Friday, January 18, 2008

And Now, the Man on the Street

I was listening to Morning Edition this morning on KPCC, one of our local public radio stations, and naturally they were interviewing people about the primaries. One gentleman the reporter spoke with said he was voting for John Edwards because he believes he’s electable. He went on to say (and I’m paraphrasing here) that he doesn’t think Hillary and Barack have a chance, and that although he admires Barack Obama and thinks he is capable, “America’s not ready for an African-American president.”

I don’t understand this argument. It’s the primaries. You should vote for who you think is really best for the job – who can do the most for the country – not for who you think can ultimately win the nomination. How else can your voice be heard? I glared at the radio for a second and said out loud, “Fool, then you are just playing their game – or they’re playing you, more like it.”

This man went on to say that America is too racist and sexist, and that maybe if it was 2050, Barack would have a chance. He then brought up immigration, making it clear that he was Latino, and saying that Americans want to send back even people who’ve been born here, who are second or third generation, in fact, who were here “before any of them, I mean, when they came over on the Mayflower, we didn’t ask for their green cards.” This is where he completely lost me, and I turned the station. But I can’t let it go.

When people say, “America’s not ready for an African-American president,” or “America’s not ready for a woman president,” all I hear is that they’ve given up on any semblance of equal representation. These are bogus statements. If you can vote, you are America. Don’t act like America is something separate from yourself. Be honest and say, I am not ready for this particular African-American as president, because you don’t agree with how he claims he’s going to lead the country. Not because he’s African-American. That means that on some level you agree. That means on some level, you’re letting our negative racial history live on and worse, to continue.

If you want to vote for John Edwards because you think he is the best person for the job, because you agree with his policies and think he would move this country in a positive direction, great. If you are voting for John Edwards because even though you like Hillary or Barack’s stance better, you think neither of them will win, then you are part of the problem. Don’t fool yourself. And don’t blame the entire country for your own racist malarkey.

Off my soapbox. I think I stubbed my toe.


Janie said...

I don't know if you saw The Great Debaters, but one of the debates was "If America was ready for integrated Universities.?" Of course the white Southern university thought that American was NOT ready for integrated universities.

Cutie Pie Jurnee Smollet's character said outraged, "Right NOW is ALWAYS the time!"

That is what I thought of immediately when I read your post.

Folks are just OFF. Not focused on the issues, not thinking forward. This IS the 21st century, right?!

Lacey said...

I'm sorry, but you must be living in a parallel universe or on some other place called earth. I really do like Barack and I would love to see him elected. But I can't help thinking exactly what you were referring to...because the America that I live in is definitely not ready for an African-American president. So, how am I going to support him in any way other than in "spirit"? Because ANY Democrat has GOT to be better than another Republican. I don't know. Maybe I'm showing my ignorance here. I don't think I'm being racist. Maybe I'm wrong about that too. I hope not. I'm not even sure that I think that Barack is the most qualified for the job. Still, I'd love to see him elected. I'd love to see a woman elected, too. Not Hillary, per se, but a women, for sure. Or an openly gay person.

Well, I'm babbling now.

Lisa Blah Blah said...

Janie: No, I haven't seen The Great Debaters yet. I'm told it's excellent and I do like that quote.

Lacey: Honey, I live right here on earth. Maybe I wasn't clear. I'm saying IF you believe that Barack is the best person for the job, then that is who you should vote for, even if you think he won't win. Your vote is your voice. IF you think he is the best candidate, then show "America" that YOU are ready for an African-American president. I'm saying don't use his race to discount him. That's all.

I am not saying you should vote for Barack or Hillary or whoever (honestly, I don't know if I'm going to vote for either of them), if they don't reflect your politics. That is the beauty of democracy. Choose for yourself. What I am saying is, just don't let race or gender sway your decision either way. Look at their policies and decide. The best way to combat racism and sexism and all those other isms is not to propagate that shit. Even if they don't win, that doesn't mean your vote doesn't count. By voting, you make your opinion known. You know?

Lacey said...

Yes, thanks for the reply. Even if they don't win, my vote still counts, or means something. I do understand that, even though I was thinking about that when I posted, but of course, you right. But then I wonder...if I vote for someone based on principle, and they don't have a chance of winning...and then a republican who I really don't want to win, wins...I should vote for the person who I think has the best chance of defeating the guy i don't want. I know. Convoluted. I'm just sayin...I just can't take another four or eight years of republican rule...

Lisa Blah Blah said...

Lacey, I totally get where you're coming from. I guess I am a bit of an idealist. I too desperately want a change in the White House, so I understand your strategy!