POTUS). They paint him as a "post-racial" candidate, and all must admit, his demeanor (calm, cool, collected, even, aloof) has certainly helped to distinguish him from those folks. Meanwhile the McCain campaign, perhaps in desperation, and disappointingly, has been flirting with a dangerous negativism seen in the provocative jingoism of Sarah Palin (who has made pit bulls look like kitty cats by comparison).
In March, 2008 -- at the height of the controversy surrounding the Rev. Jeremiah Wright -- Barack Obama himself delivered a speech addressing the Race Issue.
a speech well worth listening to and reading again, now that the elections are entering their crucial last month.
Whoever wins, Barack Obama has already made history. I am so looking forward to America doing the same. Indeed, whether this year or another, I have little doubt that this great country will, for corrigibility is its greatest virtue, and is the reason why America is still humanity's best hope, the shining City on the hill called Mount Improbable.
From the Hillblogger: Brigitte Bardot on Sarah Palin!
Posted By: Deany Bocobo
On Wednesday, October 08, 2008
On Wednesday, October 08, 2008