Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Race Card And The Ballot Box (Updated)

(With a hat-tip to Mustang, who emailed me the link below)

According to Governor Paterson of New York:
...Mr. Paterson, who was a Clinton super-delegate and often joined her on the campaign trail, said the outcome of the November election would decide whether America moves beyond its legacy of slavery and segregation.

"Can America reject the crucible of race that has dictated and pervaded all of our history to embrace an African-American man who has the right polices for the next decade in this country?" he said.
He continued: "Can America go past the crippling way that we've shot ourselves in the foot over and over, denying opportunity to people who are bright, to people who are qualified, to people who are able because they didn't look like us, or they didn't come from where we came from, or they are from a different gender, or they are from the African continent? Can America push that away and find new leadership? We'll find out in the next few months what America can do."...
Governor Paterson isn't the only one saying that a vote against Obama is a vote motivated by racism. In fact, I've heard a similar view expressed in several private conversations with friends and family. For example, a few months ago, shortly after Obama became the presumptive nominee, I heard a similar view expressed by one of my best friends living in Illinois: "A lot of people won't vote for Obama because he's black." Obviously, my Illinois friend is convinced that race will be the deciding factor in November. The converse could also be true, of course: some voters might well cast their ballots for Obama to prove to themselves that they are not racists.

How do voters make their ballot-box decisions? I'm not sure that we know the full answer. Certainly, relying on soundbites and the front-page headlines of newspapers, many American voters do not take the time to study the candidates' platforms. Furthermore, Americans often vote "by their gut," sometimes even unable to explain why they voted a particular way. Such methods of deciding how to cast the ballot give Obama's message of hope and change significant power at the polls — as does the race card, one way or the other, whether it should or not, because Americans prefer a simplistic view of politics.

Sadly, when the November election is over and done with, analysis of the factors leading to the outcome will be issued on a gut level as well. And, in keeping with human nature, each of us will concentrate on reading the views of those with whom we most agree.

For those who may not have before seen the following, I'll close with "Obama words: what he really thinks of white folks," from YouTube:

YouTube Link, where you can read additional information and comments

UPDATE: See the video "Little Tin God Obama" at Gayle's site!

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posted by Always On Watch @ 7/22/2008 06:00:00 AM