The Politics Of Racism

October 30, 2008 at 8:39 am (News & Politics)

Many people acknowledge that there is no fundamental difference between the Democrat and Republican parties, that the main differences are about style more than substance. However, it seems as though the attitudes of some voters towards the presidential candidates of these two major parties are in large part a reflection of something other than their political differences. Consider the following:

Regarding Obama/Biden vs McCain/Palin: What if certain personal characteristics of the candidates and their wives were switched around? How would that affect our collective point of view?

What if the Obamas had paraded five children across the stage at their party’s nominating convention, including a three month old infant and an unwed, pregnant teenage daughter?

What if John McCain was a Harvard graduate and a former president of the Harvard Law Review; while Barack Obama had finished fifth from the bottom of his Naval Academy graduating class (894th in a class of 899 cadets)?

What if McCain had only married once, and Obama was a divorcee? What if Obama was the candidate who left his first wife after a severe disfiguring car accident when she no longer measured up to his standards of beauty? (To be fair, McCain has acknowledged certain of his failings in this regard.)

What if Obama met his second wife in a bar, and the two of them had an affair while he was still married to his disfigured first wife?

What if Michelle Obama, rather than Cindy McCain, was the spouse who became addicted to pain killers, acquiring them illegally through a charitable organization?

What if Obama had been a member of the Keating Five? (5 U.S. Senators accused of corruption, igniting a political scandal within the larger Savings and Loan crisis of the late 1980s and early 1990s.)

What if Obama, rather than McCain, had a history of discipline problems in college and a record of crashing several military airplanes; without suffering repercussions that would have landed others, less well connected, in deep trouble? (McCain’s father and grandfather were Navy Admirals).

What if Obama was the candidate known to display serious anger management problems, on multiple and well documented occasions?

What if Michelle Obama’s family, rather than Cindy McCain’s, made its money selling booze?

If these questions actually reflected the reality, would Obama be leading McCain today in the run up to the presidential election? “Not bloody likely.”

Truly, the political programs of the two leading candidates differ little in substance. Obama & McCain both voted for the “banker’s bailout” — rewarding the same gang of thieves who looted the economy with $700 billion in taxpayer’s money. Both candidates want more troops sent to Afghanistan, and it is Obama who trumpets a warlike readiness to strike militarily within Pakistan (a sovereign if shaky ally of the U.S. government). Both candidates favor the death penalty, and Obama supports its expansion to cover certain crimes not currently subject to it. Neither candidate is ready to deal fairly with Cuba. The list goes on. With so much in common, why do some insist that one candidate is “clearly” better than the other?

Racism maximizes positive qualities in some, while minimizing those same positive qualities in others. It emphasizes negative qualities in others, while minimizing those same qualities in those more superficially like ourselves. With some, the McCains repeatedly get the benefit of a doubt which the Obamas don’t enjoy in the climate of our times.
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