Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Is America "ready" to fulfill its promise?

Looking at the Democratic presidential primary returns from parts of Kentucky, West Virginia and Ohio is a sad, sobering experience.

Hillary Clinton racked up mega-majorities in some rural counties —70 percent, 80 percent, even 90 percent. Stunning numbers.

It should be a sad, sobering experience for her as well. All the numbers mean is that many voters in those lop-sided counties are more racist than they are sexist.

You know — “hard, working-class whites.” Come November, those same voters, if faced with a woman on the ballot, would generate the same numbers for a white man, John McCain.

Even if, in some nightmare scenario, the white man running against Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama were George W. Bush, undeniably one of he worst presidents in American history, these patriotic American bigots would vote for him too — again.

There has been a lot of talk in the press about whether America is “ready” for an African-American president. Whether the country is “ready” for a woman president.


Were we “ready” for George W. Bush? Are we “ready” for John McCain? And through that same clear lens, are we “ready” for Hillary Clinton? Are we “ready” for Barack Obama?

Never mind gender or race. We are voting for a president here — the person with the power to make life-and-death decisions about the future of this country, indeed about the fate of this planet.

Which one are we “ready” for — based on character, ability and political belief? Nothing more, nothing less.

The problem is that many Americans are voting their prejudices. Does it make you feel good to hate candidates because of race or gender? Then get your racist/sexist jollies off by going to the polls to vote against them.

The country be damned.

Here a little voice asks: But aren’t you being unfair? Aren’t you stereotyping white voters in these states? The polls don’t suggest so. Large numbers admit that they would not vote for a black to be president under any circumstances. Combine them with those who are too embarrassed to express their racism, and you have a country whose November presidential election could well be determined by racists.

But how about all those black voters who voted for Obama because he is black? Isn’t that a racist vote? Ask yourself, are those black Obama supporters voting FOR someone or AGAINST someone. Are they voting out of hatred — or pride? Black voters don’t despise whites. They’ve been voting for white candidates for years. But they do fervently support the first major black presidential candidate. Oh, and, on his merits, they also believe he would make the best president.

It’s a choice they’ve never had before, and they are going to take it. Wouldn’t you?

But unlike black voters, say in North Carolina or Virginia, large numbers of white voters in the primary elections I’ve mentioned above weren’t voting FOR Clinton, they were voting AGAINST a black man for no other reason than that he is black.

That is racist voting.

Don’t lump me in with the “America” that “isn’t ready for an African-American president or a woman president.”

I am “ready” for an America that is “ready” for a president, black, brown, yellow or white, man or woman, whose words, leadership and actions will end the bigotry, divisiveness and hatred that still haunt this nation.

When America is “ready” for the best, it will, at long last, live up to its promise.

Labels: , , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home