Thursday, November 6, 2008

Obama

I've become increasing agitated with the way that President Elect Obama is being described both by the media and by his supporters. He's black. I understand this. I am quite aware of what color his skin is and quite frankly I just don't care.

Growing up there was absolutely no racism in my house. In my mind racism is the height of human ignorance. Until I was 9 I lived in a neighborhood where I was the minority. Americans seem to think that they have somehow achieved something great by electing a black man as president. Everyone is patting themselves on the back. The world is rejoicing that we've become so much more open minded. Open minded? In my mind true progression would be if we elected a black man and he was celebrated because of his achievements and the color of his skin wasn't even an issue. When Kennedy was elected did every news article describe him as the first Catholic president? Obama will be our next president and that is an incredible achievement and I respect that. Its just disturbing to me to think that there are people who would or wouldn't vote for a candidate based purely on their race. Both are equally ignorant stances to take. Its sad to me to know that here are people who didn't vote for Obama just because he is black. Its also sad to know that there are people who voted for him just because he is black. Why can't Obama just be the president? What do you think? Am I looking at this wrong?

17 comments:

Wayfaring Stranger said...

I would agree for the most part with what you say. In regards to color, there certainly is significance due to how poor race relations had been at one time. It is too bad that it has become the focal point of this election now though. I was glad it was kept pretty low key up until now.

I am happy not that he won because I was looking elsewhere for a winner but because maybe some of the ghetto kids might see a little hope that they can do something with their lives other than deal drugs like they see as their future in my neighborhood.

But yes, I agree he should not have won because of his skin color but because of whatever qualifies him professionally.

Michael J. Sharp said...

Dan, you make good points here. I am afraid that most voters have been ignorant to what should have been substantial in this election. Most people pay more attention to American Idol than they do what is really important, and so they vote in a "trendy" way.

The facts are:

Obama has a very short record.

Of that record, he is one of the most liberal in terms of legislation.

Sadly, most that voted for him paid no attention to either one of these facts.

My hope is that he will be a good president.

Snobound said...

Good post. Point well made. I agree with what you said completely. I saw a bumper sticker that I think summed up the entire election in four words:

DUMB-MASSES FOR OBAMA

puddleboy said...

I am going to have to disagree:

Americans have achieved something great by electing a black president. Progression regarding race as a society isn't a binary "we are" or "we aren't" racist, but rather a continuous series of stepping stones to the ultimate goal of non-racism (which we have certainly not yet achieved). I definitely think it is great to celebrate our acheivements in this area. You might be looking at it from the wrong angle; we aren't open-minded because we elected a black man president, rather, having elected a black man president is an indicator of how open-minded we have become.

Let's use skateboarding as an analogy (no, I can't skateboard). If your son (I know you don't have one, but let's pretend ;) starts to learn to skateboard, at first he is going to fall on his butt quite a bit. Then he will start balancing and riding ok, then down the line maybe pop an ollie or two. Would it be wrong to celebrate each of those acheivements along the way, simply because he didn't go from falling on his butt to Tony Hawk half-pipe "skillz" in one go?

And as side notes:

To suggest that Obama won the election because of his race is nonsensical. The vast majority of people voting for a black man because he is black are black people whose votes in majority always go to a democrat anyway. Make no mistake that, despite his landslide victory, his race still did more to hurt him than help him.

And regarding "DUMB-MASSES", you would have to slap a "DUMB MASS" label on 76 Nobel Laureates, or arguably one of the greatest investors/economists of our time Warren Buffet, or Bill Gates who donated to his campagin, to name a few. Just because you back one candidate doesn't make everyone else who backs the other "dumb" or ignorant-to-the-issues American-Idol-watchers as some others might suggest.

DanThoms said...

a) I am in no way suggesting that Obama won this election because of his race. I was very clear that there were people who did and didn't vote for him based on his race and both are equally ignorant. My only point is its irrelevant, or at least it should be.

b) 14% of our population is black so statistically speaking the chances of a black man becoming president is more rare. When you look at the rate of chosen careers it becomes even more rare.

c) Obama ran a campaign that had mass appeal thats why he won. If I'm remembering correctly Warren Buffet and Bill Gates are both liberals and consistently vote as such. You can't get a whole lot more liberal than Obama. Let us not forget that the current president whom everyone thinks is so terrible was also elected by the people and for the people.

puddleboy said...

My side notes were directed towards other comments here, not the content of your post, to clarify:

a) I was referencing "wayfaring stranger's" last paragraph.

b) I'm not sure what point you are trying to make here (if you are trying to make one)

c) References to these individuals were in reference to the "DUMB-MASSES" remarks as examples of people who are clearly not dumb that supported Obama. This has nothing to do with how well or poorly Obama will govern us, but rather to show there are intelligent differing opinions on either side of the aisle.

puddleboy said...

P.S. -- what about the rest of the comment above the "side notes" section that addressed your post? Thoughts?

DanThoms said...

ok fair enough, to clarify my point in b) is only that the reason there hasn't been a black president does not necessarily reflect the racial views of the country. If you take a hand full of M&Ms the chances of getting a brown one is more rare because of the quantity included in each bag. It has nothing to do with your like or dislike of brown M&Ms

Darth Mom said...

Good discussion!

I felt like there wasn't that much emphasis on race in the election. Of course now that Obama has won, the media is making a big deal about his being black because it is historic. I don't think you can really compare Kennedy being Catholic with Obama being black because it was not as historically significant to be the first Catholic president in the sense that Catholics didn't experience the same history of discrimination that blacks have in this country.

About people voting for Obama either way based on his race – that is dumb. But people have always voted for candidates for arbitrary reasons and not necessarily because of their platform. That is nothing new. It is difficult to vote based on a candidate’s platform considering that once in office, they frequently are unable to deliver on their campaign promises. After the election Tuesday, one of the news channels interviewed a woman who said that now that Obama has been elected she “would no longer have to worry about filling up her gas tank or paying her mortgage!” Apparently, the kind of "change" that some people voted for in this country was a change from democracy to socialism. Of course, one could argue that with the recent passing of the Wall Street/ bank bail out, among other things, we have already crossed that line.

Vote Libertarian!

puddleboy said...

Are you suggesting that it's just random chance we haven't had a black president in the US?

There have been 44 US presidents (inclusive of the president elect), 1 of which was black, thats a 2 percent black president ratio to a 14 percent black population. Granted, the black population wasn't always 14 percent, but let's take a look at all the years it would have been impossible for a black person to be elected:

1789 (start of first presidental term) - 1870 (ratification of the 15th amendment, affirming black people's right to vote). I think if one believes that in a climate where a black person can't even vote that they can be elected president, one is being naive.

1870 (above) - 1968 (all racial segregation deemed unconstitutional) Again, there is no realistic way in that climate that a black person can ever be elected. They couldn't attend the same schools, get the same education, get the same jobs as their white counterparts.

That's 36 of 44 presidents where it would be impossible for a black person to become president. It isn't by chance that we have gone this many years without a black president, and therefore the fact that a black person has been proven electable in our country does say a fair amount about the racial views of it's people.

DanThoms said...

ok, well I don't think America has done something great in electing a black president. I think America does something great when they elect a great president and that has yet to be determined in the case at hand.

I do believe in celebrating achievements. I just don't think this is one of them.

puddleboy said...

And just for supplemental information: While there have been 44 presidents, there have been a total of 56 presidental elections, which would probably be a more useful number since that is the total number of opportunities to be a president.

puddleboy said...

You really don't think this is an acheivement?

You said:

"a) I am in no way suggesting that Obama won this election because of his race. I was very clear that there were people who did and didn't vote for him based on his race and both are equally ignorant. My only point is its irrelevant, or at least it should be."

So we both believe Obama won the election based on something other than his race. Good! What does that mean?

It means that the vast majority people went out and voted for a presidental candidate and based on the merits of his campaign or their ideals and beliefs, or their political stance, or whatever else they voted for -- it wasn't based on his race!

Whether he does a good job or a bad job aside, that's not the point that's trying to be made. No one is saying "Obama is a great president because he is black", they are saying that it's a great thing that man who was black was able to run as president and win, based on our past racial problems! It is an acheivement in racial progress that two candidates were able to run and one was chosen without race being an issue.

pam said...

When Kennedy was elected, yes they did trumpet that he was the first Catholic elected President! The media wasn't as pervasive as it is now but it was a big deal that a catholic could be elected.

I think perhaps your view is narrow minded in wishing that Obama's race wasn't important. IT'S HUGE!!! The very fact that only 50 some years ago black people were second class citizens and had to drink at different fountains makes this HUGE. Would it be nice if we simply said 'yay a good man was elected', sure. But a Black Man Was Elected. That's HUGE.

DanThoms said...

Ok, perhaps it is a "Huge deal." If thats the case then America isn't nearly as open minded as they think they are (I think you may have said this in not so many words Chris ,ie a step in the right direction). I'm not narrow minded I'm obviously just way more progressive than the rest of the country. To truly look past race is a concept lost on the masses and true equality can't exist without that. Hopefully the rest of the country will catch up to me eventually.

elektra said...

i am in total agreement with this blog.
i go to a majorativlely liberal school and have listened to this argument almost everyday for a two week streak.
interesting fact: two days before election day, 112% of black people voted. how? fake registration.
regardless, im happy he made this the most known election and the most participated as well, i just wish it wasnt because of something as stupid as skin color.

elektra said...

oh and im also sick of getting texts and messages/emails from angry republicans saying "Senate is asking that all assassination attempts be held til Martin Luther king day to limit the number of black holidays to one"