November 10, 2008

America’s first black president (but it’s not about race)

Posted in politics, presidents tagged , , at 7:42 pm by weiszguy

Prior to the election, everyone went to great lengths to show that race was not an issue.  Obama’s and McCain’s positions were being analyzed on their own merits, but the skin tones of the candidates were rarely mentioned, excepted that, occasionally someone would point out, that, oh yeah, Obama is black.

Since the election results were confirmed, however, it is a completely different story.

  • Cameras showed people all over the world weeping after the result was declared.  Weeping?  Why would they weep?  Maybe the winner’s family and a few close campaign workers – but people all over the world?
  • Bishop Jakes, on MSNBC, declared that growing up in school, he had to look at the row of presidential pictures on the classroom wall, and wonder why none of them looked like him.  Now he didn’t have to wonder anymore.
  • Chris Matthews, the Hardball host, declared that he is going to do everything in his power to help the new administration, because that’s his job.  Would that have been his job if McCain has won?  Or would his job then be to uncover the “truth” about McCain?
  • Garrison Keillor, on his Praire Home Companion show this week, sung songs in praise of Obama, with an audible glee in his voice, as if he was a god.  I have a hard time imagining a similar response if McCain had won.
  • Howard Stern aired a montage of interviews with Obama supporters on the street.  Most of them thought that Sarah Palin was Obama’s running mate, and that Obama supports the war in Iraq, and that Obama is pro-life.  In other words, they had no idea what the issues were, or even who the players were.

Turns out, race is all it was ever about.

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3 Comments »

  1. Chris said,

    “Race is all it was ever about”?

    So, McCain lost because he is white?
    Well, at least it wasn’t the “biased media.” Sigh. OK.

    OR MAYBE
    John McCain lost because he had no new plans, no ideas, only attacks. He lost because, in a void of any real policy offerings (other than staying in Iraq and continuing the current administration’s economic policies), he made two big statements – choosing Sarah Palin to be a heartbeat away from the presidency and suspending his campaign to go to Washington so he could not affect the passing of a bailout bill. Bad and silly.

    OR MAYBE
    He lost because he turned into something other than that guy that ran in 2000, yet, despite the obvious, kept insisting he was that guy who ran in 2000.

    OR MAYBE
    He lost because — with the economy in the tank, with education suffering greatly, with two wars going on, with the country angry — you can’t win an election on a simplified view of abortion and guns and fear alone. But it’s amazing how many votes you’ll get.

    OR MAYBE
    He lost because he ran on “change” … but, uh … that makes no sense.

    OR MAYBE
    McCain lost because Obama was a better candidate with more policy ideas, a better campaign and a better demeanor.

  2. weiszguy said,

    @Chris
    Those are all valid points, or at least points that could be intelligently discussed. And we, as a nation, did discuss those things prior to the election.

    But the post election celebrations had nothing to do with fixing the economy or ending the war in Iraq. The only thing anybody was talking about was that Obama is America’s first black president. That’s still largely the focus of discussions today. Obama, when he takes over, might start using federal money to support foreign abortions, and he might ban oil drilling in Utah, and he might allow federal money to flow into embryonic stem cell research.

    But it doesn’t matter, because he’s America’s first black president.

  3. Chris said,

    Brian,
    I’m saying, let’s be very careful when talking about this stuff.

    No. 1: Breaking down a barrier in this country (and yes, we still have stolid barriers) IS, in fact, something to celebrate. It’s not the only thing to celebrate or laud or lament or discuss, certainly, But it is significant in a way that you and I can never fully grasp. It IS historic. And it DOES mean something.

    No. 2: I disagree. Race isn’t the only thing people are talking about post-election. I’m noticing more on transition, economy, the failing auto industry, cabinet appointments and, as you pointed out, executive powers, etc. (and Palin’s future political aspirations, actually).

    No. 3: Don’t diminish the votes of 66 million Americans.

    We need to do this over coffee, eh?
    Does your new job ever send you to Denver?


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