Thursday, December 27, 2007

Race and Politics -- Part II

For those of you just tuning in, I started to talk about race and politics in yesterday's post ("Race and Politics -- Part I"), and I left off with those provocative questions--especially whether, as Southern Dem believes, all Republicans are racist.

So how did we get on this topic? The upcoming caucus & primary of course. And most especially, who is more electable: Clinton or Obama. Part of me hates to even bring this up because it starts to feel like the game of ranking oppression--what is worse in this country right now, sexism or racism? But it does seem like it's the question that is out there, even if people aren't always phrasing it in such bald terms.

Southern Dem believes that Obama is not electable because of so many racist Republicans. He says we haven't seen the really bad racist stuff come out, yet, but that he's sure Karl Rove and Co. are already planning a nasty and underground negative and racist campaign against Obama playing off of everyone's fears of black men and combining it, in Obama's case, with his name (which conveniently rhymes with Osama) and his background (he lived in Indonesia for a time and did attend a Muslim school). Southern Dem did not seem overly worried about the rampant sexism in the Republican party--and perhaps more disturbing, the sheer vitriol directed at Hillary Clinton for just being Hillary Clinton. Southern Dem just really believes that as nasty as things may get for Clinton, it will be a game of dirty politics that will bring up stuff about Bill Clinton and his infidelity. And that while people may publicly acknowledge their hatred for Hillary based on gender, the simmering hatred of racism that people feel for Obama has gone undetected because it's underground and it will only take the sleeping giant of the racist Republican National Committee to awaken the masses of racist Republicans against Obama. In other words, we may not like Hillary Clinton, but she's still a white woman and still has a chance to be the President of the United States. But this country just isn't ready for an African American head of state.

And all I kept thinking about was the answer I gave to one gentleman who asked me this question when I was passing out "Obama for America" literature back in June (yes, that's right, I went campaigning for Obama, and I even blogged about it in "Walk for Barak," June 12, 2007). I was asked whether the country was ready to elect a black president. And I said that I had to believe that we were. That I have to believe in and envision the country I want rather than the country I suspect I have. That I didn't want to be naive about race, but that the country I want to live in and support is a country that will elect an African American for President of the United States. And if I can help make that happen, I will.

1 comment:

Dance said...

My current stance on Obama vs. Clinton is that there are more people who will drag themselves off their deathbeds to vote *against* Hillary Clinton, than they would to vote against a black man. That is, we'd see a high anti-Democratic turnout with Clinton, that Obama would not generate.

That doesn't take into account Democrats who may not be able to hold for Obama, for whatever reason.

It also doesn't take into account nasty Republican campaigning, which I had not thought of. I can't imagine, however, that the anti-Clinton campaigning would be any less nasty.

I do think there is less willingness to be overtly racist in the US than there used to be. That is, if the playing on racial fears is too overt, or exposed as such, then it may backfire. But my circles are limited.

In general, though, I've been mostly ignoring the politics until next year.