Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Racism and the 2008 Election

We've tried to be polite and ignore the subject.

But, it's still here, isn't it?

We do ourselves no favors by refusing to talk about it.

A poll released on Monday indicates that the number of Americans who will cast their votes on November 4, 2008 solely on the basis of the race of the candidates could be enough to tip the election.

Can this be possible in 2008?

Take a look at the report.

Tell me what you think.



Politics and Culture said...

Some believe this was put out just to provide a convenient explanation should Obama lose the election.

Am I surprised that there are still some who will not vote for someone based on the color his skin? Of course not. There's still a lot of ignorance out there.

I will not be voting for Obama, and I will be working as hard as I can to make sure he is not elected. But it has nothing to do with the color of his skin and everything to do with his lack of experience, poor judgment, and dangerous ideas.

But if he loses, I'm sure that I will be labeled a racist (by some) simply because I did not vote for a black man.

Larry James said...

Politics and Culture, thanks for the post. If all that you say is true, and I have no reason to doubt you, then your working for McCain does not mean you are a racist. The study referenced does not seem to be political, but sociological and cultural. Rejecting Sen. Obama on principle or policy is what we want in our elections. Rejecting him because he is black is simply wrong, and I gather you would agree.

Anonymous said...

I often wonder about the polls and how the questions are framed. We obtain information but in large part we do not have a frame of reference in which to judge the outcome. I, like Politics and Culture, plan to vote for McCain and for virtually the same reasons. I think a lot of people, including myself, are concerned about Obama's background rather than his race.

Anonymous said...

If one can conclude that conservative and socialists will generally vote for their respective parties, then the racism claim is a process of elimination. Republicans will vote for McCain so racism is not a label that will stick here.The portion of the Democrat party that is racist will not vote for Barry. Therefore we have found the racism!

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:46, what about Sen Obama's background is objectionable to you?

Anon 9:58, not quite complete is your analysis--how many people are in the Republican Party because of their racism?

Anonymous said...

I too am curious about this continue reference to Obama (or his 'ideas') as 'dangerous'! What is 'dangerous' about this man?! And, how is he more 'dangerous' than a man who will choose for his running mate someone who he has met once and who thinks she has foriegn policy experience because she can see Russia from a certain point in Alaska.

Or a party that puts together a platform and an election that less than 1% representation from African-Americans among its delegation and declares that the only way to help the poor is to make the rich more rich?!

What's more DANGEROUS than the mess conservatives have gotten us into now?

I think we are either naive or dishonest, if we deny the subtext of race as people make their 'considered' opinions based on how 'dangerous' Obama is.

The real danger is rooted in a fear that Obama will govern in a way that will disadvantage white people. This is an idea that has been consistently proven throughout our history, yet it persists and especially now that the ante has been raised, as far as political office is concerned.

Because its not popular to say, 'I'm afraid that a Black man will only push a 'black agenda'" Obama has to be characterized as 'dangerous', 'socialist', his education has to be questioned, even the place of his birth!

This is the reason we can't get beyond race - the obfuscation of those who fear race and won't be honest about the fears.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 10:03-my objections have to do with associations (Wright, Flagler, Ayers, Resko,etc.), lack of experience, no positive action of any kind in Illinois legislature, no independent action in the US Senate, and while there has been running for president for 19 months. How does this qualify him to lead a nation?

Anonymous said...

Why is it that if one dares to question background and experience and associations, we are deemed racist? My mother taught me that you are known by the company you keep and that your actions should speak louder than words.

J-Wild said...

What is the value of discussing or polling people on if they will or will not vote for Obama on the basis of race? Obama is already doing everything he can to assuage peoples reluctance to him based solely on race. He is talking about issues that really affect people. And the more he does that, and the more he is heard, the more likely people will be to vote against their own racial prejudices. A discussion narrowly focused on race only encourages people to become incredulous about whom we assume the racists to be. Are the racists republicans, Hillary voters, 60's liberals, southerners?

It will only be after the election that we will get a clear understanding of the reasons for Obama winning or loosing. How does talking about it "IF" race plays a factor alter the election one singe iota. Regardless of the state of our country, this election was always going to be close just like elections have been for the past twenty years. This election is no different.

To me it seems unbelievable that McCain is even in the race, but I am strongly in favor of Obama and everything he stands for. What I have learned over this election is that there are people who feel just as strongly against Obama as I am for him. And that has nothing to do with race. That has to do with deeply held political ideologies that trump reason and rational thought (in my opinion).

If race were a factor Obama would not have gotten this far. If the polls leading up to election day heavily favor Obama and he looses, the question is worth asking then. But until that point, I think the question of Obama's race affecting the election is pointless and holds no substantive value.

Charles said...

To all the people who have mentioned Obama's associations, why is it irrelevant that Palin has been connected with an anti-USA Alaska separatist group? That McCain associated with Keating in the last financial crisis, and with Bush/Cheney repeatedly over the last 8 years? That McCain DID NOT associate with the Reagans because they did not like him and how he left his first wife, yet he continually claims association with them?

Your questions of Obama are somewhat fair, and he has at least attempted to answer them. Why aren't you concerned that McCain/Palin don't discuss any of theirs?

Anonymous said...

As usual McCain apologists refuse to answer questions. Again, how else other than race can you justify supporting a candidate who lacks the temperment,or the consistency to be president (even George Will is beginning to question him!). How else other than race can you support someone who chooses a running mate so obviously unqualified. How long does she have to answer every question with: "I put it on ebay", "I said thanks but no thanks" and how often do her answers have to be proven untrue to see that this is not someone who should be considered for an undersecretary position, let alone VP? How do you explain it other than race?

How do you explain the fact that neither she, nor McCain are being held accountable for what their pastors have said? Or for relationships they have that are obviously questionable. Or for inconsistencies in their record?

Most consistently what McCain apologists do is point to the fact that Obama was faithful to his church - even when he didn't agree with what his pastor would say (by the way, that type of loyalty reminds me of someone who has already been elected twice!); the fact that he has been linked with someone whose radical dangerous actions were espoused when Obama was, what eight, ten years old. And who, by the way is a free citizen!

And he has repudiated his relationship with Resko. Not to mention the fact that no investigation has found that Obama has done anything wrong.

I don't want to take up all of Larry's blog listing McCain's evidences of lack of judgement. The most obvious evidenced by his choice of running mate.

So explain the double standard and inconsistency on the part of McCain apologists and do so in a way that shows it has nothing to do with the bottom line fear that if a black man is elected, he will only pay attention to black interests.

Anonymous said...

Why does everyone automatically assume that it that the racism card is only about "whites"? I dare to say that there will be just as many African Americans who vote based solely on race and place their vote for Obama simply because he is black as there will be whites voting for McCain for the sole reason that he is white. So, the race factor cuts both ways, eventhough no one wants to admit it.

Anon 10:14 - you remind me of Al Sharpton, who believes that it is impossible for someone to truly believe that Obama should not be President becuase of legitimate non race issues. You ask what can be more dangerous than a list of things you don't agree with... and my response to you is tha Obama in my opinion is much more dangerous than anything you bring up and shade to fit your belief of the Republican party... and my feelings have nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that he is part African American. Query - if Obama was instead a "Smith", given his lack of experience and credentials, do you really believe he would be the Democrats' choice for President? In my opinion, just as George Bush was, Obama is a manufactured President... and we have all seen what happens when a manufactured President takes the WHite House - inexperience and lack of qualifications doom us.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:56 - the answer to your questions is very simple to most people who have made a legitimate decision to vote for McCain and that is that McCain is the best choice of the two. Personally, I don't like either of them but I believe McCain is the best choice of 2 bad ones. I would like to start all over.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for at least attempting to answer the questions. And yes blacks there will be blacks who vote for Obama just because he is black.

But you have to remember, before now, there's never been any real choice. And there have been far more whites who have voted for color over the years than blacks.

As for the manufactured candidate argument - you'll have to explain to me which of the charges against McCain/Palin aren't true!

And - for the record - all presidential candidates are 'manufactured'. That's the hand we've been dealt...

Anonymous said...

Blacks will vote for Obama regardless of his tan.The pied piper syndrome forms the backbone of the party.

My objections to Obama;
1. He is radical who subscribes to a socialist agenda without historical precedent the USA
2. He is not a patriot.
3. He is a pacifist
4. He is an empty suit whose thoughts are limited to a few well oiled phrases, and what he can read on a teleprompter.

dmowen said...

@anon 12:45

Thank you for specifically articulating your concerns with Barack Obama. I believe your assumptions are widely held but confusing to me in their lack of basis in reality as I understand it.

1) What is the evidence that he is a radical and subscribes to a socialist agenda? His health care plan would not change people's current employer based insurance, but would allow those without insurance to BUY into a national not for profit plan. This is entirely different from socialized medicine (at least from my perspective as a med student in training who would be directly affected by such a system). Additionally, what is radical or socialist about CUTTING taxes for the middle class? He does plan to let the Bush tax cuts expire for those making over $250,000/year, but this seems consistent with fiscal conservatism at a time when our national deficit is enormous.

2) Not a patriot on what grounds? Because he served his country directly in community service and then public office as opposed to in the military and then public office?

3) A pacifist because he suggested taking the fight to al Qaeda and the Taleban in Pakistan (which he was criticized for in the debates, but which we are now doing)? Or a pacifist because he opposed a war which was not defensible under just war theology (which I would assume is our Christian duty)?

4) An empty suit who was elected the first black editor of the Harvard law review? An empty suit who took on the Democratic party establishment and won the nomination against the combined resources, contacts, and influence of a respected senator and wife of a former President of the United States?

J-Wild said...

12:45 Anon; has made the point beautifully. His or her reasons for not supporting Obama lie more with an ideological belief system (completely void of facts btw) and has little to do with race. And this person will have a much harder time defending the reasons they listed for not voting for Obama than they would if we just assumed they were a racist.

Discussing how race effects the outcome of this Presidential race is pointless until we KNOW how the election turns out. Only then will we be able to ascertain how race really played out in the election. And only then will we be able to have a substantive discussion about race in view of this election.

I am a fervent Obama supporter and this discussion of how race factors into the election does nothing but get our fears and mistrust riled up against people who don't deserve to be suspected. Who are the racists? The answer of course is that it could be anybody from either party. What we must do is tell them exactly why the country under the leadership of an Obama administration will protect, defend, and advance the United States and it's citizens.

Obama and the team surrounding him doesn't fear that his race will cost him the election. They wouldn't give up two years of their lives if they thought the American people wouldn't go there. Why do we have that fear? We must stop the chicken little act and start believing with confidence that our candidate, the better candidate on all the issues facing this country, is going win this election.

The only valid reason to discuss race in view of the CNN survey is a discussion on how or if the McCain campaign and the GOP is using peoples racial prejudices to gain an advantage in this election. And the answer to that question is, of course they are. This is politics and it's a mean nasty business for winner take all stakes. We must remain diligent about the use of racial, gender, or culture politics serving to distract the American people from the issues facing this country. But like Obama, I believe the American people on the whole are more decent than to be swayed by either soft race baiting or overt lies and misinformation.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1156 and J-Wild or Anyone else for that matter - Please educate me on the specific achievments/accomplishments that Mr. Obama has had or takes credit for in the past during his tenures as an Illinois senator and a US senator that leads you to the conslusion that he is qualified and equipped to be President? And I am being serious here.

Anonymous said...

I am much more concerned that the leader of our country embraces God's heart for our unborn children and knows that God finds homosexuality detestable, than what color their skin is. One candidate will defend both of those issues, the other will not. Do you know which is which?

Anonymous said...

To the last Anonymous post:

We've pretty much had a president like that for the past eight years and he's got us spending more than $10 billion dollars a month in a war where the country we've liberated is nearly demanding that we get out; a terrorist thug who cost us thousands of lives and who, (he said) he's not particularly interested in his where abouts; nearly trampled our constitutional rights; destroyed our reputation abroad through by supporting torture; brought us $4.00 a gallon gas and nearly wrecked our economy.

Haven't you had enough yet?!

Politics and Culture said...

Anon 7:41 -- he gives a helluva speech! That qualifies him to be President.

Get with it, dude!

Anonymous said...

Politics & Culture - any one can read a teleprompter.

Anonymous said...

You're right! Ronald Reagan proved that!!

Anonymous said...

I know Ronald Reagan. Ronald Reagan was a friend of mine. And sir, Obama is no Ronald Reagan.

Long Live Senator Benson.

Anonymous said...

Thank God, Obama is no Ronald Reagan!! That almost sent the country under as well!

Ditto the Lloyd Bentson comment. We missed out on a great VP!

Anonymous said...

Did I miss something during Reagan's time in office? He almost drove our country under? Are you so brainwashed to actually believe what you said? In your mind, is the "R" word such a bad word that you can't recollect history?

karen said...

The above, and what I hear from the reactionary right-wingers (not true conservatives, a different matter) everywhere re: Obama being 'dangerous,' confirms my long-held observation: for people who think this way, Obama's biggest sin is that he's extremely intelligent and his answers to questions are nuanced -- that's too much thinking for the Rush Limbaugh crowd. This group prefers sound bites, even if they are inaccurate or even outright lies. It's simply too difficult, confusing and inconvenient to deal with facts.

Axe rather than scalpel anyone?

Anonymous said...

I would propose that a lot of racists dont even know they are racist. People that claim Obama is dangerous obviously are ignorant. It will take some serious evidence to convince me there are not a LOT of closet racists out there, from all backgrounds. Otherwise, this would not even be an issue any more.
Thankfully, through education, we are getting better over time.