1776 Freedom’s Blog

October 12, 2008

Racist rhetoric, propaganda aimed at the ignorant among us.

“We hold these truths to be self evident; that all men are created equal”  This short sentence from our national birth certificate says all that should need saying about racism in this country.  Jefferson wrote those words knowing exactly what he was saying when he elucidated the principles that would govern the new nation.  Jefferson, Franklin and Adams all knew that there are no significant differences between people of different colors.  (If you don’t know, Jefferson, Franklin and Adams were the principal authors of the Declaration of Independence.  The original draft of the document had a section decrying slavery as an inhumane institution.  Congress, acting as a committee of the whole, edited the anti slavery section out of the document.)  That politics preserved the institution of slavery until the Civil War is the fault of the Congress, not a defect in the principles written into the  Declaration.  To deny this requires a deliberate ignorance of our history and the founding principles written into the Declaration of Independence.

Fact: there is one human genome.  Every human being who ever lived, lives now and will live in the future is a member of the same race, the human race.  These are facts, indisputable, absolute and unchanging.  So why are racist views polluting the presidential contest?  The short answer is that people are promoting  candidates by appealing to our worst attributes and the least rational aspects of human nature.  On one side we have the subtle insinuation that not voting for Obama affirms the view that we are a racist nation, divided by the color line.  The corollary is that any black person who votes for the white candidate is a traitor to the race.  The truth is that both premises are false.

I can not criticize any black person who votes for Obama out of ethnic pride.   Our pluralistic society honors ethnic heritage as a valuable element of the national character.  Voting for the first African American presidential candidate is a compelling aspect Obama’s candidacy.  However, people of all colors and ethnicities disagree with Obama’s policy positions just as they disagree with McCain’s.

What is true is that most Americans no longer accept racist mythology.  We have a ways to go before we are a truly colorblind society.  Yet, it is ameasure of how far we have come toward fully embracing Jefferson’s ideal that Barack Obama is a viable candidate for the highest offiec in the nation.  You may disagree with his politics, dislike his positions, be mistrustful of his plans for the future but none of those considerations  include skin color.  The inverse is also true, disagreeing with the man’s political positions is not racist. That residual racism still exists is undeniable.  That the majority of Americans eschew racism is also undeniable.   Neither candidate should tolerate or encourage racist comments from staff, surrogates or supporters.

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