Tuesday, January 15, 2008

"...some of my best friends are of midnight hue! I mean...uh..."

***Election 2008 Update***

Sen Hillarious Clinton may yet win her party's nomination, but damned if her campaign isn't trying its hardest to lose it for her. At least if the media and Obama camp have anything to say about it.

Word from the weekend going into today's (weak, unimportant) Michigan primary and beyond to Nevada and S. Carolina is that black people just don't truck with her as they do with Obama. Could it be the drug references her supporters bring up (white and black) or perhaps just the issue of race in general, as I said Prof. Dyson had last week with the "crying game" of hers?

Whatever the reason, S. Carolina's primary might be indicative of a wave of support against her, turning into an unyielding tide, should she "lose" the black vote as polls indicate. Obama charts nearly two to one against Hillary with black people; Hillary has less than a 20% spread between her and the junior IL senator among them thar whites. There are a lot of people of color (as I am reminded people refer to them still) in our sovereign nation, many of them registering for the first time but many more unregistered for the primary. A commentary on NPR the other day rambled off some figures in Southern states about the number of unregistered black votes (amounting to hundreds of thousands, possibly as much as a million, between South Carolina, Georgia and Florida). The question on pundits' brains is whether there are enough registered to matter in the primary, or if the "black vote" won't be an issue until they have a chance to all register for the general election.

In (rare) defense of Hillary, nothing she's said is inherently racist, but if you want to twist it to be superior or condescending, you can. That can be done with any statement, if the listener is sensitive enough, and I think the last week has proven just how exposed our citizenry's nerves are in cases of race. We haven't moved very far that we think behind every statement is a subtle barb at someone because of the color of their skin. It's been 143 (just about) years since the Civil War ended, (nearly) 44 since LBJ signed into law the Civil Rights act. Generations have come and gone in the mean, but the feelings have remained. Why do we have to boil it all down to race? Can't people dislike, distrust or just not choose a candidate for reasons other than color?

It's getting old, beating this dead horse. Propping up the spectre of racism - playing the race card, as some might say - just reminds us as a nation of the hardships we've gone through and seek to avoid. Forget history, and you are doomed to repeat it, is the argument. Take this into account: erasing the sin of slavery from our collective conscious is impossible, but so long after its demise, we have to move on. More pressing issues are at stake than fighting the Civil War again. People will be intolerant. Just live with it. No society is perfect, though we strive for such.

That was longer than I wanted it to be. More on Michigan for the GOP later.

-Hooper McFinney

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