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Friday, September 12, 2008


HAHA! Gotcha!! My nephew Ryan and I are currently engaged in a fabulous political “conversation”. I do not call it a debate, because I am ill-qualified to argue many of the points he raises. What makes it so interesting is that, if you are into applying labels to people, he would be the liberal, and I the conservative. Ryan is an exceptionally gifted writer (yes, Aunt Cathy is allowed a certain bias here!), and has a way of intriguing me to learn more about politics and social issues, to become better able to articulate my own thoughts, and to examine those policies with which I disagree, as well as those with which I agree. If you’re interested, you can follow our “conversations” here and here. And, following the format of the post originated on his site, I’d like to offer:

The Number One Reason Not To Vote For Obama:

Because he is black. Okay, now… before you call Jesse and Al, hear me out on this one. (I am laughing because anyone who read those words is probably in need of the Heimlich maneuver about now.) You may recall from an earlier post I related that at the tender age of barely 18 (by a three-week margin), I cast my very first vote for President in 1976. It just so happened that a Georgia peanut farmer was the Democratic candidate. Now I’m a native-born, peanut-lovin’ southern girl through and through. Of course I voted for Jimmy. What was the rationale behind my vote? Well, he was a good ol’ boy from Georgia, of course!! Why would I vote for a yankee Republican, when I could vote for a home boy? Well, now that rationale makes no sense at all to me. It’s kind of like watching Dancing With The Stars. The very first season, first few episodes, it was fairly obvious that Kelly Monaco wasn’t a Dancin’ Queen. However… she was one of the leading stars, at the time, of the soap opera General Hospital. I daresay, without her huge following of fans, who loved her General Hospital character, she would have left the show within the first several weeks. But are we all not guilty sometimes of rooting for that person with whom we identify the most, regardless of their talent, their expertise, their knowledge and/or experience? A year or so after each season, who can remember who won Dancing? (Even though I rarely missed an episode, and loved Kelly as “Sam” on General Hospital, before writing this post, I couldn’t remember her real name and had to look it up!) Who can remember the details of the bridal gown, or the reception menu at a wedding you attended two years ago? Can you recall the name of Miss USA from three years ago? From last year? Nah, probably not. Where am I going with this? I am concerned that many black people, so excited to have a black candidate, will vote en masse, simply to put a black man in the White House. Because They Can. I’d venture to predict that the black turnout will be far greater this year than ever before. Let me be perfectly clear. I have no problem with a black President. There are two black Republicans for whom I’d be far more excited about than I am about John McCain. The color of his skin is not an issue with me…. Except for how it will be an issue for previously uninterested, uninformed black voters who will make it an issue. White people are accused of racism on a daily basis, sometimes merited, sometimes not. Will not these black voters to which I refer be executing their own form of racism? I will firmly state that I respect the vote of every citizen who does even a slight bit of research, who at least watches the news or reads the newspaper. Black America- exercise your right to vote, and vote for the candidate of your choice. But please do not vote for Barak Obama simply because he is black. You may be surprised to learn that some of his liberal policies are not in your best interest. Support him if you understand what you are doing. I have no problem with that. Just know that, unlike the (forgotten) lovely wedding gown or the (forgotten) winner of the Miss USA contest, four or even eight years from now, our vote will STILL matter (if it ever truly matters in the first place), and we will not forget for whom we voted.

By the same token- to you southern-born “good ol’ boys”, I implore you not to vote for McCain with the sole purpose of defeating a black man. Do your homework. The mentality that you don’t want a black man for President is the mentality that could one day elect a Hitler, or worse. A few of you might even find you agree more with Obama than with McCain- though I suspect you will have difficulty seeing beyond his race enough to fairly examine his platform. I voted for Jimmy because he was from Georgia. I will have to excuse that to immaturity. 1980 found me a bit more cautious with my #2 black pencil when I entered the booth and found I could no longer vote for the good ol' Georgia boy, no matter how much I love peanuts. So, my mantra for this election continues to be: Get off your keesters, do some reading, watch the news, watch the debates, and then vote for whomever you agree with the most (or disagree with the least!) Remember, though, that voting for Obama because he is black makes about as much sense as my voting for Jimmy in '76, or women voting for Hillary just because she is a woman, or Baptists voting for Mike Huckabee simply because he is a former Baptist minister. These are indeed tough days in which we live, and I think we all agree that change is long overdue. Okay, I promise to take a break from all things political for the next few days and find something else to talk about. :-) Happy Friday!!


  1. I remember early on in the Primary season Black voters were hesitant about Obama and were favoring Clinton's campaign (African-Americans saw the single greatest move from poverty to wealth during the Clinton years) because of the familiar feelings. It wasn't until Obama won Iowa (and Clinton did not win Iowa) that the community started looking at the other candidate (Bill's comparison of the Obama campaign to Jesse Jackson's Primary win in SC a few weeks later was probably the straw that broke the camel's back, so to speak).

    Clinton carried 83% and 84% of the black vote in '92 and '96 respectively, while Gore carried an even higher percentage than his former boss in 2000.

    African-Americans tend to vote Democrat, so I doubt the percentages will be drastically different (probably around 90% this year) than in previous years, but the overall turnout might be substantially greater. I imagine, however, that there will be an even greater number of people who vote McCain simply because a black candidate is running. I've heard quite a few disparaging remarks from members of my own family regarding the race issue and its affect on their vote (granted, nine out of 10 of those people would vote McCain regardless, this is just something else for them to gripe over).

    What about policy though? Shouldn't any discussion be based on policy rather than race?

  2. I absolutely agree. It should be based on policy and not race. That is why I want to encourage everyone to vote their choice, AFTER doing a little bit of homework on policies. And not on race. :-) (To the previously non-voting black people I say) Don't vote for him because he is black. Vote for him because you support his platform. His race shouldn't be the sole reason anyone votes for him or against him... but it will, in both respects. See you soon!

  3. At this point, and the point I was trying to make, African Americans are going to vote Democrat regardless - they're a lock for the party. If Edwards or Clinton or even Biden had won the primaries, anyone would have carried about the same percentage with the demographic.

    I'm calling you out on this one.

  4. Well, okay, I guess I'm "out" on this one. :-) I didn't know that the AA community was traditionally democratic. The percentage of black voters to vote Dem may be the same (I think you said 90%ish), but I STILL maintain that the number of first-time black voters will be higher- simply because he is black, not because he is a Democrat. But the same holds true for first-time "good old boy" voters who will vote McCain, not because he is Republican, but because Obama is black. I am not sure we are even disagreeing on this issue- looks like we're saying the same thing to me. :-) I just wish it wasn't that way. But if nothing else, maybe this will get some folks interested enough to watch the news or read the paper.

  5. I'd imagine that first-time black voters are going to judge their perception of the Republican party largely on the last eight years.

    I can't say I'd be too thrilled to vote Republican if I were black after Katrina, social program cuts, predatory mortgage practices, Jena Six or any number of issues that have affected the black community over the last few years.

  6. I agree with you. I just wonder if they (the first-time voters) would vote at all if the democratic candidate had been Hillary or Biden or Edwards. All I am saying in this post is I hate it that first-time voters will likely be racially motivated to vote. This includes those who will vote for barak and those who will (for all intents and purposes) vote against him.

    Watch your mail for the cutest birthday party invitation ever!!!