Friday, September 5, 2008

Is Electing Obama America's Litmus Test?

Not at all. Its pure stupidity to claim that if Obama gets defeated it would mean that racism is alive and kicking in USA. Nothing is farther from truth. Having said that let me clarify that human beings have innate biases, nobody can claim to be 100% unbiased. How aware of are we of our biases? Do we hold them in check (of course we need to know that we hold a bias in the first place)? Those are the questions we need to ask constantly.

Barack Obama could not even get a floor pass in 2000 Dem convention. In 2004 he was the keynote speaker and shot to stardom (very deservedly). Even so after that he dropped of the national media but for keen political watchers. Then in 2007 he again caught the nations imagination announcing his run for presidency. He had spent just 2 years in the senate. He was running against "THE CLINTONS" (adored and loathed depending on your political affiliation). He won all white Iowa thumpingly, pushing Hillary to an insulting finish. The rest is history. A political unknown Afro-American decimated the most feared political dynasty. If THIS is not redemption what else can be?

Oh well if McCain wins then again its because nobody wants to vote for a black so there is no redemption for USA UNLESS Obama is elected. What a crass stupidity. All opinion point to the fact that people are "more" uncomfortable electing a woman than a black. Yes there is a tiny (its just tiny) slice of population that will not vote for Obama just because of his color. To condemn a roughly 120 million electorate for a miniscule minority that cannot influence the outcome is not just wrong but plain stupid and shows how ignorant the person is about democratic elections.

Men were seen waving "Launder my shirt" in Hillary's events. Nothing of that sort happened to Obama. MSNBC's commentator got away with saying that the Clintons are "pimping" Chelsea. a metaphor he used only because Chelsea was a girl. Imagine anybody uttering anything like that about Obama. Apocalypse would seem like picnic compared to the outrage that would ensue. Nevertheless, Hillary lost for so many reasons of her own making than just because of sexism.

To say that America's redemption lies in electing Obama is to suggest that McCain voters are racist. Much is made of McCain's age and health almost making his age a disqualification. When McCain was delivering his convention speech CNN ran a ticker titled "Fact: If elected McCain will be the oldest President". The ticker flashed for like a minute, an eternity in modern day cable news.

Blacks have been elected governors, mayors, legislators, cabinet secrataries, Commanders etc. Yes, we wish we could see all that happen more regularly and with such regularity that the color of the candidate does not even get mentioned. When a reporter asked Denzel Washington how he felt, as a Black actor, winning the Oscar, he said "please report as just Denzel won an Oscar, not black actor Denzel" (those are not verbatim quotes, something close).

We should look at this with some perspective. Cory Booker, Black mayor of Newark-NJ, is very appreciated. Look at Kwame Kilpatrick of Detroit who is going down for sins of his own. Remember that Afro-Americans are an ethnic minority in USA. Which means we have a much smaller pool of population to find qualified people. Add to that the challenges existing in that community and it would dawn on us that not having some more qualified candidates is not ONLY due to "Discrimination". As Thomas Sowell would point out, if the "discrimination" as reason is tossed out the remaining reasons are very unpleasant to contemplate hence people harp on discrimination even none exists.

To make a contrarian argument, if Obama gets elected its because he has an advantage of being Black. The Obama campaign is making no bones about putting states like Louisiana, Georgia in play only because they hope to turn out the "black vote" by record numbers. Make no mistake I am not suggesting that it is reprehensible. Its admirable. If they can turn out their base its good for them. Also I perfectly understand the pride blacks have in this historical once in a lifetime oppurtunity. There is absolutely nothing wrong. Many Indian's felt happy when Bobby Jindal became governor just because he was of Indian lineage. There is absolutely nothing to be subtle about reaching to one's base and truly this is history in the making. Also in all fairness Barack Obama is as qualified as one can get.

A Brooklyn/Bronx town voted almost 90% for Obama despite Hillary having done all that needs to be done for that town, especially preventing the closure of a school. If one says well Hillary did it because she wanted their vote. I say, she worked to earn it, what she did is what we expect from a good poltical representative. She worked to earn the vote of that neighborhood and they voted for Obama for racial reasons. Again everybody appreciates the historical nature of the candidacy and racial pride this is racism too, though of a good variety.

I wish Barack Obama well. But I tell him "earn the vote". For those who say "if he does not win...", I say "get a life and if possible some understanding of elections".

No comments: