Living Between The Races
Living “between the races” is often a lonely place for me, but there are times when it is the greatest blessing of all. Choosing to live in harmony with people who may not look like me, worship like me, think like me nor live like me has given me the opportunity to get to know folks of all religions, races and cultures. It saddened me that volunteers for Obama working in my “home” state of Pennsylvania report that some whites there aren’t voting for Obama because of race. Surprise, surprise. But this really does illustrate how racism hurts everybody.
When the race for President began, I was of the opinion that John McCain was an honorable man, somewhat moderate, and would not be a disaster for our country. Now I have supported Obama for years, but I didn’t think McCain, if he won, would be a disaster.
I have changed my mind, based on a number of things. First, both McCain and Palin are absolutely dense when it comes to how to treat people. Just being cute and female does not cut it when what comes out of your mouth is poison. Just being a war hero isn’t enough, when you have absolutely no independent vision for our country.
No amount of defensiveness on the part of some Republicans will change my mind. The debates are more than arguments. They are a showcase for personal traits; traits that will be critical in moving our country forward and changing foreign policy. And McCain ain’t got it. Both McCain and Palin seem like wind-up dolls with one priority in mind: destroy the opponent. They are unable to respond to questions with specifics and only turn the question into a railing against the Obama – Biden ticket. It’s embarrassing that the rest of the world is watching. It’s the “red meat politics” that I don’t enjoy, and that thinking people resent.
Many people who have already selected their candidate do not watch the debates. They don’t want to know. That’s frightening in itself.
This last debate has left a trail of tears in my head. First of all, I hate McCain using “my friends” over and over and over and over. But the kicker was McCain referring to Senator Obama as “that one”. Now I have tried to explain to people that whites don’t think that is so bad, while blacks refer to that as a huge disrespect; “calling someone out of their name”. It’s a cultural thing. One thing it showed for sure: McCain doesn’t know many black folks, and if he uses language that upsets 25% of the people of his own country, what gaffs will he make when in other countries? It is scary.
I have worked hard to allow my sense of humor outweigh my sense of outrage. I found myself laughing at Obama’s tight little fakey smile while he listened to McCain attack him, and I could really hear what might have been going through Obama’s mind, and I found it funny. Those of you of color will know exactly what I mean. I want to ban certain phrases from debates: “you betcha”, “my friends” and winks.
If McCain wins, I believe that all of us will suffer like we have never suffered before. His policies will continue to protect the big boys, and folks like us will go under. He is, and will, create a climate of hatred and intolerance that will suck the joy out of our lives. And he and his opponent do not demonstrate much intellect. It will be the same old thing; sound bites and unkept promises. Whites who refuse to vote for Obama on race will suffer as well; that’s why racism eventually hurts everybody.
I remember coming to Alabama in 1990 and watching us elect governors that were public embarrassments. We’ve come a long way in that department; Governor Riley at least knows how to act in public and can articulate.
Now I am wishing for a President who demonstrates intelligence, tolerance, and vision; one who won’t be an embarrassment or worse, a tragedy, for our country. I want someone who is positive, clear-headed and thoughtful. It seems to me there is no contest here. Obama is clearly the better candidate. I just home racism doesn’t ruin the extraordinary opportunity we have to elect a clear leader we can be proud of.