Last week Senator Barack Obama lost to Senator Hillary Clinton in the Democratic Party primary contest in Kentucky. Ms. Clinton won sixty five percent of the vote while Mr. Obama received only a piddling thirty percent. But that’s better than the twenty five percent or so that he was able to gain in West Virginia last week.
An exit poll of the people who voted for Ms. Clinton revealed that more than forty two percent would vote for Senator John McCain if Mr. Obama won the nomination and another twenty three percent would simply stay at home. Interviews with some of these voters were displayed on CNN and you could hear a variety of reasons why these people wouldn’t vote for Barack Obama. People in Kentucky claimed that they didn’t know anything about him or what he stood for. There must be a ton of caves and a lot of rocks keeping people in Kentucky from educating themselves. But then again, the uneducated, white working class is Ms. Clinton’s core constituency. Another interviewee said that he was suspicious of Mr. Obama’s Muslim connections and his affiliation with the Christian Reverend Jeremiah Wright. However, another interviewer was very candid and said that he couldn’t see a black man as President. In my opinion, what the interviewer should have said was that he didn’t want to see a black man as the President.
The last seven years have been a dismal time for the majority of the populace of this country. Economics are seriously screwed. Status in the global community has plummeted. We are embroiled in two wars that have connotations of perpetuity. The American constitution has been trampled by the executive branch of government. Gas prices have tripled since George Bush took office. We can’t even fly across the country without surrendering our rights at the airport. A Republican President with a Republican controlled Congress has rubberstamped every single piece of legislation Mr. Bush wanted. So many of our constitutional rights have been compromised with executive orders marketed to the public as giving government the tools necessary to keep us safe. Our image as the leader of the free world, the entire world, has been seriously tarnished.
Mr. McCain has promised the American people that he will continue the war in Iraq and in Afghanistan. He has promised that he would reduce government oversight of the privately held institutions that have led to the housing crisis. While most economist say that there should have been someone watching what these institutions were doing, Mr. McCain says that he doesn’t want anyone to control the greed of the handful of people who control these high wealth, low morals organizations. There will be no suing for peace under John McCain’s presidency. The key to diplomacy is essentially to unilaterally bomb our adversaries into submission. The judges that Mr. McCain wants to appoint to the bench will be along the lines of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Justice Scalia is the justice that said on a 60 Minutes interview with Lesley Stahl that racial slavery is constitutional simply because our founding fathers exercised this particularly devastating form of slavery when the constitution was written. The subjugation of black people is constitutional in America. This is the justice who says that the constitution does not guarantee protection from a painful state sponsored death. This is the justice that says torture is acceptable as long as it is not in the form of punishment. I find more justices of this ilk seriously scary as an example of what I can expect from Mr. McCain as President.
A lot of people should see the writing on the wall. The nation is going to hell in a hand basket. Compassionate conservatism is seriously kicking our collective ass. But so many people are so racist that they would be willing to vote against their own interest just to keep a black man from obtaining the highest office in our land. And considering the other contenders for the presidency, this black man just might be the best candidate available despite his flaws. It is a fair bet that Mr. Obama would be a refreshing change after all the damage that our Republican executive leadership has done.
People don’t trust the black candidate. He says he is not a Muslim. But if you don’t trust a man who you condemn for his affiliation with a Christian pastor that has caused him political headaches to say that he is a Christian and not a Muslim then it becomes pretty obvious you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t. If people in this country don’t want to see a black man as President so strongly that they don’t protect their interests, if they are so willing to cutoff their nose to spite their face, then we truly deserve whatever may come of our national collective shortsightedness.
In typical double standard fashion many people point to Barack Obama and ask why he didn’t or couldn’t win over people so racist that they would prefer to go broke and do without than give a black man a chance to be President. Knowing Mr. Obama is facing people’s ingrained, hostile racial prejudice against black people, some people point and ask the question why he can’t win these people over. I would offer a guess because he is black.
Instead of asking the question how we as a nation combat the problem of racial discrimination, a problem way too many of us continue to tolerate and allow to flourish, we perceive it to be a personal problem of Mr. Obama’s character. We expect Mr. Obama to bend over backwards and convince people who would be more likely to string him up from the nearest tree than to vote for this man to be their President. It reinforces the presumption that racism is a personal problem instead of a social problem. It reinforces the notion that all he has to do is work harder to convince these people that even though he is black he will do his best to be the best President these people ever had. And no matter how hard he works, for some people, white as well as black, he just can’t bend back far enough.