Have you ever wondered why certain things in politics escape scrutiny? There are countless prime examples during the current presidential campaign – not the least of which are race and gender.
What would be the outrage expressed by the “media” should any press celebrity report that 97 percent of the white population was going to vote for a particular candidate because of his or her race? Yet when it is reported that 97 percent of the black population is expected to vote for Barack Obama in November, there is no outrage. The conclusion to be drawn from this is those votes have been determined simple by the color of Senator Obama’s skin.
What was it that Martin Luther King, Jr., said in his famous “I Have a Dream” speech back in 1963?
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will be judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
Recently a prominent black citizen of Frederick, who long has been a Republican, said he was voting for Senator Obama. Knowing full well his personal philosophy of government, in particular fiscal responsibility, can any other conclusion be drawn than that he is voting for the Illinois senator “because he is black?”
On the other hand, as we all are aware, there are those in our society who will vote “against” Senator Obama for exactly the same reason.
The black population of this country is rightfully proud of the fact that Senator Obama is the first African-American to be nominated for president by any major political party. It is the strength of this nation that it can put aside past rancor over race and uplift an entire segment of its population by simply placing the name of an African American on the nation’s ballots.
But it is sad that the media is implying that America’s black population isn’t smart enough to look beyond the color of the candidate’s skin in making their vote selection. That’s an indictment beyond comprehension.
Pollsters have long separated the nation’s voters into pigeon holes: white men and women, Jews, Christians, black men and women, blue collar, white collar, etc. Even Muslims are now limited to a special separate segment in polling data.
We will never come together as a people as long as we are willing to allow ourselves to be compartmentalized. We are Americans and should accept other Americans as a whole rather than as one particular fragment of the entirety.
The ragging on candidates by the pundits and columnists – and even the candidates themselves – does little good for America. We need to discuss the issues, find where the candidate stands in relationship to our own views, and then cast our ballots.
The color of one’s skin, or a person’s sex, should not be anyone’s determining factor in any election.
But that is a hope that will never be realized because the majority of Americans are lazy when it comes to politics. That’s why negative campaigning works so well.
Why can’t candidates tell us what they are going to do “in specifics” rather than in platitudes? Pretty words sell the product but seldom lay out just how good it will “actually” work. We buy it and discover that it won’t do what we want it to do – or what the announcer – or candidate – said it would do.
One has to really dig into what candidates are telling us to get a sense of what they “might” do if elected. Seldom does the elected official do what was promised. There are checks and balances which prevent promises from becoming law.
And that is why it is good for America to have a divided government. A Congress ruled by a majority of one party with a president of the same party can wreak havoc with the American taxpayer’s pocketbook. And a Congress – particularly the Senate with a super majority, enough to cut off debate or filibuster – would be a disaster.
Debate is good for the soul. Partisan bickering is bad for the governed. Baseless accusations against any candidate are simply wrong and should be prohibited. But then we would have to amend the U. S. Constitution to limit free speech.
So Thomas Jefferson was right when he wrote: “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”
Unfortunately for all of us, Thomas Jefferson is not alive today to comment on the plight of the American people and the acrimony and bitterness that pervades our national media.
Unfortunately for all of us, it is creeping down to the local media as well.