The Political Race on Race
Talk about a sea change! Years from now we will look back to mark how the election of 2008 was a notable transformation of how Americans examined and discussed racial topics.
We will say, everything that was underground has finally come to fore.
The democratic nominee is the living embodiment of Martin Luther King’s dream of not being “judged by the color of (his) skin but by the content of (his) character”. In an interview with a Washington TV station on October 3 Obama pointed to his successful campaign as a sign that voters won’t reject him based on race.
“The fact of the matter is people have been continually looking for how race will impact this campaign,” Obama said. “And yet, I’m here, 30 days out, competitive in Virginia.”
Obama has tried to make his race a non-issue during his campaign, downplaying attacks on different Obama headquarters and staying calm, cool and positive.
This is certainly the opposite for McCain. On October 2 when McCain was asked why he thought Obama was having an upswing in voter confidence as the Wall Street crisis became the topic of conversation McCain answered, “Because life is unfair.”
“He certainly did nothing for the first few days,” McCain told Fox News on Thursday. “I suspended my campaign, took our ads down, came back to Washington, met with the House folks and got on the phone, and also had face-to-face meetings.”
All the old games and politricks aren’t working with the electorate as they have in previous years; people are looking at the issues and, after eight years of the Bush administration, desperately want a change. The popularity of the Republican Party is down but it hasn’t been a cakewalk for the democratic nominee. With Obama in contention for president the focus is less on whom he is and more on what he is. A small contingency of blacks and whites are still questioning Obama’s racial allegiance. Obama has been sidestepping the race issue but still others can’t get around the color of his skin. Some whites still vocalize that they think Obama will favor the black community over the white majority and his allegiance won’t be to the country as a whole but for a select group of people based on their skin color.
Obviously they think it’s been done for them before.
Even when there is a level playing field whites always question the abilities, intelligence and competence of African Americans always come into question. Any outsider could see a black person can’t “affirmative action” their way into the white house so when Geraldine Ferraro comes out and says that Obama is lucky or McCain quips how life is unfair all one can do is shake one’s head at the disparity of the game. You can play by the rules all you want to, but someone is bound to feel you are still unqualified by dint of race and taking something that rightfully belongs to a white person.
Obama might be the first person of color to head his party’s ticket but he won’t be the last. There are more like him in the Hispanic community, in the Asian community and in the black community who will run for office. And they will win. They won’t win because of their race or in spite of their race but because the American people will see that they are the best person for the job. Our country’s racial landscape is becoming more variegated in shades of brown so it would make sense that our government would reflect it.
It’s not affirmative action; it’s just the way life happens.
I wouldn’t be surprised to find an Obama-esque Republican candidate in a few years. The candidate will be a person of color, maybe more of a C-student if he did go to an Ivy League. He may not be as erudite but he can talk to the people. The people will love him and maybe even forgive him for not being that swift because they will know he is a man of God.
And that is when I will say that people of color have arrived.