This is my first ever Spin Cycle, hosted by Sprite's Keeper. Being that I live inside the Beltway and worked in DC for several years, national politics are local news in these parts, so I just couldn't resist putting my spin on the elections. So, here goes.
A few weeks ago, former Secretary of State, respected republican, and African American Colin Powell endorsed Democrat Barak Obama for president. This is not terribly surprising, considering Powell has always been a moderate Republican at best, particularly considering Republican candidate John McCain's choice of uber conservative Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate.
A fairly good friend of mine who is a republican basically said that the reason Powell endorsed Obama is because they are both African Americans. I think he's using race to minimize Powell's endorsement, and it pisses me off. Here's why.
So, here's the thing. Is it true that African American voters have consistently broken for Obama in all the polls at extremely high levels? Yes, it is. Even if you take into account that African Americans generally break for the democratic presidential candidate, Obama's polling numbers in this demographic group have been staggering.
While I don't doubt race has something to do with these numbers, I do not think is has everything to do with these numbers. It is very exciting for all of us to see a person of color so close to being elevated to the highest office in this country, and I'm sure it is even more exciting if you are also African American. I know when I saw Hilary Clinton's name on the Democratic primary ballot, I cried. I did not vote for her, but just to see her name there, as a major party candidate in contention for the presidency touch me in a way I cannot explain. It is very moving to see a minority group you identify with breaking barriers and succeeding where no others have before, and I have not doubt Obama's candidacy will help to turn out the African American vote.
HOWEVER, There are also two groups that have been consistently breaking for McCain in all the polls. Voters over 65 and white men.
Voters over 65 and white men. Last time I checked, McCain was over 65 and a white man. So, why isn't anyone saying the elderly and white men are only voting for McCain because he's also elderly and white?
Because THAT, my friends, is taboo. And I'm calling bullshit on it. I mean, are you KIDDING me? Yeah, African Americans are casting their ballots only based on race, but elderly folks and white people? They are just using their smarts. Race has nothing to do with it for them. Nothing at all. White people would NEVER support a candidate based on race or age, right, Senator Liberman?
Lets call it like it is - there some old white guys (not ALL, but SOME) who are going to vote for McCain simply because he is OLD and he is WHITE and they feel most comfortable with that scenario as president. And they may never admit this is the reason, but it absolutely, totally is. And just because we don't talk about it doesn't mean that it's not happening.
Like I said, yes, I think Obama being African American will help turn out the African American vote. But I also think African Americans are a diverse voter group and will be voting based on many other issues, include national security, health care, education, choice, and the economy.
So don't you tell me people are only voting for Obama because he's African American. That's just offensive, and not juts to African Americans but to all of us, all Americans who will be making our way to the polls on Tuesday to cast our vote for the candidate who we think will best serve this country.
Feel free to disagree with my politics, but if you think race doesn't matter in this election, you are only fooling yourself. It matters, and it matters to everyone.