Blue and Mr. A, I have a different take on the election, I think that Obama's triumph next week (he will win, as I have been predicting here for quite some time now, thank you very much) is the end result of the extraordinary improvement in race relations in our country over the last 50 years. Blue looks to the 50s and 60s as the bad old days of racism, when making his comparison to today. I think that's probably the result of his solid Canadian educational system having impressed upon him images of sit-ins, dog attacks, race riots etc. and his viewing them as evidence of the worst days of racism. Exactly the opposite was happening. The 50s and 60s mark the beginning of the great shift in race relations in our country. Brown v. Board of Education, MLK, the Civil Rights Act, black power, Michael Jordan, Ophrah....Obama. The fact that we have a black Presidential candidate who is not just a token candidate (as Jesse Jackson was), but a real, viable contender, judged by the same standards as his opponent, and capable of winning is proof positive that race will never be viewed the same in our country. Does it mean that 23% of Texas yahoos won't go around making statements that frazzle the sensitivities of sensitive Canadians? No. Or that a sizable minority of Americans (white and black) won't continue to betray racial biases? No. Racism will never go away completely. Not in America, not in Timbuktu and not even in...Canada. But it seems to me undeniable that race relations have improved dramatically in our country and that is a wonderful thing. I'm not saying folks should rely on personal experiences in coming to these conclusions, but I am struck by how much the younger generations of Americans that I deal with view race in completely different ways than mine and prior generations. It's just not that big a deal to them.
A further point, I am always struck by this idea that there is something in the american psyche that generates a level of racism that exceeds that found elsewhere in the world. Complete bullshit. America/Americans are racist in the same way that Canadians and everyone else in the world are racists. When folks generalize about America's racist past they should stop first to think about precisely who these "racist Americans" are. America is a land of immigrants. The folks who spout racist bile in our country are the sons and daughters and recent descedants of Cubans, Italians, Germans, Greeks, Palestinians, Jamaicans, Trinidanians, Scots, Puerto Ricans, Swedes, Dominicans, Dutch...etc. who came here and became "Americans". Every example listed above is intentionally noted because over the years these "Americans" have at one point or another betrayed various degrees of racial biases in my presence. Did they all become racists in America? Are you serious. Is someone going to seriously argue that Europeans are not "racists"? or that they are somehow less "racist" than "Americans? Please.
Racism is universal. America has had a peculiar history in this regard because of slavery (not an American creation) which resulted in large numbers of African Americans becoming American. I would wager anything that our friendly Canadian neighbors, if faced with similar historical circumstances and similarly large numbers of African Americans in their midst would have a racist history no different than the USs, unless perhaps there is genetic anti-racist gene present in the Great White North that I am not clued in on.
Mr. A, I am one of those people who is taking race into account when casting a Presidential election vote. It is not reverse racism. It is a joyful act. I love the fact that this extraordinarily well-qualified candidate is African American. It validates my faith in this country. It proves to me that we are on the right path. If he were running against a white candidate of equal standing, I see nothing wrong with the AA getting the nod on account of race. An African American presidency is a transcending political result for a reason. Nevertheless, please rest assured that I am also voting for O in protest against the policies of a party towards whose views I generally gravitate but which I fear has lost its way, temporarily. It is a vote agains the conduct of the war and the selection of a moron as a Vp candidate. It is not racism to vote for an African American and take his race into account. It would be racist to not vote for an African American because of his race, or to vote for a white candidate (facing a black opponent) because of his race. Remember, racism in our country is present among both races, but has harmed only one.
End of random rant thought