The Elder Vote and Senator McCain
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Racism in the Presidential Race

category_bug_politics.gif I need a break today to take care of some pressing matters, so I am reprinting a post from Happening Here. Jan Adams (as many elderbloggers are) is doing excellent work at her blog about the election campaign, ruminating on it, reporting her efforts to get out the vote and passing on good stuff she finds.

Several recent polls suggest that racial prejudice will play a good-sized roll in the results of the November election. That's undoubtedly not news to anyone and although it is hard to gauge responses to survey questions about race, they offer some numbers. CNN has an overview.

And here is Jan’s post on the subtlety of racism in the campaign which she titled, "How Racism Works (campaign edition)":

Someone I don't know named Kelvin LaFond has written a letter to the editor of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that describes how racism works in the Presidential election with admirable brevity. I don't know whether that newspaper will/did print it, but I can reproduce it here [minor edits for clarity].

What if John McCain were a former president of the Harvard Law Review? What if Barack Obama finished fifth from the bottom of his graduating class?

What if McCain were still married to the first woman he said "I do" to?
What if Obama were the candidate who left his first wife after she no longer measured up to his standards?

What if Michelle Obama were a wife who not only became addicted to pain killers, but acquired them illegally through her charitable organization?
What if Cindy McCain graduated from Harvard?

What if Obama were a member of the "Keating 5"?
What if McCain was a charismatic, eloquent speaker?

If these questions reflected reality, do you really believe the election numbers would be as close as they are?

This is what racism does.

It covers up, rationalizes and minimizes positive qualities in one candidate and emphasizes negative qualities in another when there is a color difference.

Quickie From Ronni on a Different Topic: At the Senate Banking Committee bailout hearings yesterday, Treasury chief Henry Paulson said the reason he objects to including a provision to limit executive compensation and golden parachutes is that it "would discourage corporations from participating."

If that's all it would take to prevent them from accepting taxpayer money for their bailout, doesn’t it mean they don’t need the money? Just asking...

[At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Nancy Leitz recounts an embarrassing moment in Clang, Clang, Clang Went the Trolley.]


This morning's local Gannett newspaper had an AP article: "NJ Supremacist Group Distributes Anit-Obama Fliers".

A poster on our local forum repeatedly refers to Senator Obama as "Hussein".

An acquaintance of my brother says, "You wouldn't vote for a black man, would you?" Remainder of comment is too stupid for me to repeat here.

Some racism is not so subtle. My stepfather-in-law is 86 and has been a loyal democrat his entire life. He remarked recently that he was not going to vote for Obama. Horrified, my husband asked him "Surely you are not going to vote for McCain are you?"
"No" was the reply. "I'm not going to vote. I'd rather not vote at all than vote for a black man."
One cannot help wondering how many more like him are hidden in the woodwork, even if they are not all as blatant in their disgusting bigotry as he is.

Ronni, I had the exact same thought re: execs who would "opt out" of the bail-out if they didn't get their $$$. NPR's Fresh Air, on 9/23, did an excellent interview w/ financial reporter and New York Times columnist Gretchen Morgenson.

I've heard a surprising number of people say variations of "I just won't vote for Obama." They leave the racism part unspoken. I guess this is what Clinton was warning about when he said that Obama can't win (back when Hillary was still in contention). It's very discouraging.

On the bailout, Paulson may be right. It's clear that the managers of these company care only about their own compensation. So they could be greedy enough to let their companies fail rather than reduce their pay out of the stratosphere. Sickening.

It is depressing to think that racism rears it's ugly head after all these years since the Civil Rights movement. It is pathetic that some need to feel better about themselves by demeaning another.

Regarding the last item about limiting executive compensation, I think the Bush Administration is running true to form. Reward their fellow wealthy Republicans even though they have been incompetent and greedy. There is never any accountability or penalty to be paid for their actions.

That last thing about them not cooperating if they couldn't get big payoffs is so what this is all about. I hope Congress holds firm on this.

On the racism, I think a lot use other excuses and those examples say it very well. It's hard to believe this election is even close but it's obvious that is a factor. For too many people, it is about bigotry. Frustrating as that is based on ignorance which a certain part of our population wants to keep exactly that way by gutting public schools that gave everyone a chance. Vote on issues that matter to you and character of the candidate, and you will be voting your own best interests.

On the issue of racism, all you have to do it read the political blogs comments and you will see racism rear its ugly head. I had hoped this was gone. Sadly, its not.

The letter posted here was eloquent and said it all. We must work to make change. We must get out the vote. Volunteer for Obama, you can do it. You can make calls, do mail, donate. Be part of the process. Spread the word.

As to bailouts: I commented here the other day that Constellation CEO is getting $48 million in his parachute. Not so bad for a CEO running the company into the ground. Paulson is a Bush crony. They both need to go. This bail out bill cannot pass as is. As much as we need help, dictatorship cannot be a remedy.

I can't believe the racism card is being played so vigorously on this site! It's as if you expect Obama to lose and you already have your excuse in the wings.

I know that racism exists in America, but I refuse to believe that it is a dominant factor in this election. Now, I do believe that Obama will get over 95% of the black vote, and I do believe that that is racist, too, just the same as those misguided people who would vote against him because of his color. Thinking about it, I do believe that if I were black, I would vote for him, simply because I would be so damn' proud that my compatriot had made it all the way to being the candidate of a major party. I can forgive that type of racism, much much more than I can forgive the negative vote.

But for people to say that if Obama loses, it proves that the country is deplorably racist, is a slander! This infers that of all the non-blacks in the country, only those who vote for Obama are free of the taint of bigotry. What an outrage to say such a thing! Our country is better than that! Our people are better than that! There are people who will not vote for Obama because they differ with the agendas of his supporters, particularly of the more extreme fringes of his party. Or who are loyal to the politics of their own party. Or who deplore the fact that a person who was unknown only 4 years and 2 months ago, and who has no executive experience, and only 143 days' experience in a national office, could come so far so quickly.

You know that myriad factors come into play when deciding who to vote for. But to reduce it to the simplicity of racism shows a desire for self-delusion or a phenomenal simplicity of mind.

My wife notes that attributing a potential Obama loss to racism is also dangerous. The more that people promote this idea, the more it fans a dangerous flame. Don't they see it could foment riots in case he loses? Don't go there! A final thought -- this is a wonderful country; it deserves to be thought better of than that.

Happy ponderer:

I don't understand why you think there is a racism card being played here. No one commenting has said that if Obama loses it proves the country is racist.

You seem to the be the only saying that.

That racism is a part of this campaign - and exists throughout the country to some unknown degree - is not in doubt and ignoring it (does "race card" mean mentioning racism in any context? I'm not sure what that phrase means.) it does not make it less so to ignore it.

The list of reversed attributes in the post is most enlightening.

Here is the most recent poll to discuss this issue of bigotry--

Anyone who suggests it's the same thing about blacks, who would vote for Obama because he's black, is looking for an excuse. Since blacks have had the vote, they have had to vote for whites. We know they can overlook race or they'd not have been voting at all for a lot of those years. The question is what about whites and in this poll it really was democrats who are the ones we think of as more open.

Reality is some people are bigots and they will come up with some other excuse, but hearing the guy on Fox talk about why this economic crises came and it was loans to minorities. What was that if not open bigotry? The bankers, the loan manipulators, the frauds, none of them have any responsibility.

The bad part is that poll was for democrats; so you know the problem is bigger. Everyone needs to decide why they are voting and face the truth. If it's bigotry, at least be honest instead of some feeble excuses.

And before someone jumps me, I am not saying everyone favoring McCain is a bigot, but I am saying some will have it be a factor. You see McCain using it in some of his ads- bad black men taking advantage of innocent white women.

This was talked about in the interviews with voters during the primary. Ronni is dealing with a subject many want to ignore but it's there for some voters. The question only is how many.

Having come of age in Birmingham, Alabama during the 60's, I am well-acquainted with racism. I also know that expunging that cancer from your heart is a long, arduous process.

We all are familiar with people who will say one thing and do another. They will spout a good line to get by, to not embarrass themselves, but will do the things that reveal the darkness in their hearts. So it is with racism. Most will declare that the color of a person's skin has no bearing with their dealings with them, yet will harbor resentment, fear and distrust in the secret places of their hearts.

It is shameful when people will not vote for Obama because of his race. I would not be surprised if an equal number wouldn't vote for him if he were an Asian-American or Hispanic. It is even more shameful that the majority of these people are hypocrites, denying that they are racists in public, while knowing in their hearts that their racism is alive and well, and fouling their relationships with every one not of their own skin color.

It really saddened me a few days ago to hear a black man on NPR avow that he was not biased, just seconds after he said how proud he felt in his heart that Sen. Obama had come so far and how good it would feel if Obama won. Tell me, people, how this can be interpreted as anything but hypocritical. I don't understand, either, why the black man on NPR considered Sen. Obama to be black while few whom I've heard consider Sen. Obama to be white. He is half and half, I hear.

I doubt that everyone who voted against Sen. Clinton was sexist, although some undoubtedly were, and I doubt that everyone who will vote against Sen. Obama is a racist.

McCain all the way!
The only people I hear talking about racism are Democrats...
Republican's have already had a black woman as Secretary of State...

It has been suggested that the attacks on Obama as a 'community organiser' are also coded racism. To be honest it looks that way to me too.

Interesting the "heat" this topic brought into the open about racism. Racism isn't an American Icon, it's a Societal Deconstruction and is perpetrated around the globe.

As for who wins? Ask yourself these questions because it's the only one that will matter in the long run: Will I be in the same position now when the election is over? Which candidate is talking about things that could really make a major difference in my life?

I don't care who wins, but I do care who loses. The American people lost with the Bushes, period.

The "Golden Parachute" post proves my point. Self serving, pompous 'know-it-alls' who are like spoiled children: If I can't win then I'm taking my ball and go home!

If the only reason people vote is because they 'like' the candidates wife, car, skin color or just to follow the party line...then, voting isn't a privilege it becomes irrelevant as a system based on making decisions for the good of its citizens.

Communism and all the other 'isms' are no better, but at least their citizens know the tyrant they have is a tyrant.

But hey, free votes is the system we have and live with.

Unfortunately, the best candidate isn't always the one with enough money to be heard.

May we all live long enough to learn from our mistakes.

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