Wednesday, January 30, 2008

I Have Been to the Mountain Top

These quotes were taken from a NY Times by Adam Nossiter story. He talked to voters in rural Tennessee about the choices for President. Here's a sample of the quotes about Barack Obama:

“Anyone but Obama-Osama,” he said, chuckling at a designation that met with mirthful approval at the table.

"...where some were quick to say that Mr. Obama’s race was not prohibitive for them personally but could well be for others."

"Mention of Mr. Obama merely provoked discomfort.
“Statements I’ve heard, Obama, they’re seriously afraid of him, I’ve talked to some yellow-dog Democrats; they won’t vote for Obama.”

"Some white voters voiced outright alarm over Mr. Obama, and though he is a Christian, allusions to his supposed Muslim ties were frequent..."

Now explain to me again how race isn't a major factor in this race. As much as 25% of the US population would never vote for a black person for dog catcher, much less President. To those who are in this group, they view Obama's message of unity as an offense to everything that they believe in. This is a large part of the uphill battle he faces and the battle that America still faces. For all the progress that has been made, there is still a long way to go. It is exciting to see someone with such a dynamic personality and uplifting message compete for the highest office in the land, but I doubt very much whether America is ready to take such a giant leap forward. Here's a quote from Spike Lee's "Malcolm X" in which Malcolm X is debating whether there has been any progress in race relations:

"Well, I have this to say. Do you know what a Negro with a B.A., an M.A. and a Ph.D. is called -- by the white man? I'll tell you. He's called a nigger."

While that feeling may not be pervasive anymore, there is still a segment of the population that even today holds on to that view. They are more than willing to devalue another human being based on race, gender, religious views and whether they break open their hard boilded eggs from the big end or small end. For some Democrats their vote may come down to which concept offends them the least, A black man or white woman as President. For many of those Democrats they will simply answer neither and vote for John McCain.

No comments: