Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Why Obama's race is not an issue with America today

Barack Obama's historic campaign reaffirms the thought that many of us have become color blind when it comes to evaluating a person's capabilities. I grew up in the 60s in Decatur, Ill., one of those quiet little redneck communities. I remember the Chicago riots and I have never forgotten the impact of Martin Luther King's death in 1968.

And, then I joined the Air Force in 1977. From the first day in basic, with a Hispanic noncommissioned officer who berated me in English and Spanish, I knew that the world wasn't all lily white. In time, I became color blind to those around me. The only thing that mattered was the rank of those above me.

My children have grown up in a world that doesn't tolerate racism. I remember discussing the Will Smith movie, Ali with my oldest step daughter. She didn't get the message of the movie, because she grew up in a world where people don't evaluate people because of their color, religion, heritage or gender.

While the media will make a big deal out of Obama's race if he wins today, for most of our youth, it's not a big deal. For those of who remember the bad old days of Birmingham, Alabama, or Mississippi, it's refreshing to know that our children have become totally color blind.

1 comment:

JF said...

"Ya know..." The fact and reality is that while Obama's race should not be an issue in today's election, in many peoples' minds it is. Similarly, Joe Lieberman's religion should never have been an issue in the 2000 election, but I'd bet that it was.

So let's get to the core of the question. The only thing that should matter is a candidate's stance on the issues (and each voter has issues of personal priority). It's my belief that this election is going to swing largely on the wasted effort by a good percentage of this country arguing points that have absolutely nothing to do with issues. I heard on TV the other day that 23% of Texans believe that Obama is a Muslim. Such a ridiculous issue, but it has dominated alot of the discussion on politically oriented blogs for nearly a year (you would be astounded at the pure drivel that pervades in the blogosphere, especially among those "citizen journalists" who consider it their duty to spread rumors about candidates that they don't agree with). Instead of debating national security, homeland security, border security and helping small businesses to create jobs and to expand our arsenal of technologies, instead of arguing and debating the question of how to equip (and fund) the Future Warfighter or enable people to afford health insurance, so much silliness has been wasted on Obama's names.

Obama's race (or his religion) should not be a consideration in this election, even though it is in many parts of the country. People worry about whether Tina Fey's wardrobe was purchased by the RNC, when the stark differences in National Security policy between the two Presidential candidates have not been debated or compared objectively. EMOTION reigns and has been driven by the Internet.

I've voted my conscience and according to those issues that are important to me. My fear is that the overriding portion of the American electorate will have voted, not on facts and positions, but on innuendo and emotion. My fear is that in this Age of the Internet, there are all too many ignorant people who will vote based on what someone else sent them in an email.

I also believe that neither party presented us with their best and brightest. So when I voted, I voted for the candidate who I believe will support National Security and defense, not for the one who will change my life. My choice was clear, maybe as clear as yours was to you...and yet, they may well have been different.