1776 Freedom’s Blog

October 16, 2008

Racism in the Campaign: How to intimidate the voters

Filed under: Election,McCain,Obama,Palin,Politics — pj @ 12:48 am
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For the record, I will not vote for Barack Obama.  His skin color has absolutely nothing to do with my decision.  If the two candidates exchanged skin pigment I would not change my vote.  My vote goes to the candidate who best exemplifies American political ideals.  Having said that, I must comment on racism in the campaign.  For the last few weeks prominent Democrats have insinuated that a democrat voting for McCain, a black person voting for McCain or a Hispanic person voting for McCain are racists.  Today, Representative John Murtha declared that rural Pennsylvania voters are racist because they probably won’t vote for Obama.  These are the people Obama characterised as bitterly clinging to their guns and religion because the economy is so terrible.  Further Obama supporters and surrogates have played that refrain in other venues.

Racism is an ugly charge.  No one can deny that race was and still is a legitimate issue.  However, as a nation we have changed the culture so much that any form of racial discrimination or racial hostility is considered offensive to all.   There are still a few nutjobs out there preaching racial inequality but they are in a distinct minority.  To suggest today that voters are racist because they will not vote for a particular candidate can only have one purpose, intimidation.  The implication  of Murtha’s statement, whether he intended so or not, is that any Democrat who does not vote for Obama is a racist.  Loyal Democrat voters are more likely to succumb to this vicious pressure as the further implication of this statement is that a Democrat not voting for Obama is both a racist and a hypocrite.  By extension any Republicans who vote for McCain are also racists.  However, a Republican voting Democrat is not a hypocrite.

We founded this country on the premise that “all men are created equal”.  Modern liberal historians discount this by changing the definition of men to read, wealthy white men with property.  Nothing could be further fro the truth.  Jefferson, Franklin and Adams were among the foremost intellectuals of their time.  They were acquainted with the earliest feminists, including Abagail Adams, and acutely aware of the inequity of slavery.  The first draft of the Declaration of Independence contained a significant passage decrying the evils of slavery and would have ended the practice if enacted.  Congress edited the slavery passage to garner the votes to pass the Declaration.   They did not however tamper with that crucial statement of equality.  Virtually every congressman recognized the import of those words.  The term Man as used in the Declaration was and is understood to mean all mankind.  Every human being who is now living, has ever lived or will live is represented by the term man.  There are no exceptions for gender or skin pigmentation.  To insinuate that a vote for or against a particular candidate is racist is a direct contravention of American principles.  And, no we do not always live up to our principles but that is a subject for a later post.

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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