Race card played in election

Published 10:43 am Monday, January 12, 2009

Whether Senator John McCain or Senator Barack Obama should be elected president I left to my readers to decide for themselves. My contribution was to observe some favorable things about both and suggest some questions to answer before voting. Whichever was elected I had hoped would be on the basis of whom the majority of voters judged is the better qualified. I still express no opinion as to whom this is, but emergent factors deeply disturb me. Race was, in fact, an observable factor in the election of Obama.

The election of Barack Obama as president has not yet ended racial bias in national politics as it should. What remains to be learned is whether his election is a modest step in the right direction or a serious slip backward.

Up until the election itself I saw many signs that race was not an issue, and I took hope in them. Michelle Obama’s insensitive remark about never being proud of our nation until her husband was nominated threatened to occasion serious backlash, but the Obama people did some fancy political footwork, and the furor died out. I think a bigger cause is grace was shown to a delightful and charming woman, and she was given the benefit of doubt.

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A number of whites can always be predicted to oppose any black however qualified, and more than a few did. At least as predictable is a greater number of Whites who will vote for any black however unqualified. The former voted against Obama and the latter voted for him for almost the same reason, i.e., Obama is black. Both, in my judgment, are race-based votes and both are wrong.

I feel more patience for the latter, because I suspect some who voted for Obama because he is black did so out of sincere belief breaking the racial barrier was of primary importance. I disagree. I hold voting for the better candidate with no necessary reference to race is infinitely more important.

I have long had the impression a greater number of blacks would vote for Obama precisely because he is black than whites would vote for McCain because he is white. The latter would not so much vote for McCain because he is white than that his opponent is black. Theirs is not a pro-white but an anti-black vote— and entirely wrong.

I heard few whites denigrated for favoring a Black, but I know of a great number of blacks threatened for even allowing they might vote for a white. In the minds of many blacks, every black person has an absolute obligation to vote for any black candidate. This attitude also exists in certain white pockets, but they are both fewer and smaller.

If I had any doubts during the campaign about my impression of what was happening, they were dispelled and my worst suspicions confirmed when the count came in. I went to Chicago immediately after I voted, and what I witnessed scares me. The mood was not racial barriers have come down, but “we are getting even.” Not the country has won but blacks have won—just watch and see what we’re going to do now.

When the Illinois governor appointed a replacement for Obama’s Senate seat, it was another black, Roland Burris. At the appointment, Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill; also black) declared no senator “wants to go on record to deny one African-American from being seated in the U.S. Senate.” For his part, Burris later claimed he isn’t “playing the race card,” but has since been emphasizing “…there are no African-Americans in the United States Senate.” It sounds like these two consider being black a qualification for office and one that cannot be resisted by the politically correct.

Although I don’t recognize it was the deciding factor, the race card was definitely played in the election of Barack Obama.

But if he is as successful a president as I think he can be, it will not validate this racial basis. Rather, we now need to overcome this precedent of racial favor. We can be proud of America when race is not a factor at all in elections.