Thursday, November 06, 2008

The Race to the White House

If I was American I would probably vote Democrat because I tend to be left-leaning (in politics, not posture). So I am pleased that Obama won, but not a jubilant as everyone else seems to be. The right man may have won (only time will tell) but I don’t think he won for the right reasons.

Lots has been written and said about how historic it is that a black person has won, I don’t think quite as much progress has been made as people think. It is great that millions of white people weren’t deterred by the colour of his skin, but there is a flipside. An unprecedented turnout of black voters who felt they had someone they could now vote (from comments on the news and on the internet) suggests for many race was the only issue. If they won’t vote for white candidates, have things really changed that much? Of course white people don’t have the terrible history of being slaves or more recent segregation, but it is still racism if a black person won’t vote for someone because of their skin colour.

The fact is that Obama has more in common with Bush and other white politicians than he has with the majority of the people who voted for him. I find it worrying that people will only vote for someone who they perceived themselves to have something in common with, rather than who will do the best for them (this isn't necessarily going to be the same). I don't need a white working class woman from the north east to stand for election to consider voting.

Furthermore, from what I’ve seen of him, I quite liked John McCain but think he received some bad advice along the way in his campaign. He displayed a great amount of dignity in defeat which I think was a truer reflection of the man. He mainly suffered from the fact that people wanted change (and by change, I don’t mean that they didn’t want a white person in charge). He is from the same party as the current president and the economy is in a state so no matter who stood on either side, I think “the other party” would have won. The same is true here – the Conservatives will win the next election, not because of the charisma of David Cameron (I’ve seen bits of cardboard with more charisma), but because they aren’t Labour.

So, yesterday was a historic day, but I think some perspective is needed.


Claire said...

Race issues aside, I felt extremely relieved that Sarah Palin wasn't going to be dabbling in foreign policy (yet?), so for me the world feels a bit tiny safer because of that. I'm afraid I have visions of a Dr Strangelove scenario with her in office.

I agree with you about the race thing though... just as there was no reason to vote for Thatcher because she was a woman.

SandDancer said...

I agree I wouldn't want that woman anywhere near "the button" or anything else of world importance. She absolutely terrifies me. Any talk of book banning is very dangerous ground for a start.

M said...

Ha! I actually like Sarah Palin.

Any woman who can go from being a regular mom to running the largest state in the Union, fighting the good 'ole boy network along the way...while maintaining a marriage and raising 5 children has got a solid recipe going on.

She's one of the first 'traditional' women to truly have it all -- she made it without giving up her values and priorities, and that's to be admired.

And I really admire her choice on life -- she walks the walk -- knowing she was having a Downs baby and electing to have the child anyway. Do you know how hard that decision is? That takes real character and conviction. Statistically, 90% of people elect to do just the opposite. (And I know how all that feels, having been pregnant at an advanced age with that as a real possible outcome.)

She's also one of the first female candidates who's not 'angry'. (vs. Hillary Clinton, with permanently furled brow.) She actually seems to like her life. And I really think that pisses off the far Left. They tend to like their female candidates angry, unattractive and man-like with at least a couple of abortions under their belt. More traditional women scare them to death.

A hockey mom who beat the good old boys and is the most popular governor in the US? If she'd been a liberal, there'd be a TV movie about her by now.

By the way, -- she's never banned books, she's never been a witch, she's non-denominational and not a religious nut, she's not any of those bizarre extremes they painted her to be. How do we know that? She was asked and she answered, and there's never been anyone who has come forward to refute her answers or any evidence to back up those allegations. But you probably didn't get to hear that part.

Now, would I like her to have more 'experience'? Yep. Do I think she was plucked while still a bit too green? Yep. Do I think we've seen the last of her? Nope. She inspired lots of people, energized her base, drew record crowds, raised millions overnight. She's got something going on. Her real challenge now is overcoming the Left media, who is doing everything they can to turn her into a cartoon character.

Also, do note -- in the context of history, she was no less experienced than many of the men who served as VP (read a study on it, and since 1900, there are probably 8-10 Veeps with less experience than her) And she certainly has no less experience than Mr. Obama, who can point to no record other than running for office (constantly) and managing social programs.

As for my thoughts on Mr. Obama, I'm still pondering how I feel about that but agree with many of your thoughts noted here. He is the most unvetted candidate we've ever had, and we still don't know who he is, but some of the policies he's touting are naive and dangerous. I fear for what's next.

SandDancer said...

M - thank you for your thoughts. I knew that we would disagree on Palin! I couldn't find fault with her decision on her youngest child and think that is something to be admired even if I disagree with her views on other things.

MB said...

Believe me, I think she's far from perfect, but what politician isn't? Pick your poison.

Despite the unfairness of the press she's received, I think there's a lot to admire there -- she's showing us a different twist on feminism that more traditional women can relate to. And she got involved in politics because she didn't like what was going on in her kids school. Isn't that the best reason to get involved? Because you want to try to make things better? How many of us just sit around and complain, instead?

I may change my mind later, once we get to know her better, but so far, her authenticity is a breath of fresh air into the process. I'm trying to keep separated in my mind what is real about her vs. what the press wants us to think about her, and it is difficult.

I certainly don't agree with all her views, but I don't find any of them so terribly offsetting that I wouldn't consider her to be a potential candidate for something in the future. Stats say that at least 55 million other people agree with that.

As for Obama, my thoughts are varied...I may have to do my own blog post on that one...stay tuned.