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.