Archive for the ‘biden’ tag
Barack Obama — Chicago: 71 degrees and sunny as of 2 p.m.
Joe Biden — Wilmington, Del.: 59 and cloudy
John McCain — Phoenix, Ariz.: 72 and most cloudy
Sarah Palin — Wasilla, Alaska: 12 degrees and sunny.
I thought it was noteworthy that the weather in Chicago was the warmest it has been there on Election Day since 1964, which was obviously the year the Civil Rights Act was signed, the year Lyndon Johnson was re-elected, and the year Martin Luther King Jr. won the Nobel Peace Prize.
Pulling a quote from my own, randomly generated quote box on jeremystyron.com
Universal manhood suffrage, by establishing an aristocracy of sex, imposes upon the women of this nation a more absolute and cruel despotism than monarchy; in that, woman finds a political master in her father, husband, brother, son. The aristocracies of the old world are based upon birth, wealth, refinement, education, nobility, brave deeds of chivalry; in this nation, on sex alone; exalting brute force above moral power, vice above virtue, ignorance above education, and the son above the mother who bore him. — Susan B. Anthony
What will Sen. Barack Obama’s (half white, half black) election mean for the black race? For the white race? For our country? And how will it implicate this country’s past spiral down into slavery, its civil rights upheaval of the 1960s and its future?
First, Obama’s election is hugely emblematic. For centuries, speaking as a white person, we have had no problem, in other time periods, letting blacks cook for us, farm for us, serve us food, watch our children, cart us around, even make babies for us (albeit often illegitimate ones in the eyes of the then-law), but white America seemingly has never been fully confident (in fact, wholly fearful) of giving a black man the keys to the kingdom. In a couple months, Obama will hold those keys.
But what’s at the heart of such anxiety? That a semi-black president will attempt to initiate legislation that will benefit only black people? That a supposed less experienced senator from Illinois will irresponsibly guide us out of Iraq, thus perhaps upping the level of concern for terrorism at home? That he will bumble dealings with Putin in Russia’s harsh dealings with peripheral countries and that country’s ever-leanings toward the old Russia? That he will sit across the table from guys Chavez and Ahmadinejad, without preconditions, and attempt to instill reason into unreasonable characters? That he will set up abortion clinics at every corner so as to lay waste to sexual responsibility in preference to social irresponsibility?That we ultimately don’t trust him?
What’s in a name?
According to this video: http://eyeblast.tv/public/video.aspx?v=Q4IrVrkU much is in a name. The name given to you by your parents, gauging by this account, relegates you to a life of obedience to the implications of his/her own name. So, if your name is David, is it assumed you will, for instance, slay a giant with a slingshot and take as your mistress the wife of another? If your name is Abraham, should we assume you are expected to nearly slay your son (but be called back in the end), symbolically father thousands and lead a nation. If your name happens to be Jesus, as is the case in many Hispanic families, does it follow that you will go on to heal the sick, feed thousands and raise your friends, notwithstanding, yourself, from the dead. If one of your names is Hussein, are you thus relegated to the Islamic faith, or worse, terrorism? We don’t expect people named Abraham, David or Jesus to do such things in modern times, thus, why should we expect Obama to follow a similar trend? It’s astonishing that smaller symbols combined to form more cohesive, more meaningful, larger symbols can raise so much ire in a man’s middle name. Yet, this is the absurdity some have been reduced to during this election.
Some reduced to much worse
Forty-plus years removed from the Civil Rights movement and from segregation, racism is still a real and terrifying current running through American society, so much so that a black man can’t even begin talking about positive, uplifting notions of unity and accord in this country without talks of assassination. Some 150 years from slavery, nearly a century (or less) from lynchings and cross burnings, we still have yet to come to grips with our own mutual humanness.
A minority of white people actually feel bad about that black, dark (even the words to us denotes a negative) era of American history, such that some are willing to consider reparations to make up for the sins of their white ancestors and to make up for the toil, sweat and blood shed by the enslaved, which still today creates in many black folks lingering feelings of anger and resentment that the ancestors of masters, or even the ancestors of poor white folks, can’t pretend to understand. Other whites, though admitting it was a tragic step in a subversive direction for the country, make no claims of guilt and let the past speak for itself. The present isn’t implicated by the past, some may say, and we should move forward and seek to make the reality facing us today a better one. Some, evidenced by the above article, clearly haven’t moved on and are still waging the Civil War and carrying the cloak of the KKK, albeit largely in secrecy.
So, what now? The choices before us today are ironic by every account. The Republican headliner, John McCain, an aging, white male, at times, playing second tier in the headlines to Gov. Sarah Palin, the surprising vice president female choice, a largely unknown from Alaska, who is far more fundamentally evangelical, at least publically, far less professionally qualified and arguably, less ethical than her running mate (See: Troopergate). The champion of women’s rights, Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, long since bowed out of the election. Next, Joe Biden, another aging, white male, is following, not leading, the first black man in the country to head a major party ticket.
And Obama: the greatest irony of them all. A half white, half black, Harvard-law educated, erudite man poised — and with seeming tireless poise — is hours away from making this, if it isn’t already, the most historic presidential election. Assuredly, some, black and white, will vote purely on racial grounds, regardless of who is best fit for the job, which would be an anachronistic way to approach the most important decision a person can make as a citizen. Others, I’m confident, will make informed choices.
Assuming the polls are correct and assuming McCain doesn’t make a large push down the home stretch, will an Obama win erase the legacy of slavery or Jim Crow or segregation? Certainly not. Will it move us closer to obtaining racial harmony? Time will tell, and the country’s reaction to the election, whether there will be racial scuffles, more assassination attempts, nothing at all, or positive steps toward the unity among races of which Obama so frequently speaks, will testify to the evolution, or not, of our racial character since 1964. It will, for sure, test us like nothing since that year. And in my innermost whiteness, the ironically dark lurker beneath that eggs me on to lock my car doors in urban neighborhoods, some form of underlying anxiety persists at times, one from which I can’t deny or shirk away. It seemingly runs in all of us, at the core, black and white. It is this: for blacks, a nagging resentment; for whites, an often mistrust for those of other hews, that follows us through history like a ghost. Regardless of whether we want it there or not, it’s embedded in many of our ancestries and seated firmly in the roots of our family trees. Our ability to come to grips with these feelings, channel them and find new ways to respect and dignify our fellow man will dictate how the next four years play out. After all, at the core, we exist as humans across, and independent from, racial lines. Blacks, whites, Hispanics, Asians have family and friends they love. They have children they want to see succeed. They live with the same basic needs. At times in our history, these truths have often teetered just out of reach. We can only hope that in the near future, they will be more fully realized.
When I first heard that John McCain had picked Sarah Palin for the VP spot, I, like many, thought, “Who??”
When the initial shock wore off, I figure it’s probably the smartest thing politically that he could have done. I think it’s wily and down-right ruthless, but smart nonetheless. For all McCain’s talk about Obama’s lack of experience, and for him to up and pick a veep that is , not only decades his junior, but three year’s Obama’s junior and with less experience than Obama … well that’s plain hypocritical.
But it’s blatantly clear why McCain made the choice. A) Palin has a stronger conservative track record on the social issues that the evangelical base can rally around, while McCain slides more toward the center on certain issues and has, to some extent, made evangelicals a bit wary of throwing their vote into his hat. B) Palin is a woman and an attractive one at that (I didn’t know McCain was looking to one-up Cindy.) Regardless, Palin, for sure, will sway some women toward a McCain vote simply because of her gender. Since many were hanging their hopes on Hillary Clinton, McCain, at the least, gives woman who may not be too keep on Obama, an alternative.
Now, a word about Joe Biden. In many ways, Obama’s pick was for much the same reasons. Obama needed an experienced, white guy for counterbalance.
To say the McCain’s own VP pick was “brilliant,” however, as some have posited might be taking it too far. It was a smart move, no doubt, but not brilliant. I’m sure it has some staunch Republicans wondering about McCain’s decision-making and pure desire to do what is best for the party and the country. In my mind, the choice has nothing to do with who might be best suited for the job — even though that’s obviously the message McCain will tout. It has everything to do with simply trying to sway enough people his way. This decision was about votes, and if that’s not painfully clear to everyone keeping track of this election, including Palin herself, pull your head out of the sand.