Ooh, that's a provocative title, huh? :)
I had a discussion with a dear friend the other day that was very upsetting to me. It was suggested to me that anyone not voting for Barack Obama is racist. Now, you all know that in this venue, I strive to be non-partisan, and I have absolutely NO interest in having political debates on my blog (or in my life, honestly). But, regardless of whom I am voting for, I have trouble with this particular stance.
First of all, I believe it is dismissive of Obama's many achievements and accomplishments to say this. Whether or not you are voting for him, he is an amazing man. Regardless of his race, he rose from very humble beginnings, attended Columbia and Harvard, was elected to several local offices, is now a US Senator, and one of TWO people who will become President of the US. Not exactly your average guy, regardless of race, color, gender, etc. And he didn't get where he is by playing the race card, either.
Secondly, I believe it is inherently racist to vote for ANYONE simply because of his or her race. That being said, it is also racist NOT to vote for anyone simply because of his or her race. Racism is NOT limited to people of color. It is racist to vote or not vote for anyone if their skin color (even if that skin is white) is the only reason you are doing so.
Thirdly, I believe Barack Obama would be sickened if he heard my friend say everyone who doesn't vote for him is racist. I do not believe he wants votes simply because he is black. He just doesn't strike me as an entitlement kind of dude. I will bet you a gazillion dollars that if Barack Obama does NOT win the Presidential election, he will NOT be the one to play the race card. Accusing Americans of electing John McCain instead of Barack Obama because Americans are racist is simply wrong. I am certain, if he is not elected, that the Al Sharptons and Jessie Jacksons of this world will certainly play that race card, and play it loudly, but I absolutely believe it will be wrong and I believe Barack Obama will be opposed to its being played on his behalf. It also demeans John McCain and the amazing things he has done with his life. If I vote for John McCain, it will be because he deserves it, not cause he looks like me.
Fourthly, I am not so naive to think that there is no one who will vote in a racist manner. I realize that there are people who dismiss Barack Obama simply due to his race. I hope and pray that those people are in the scary redneck minority and mostly will be too drunk to vote anyway.
So, there, I've gotten political. I am not sure if you can tell my political leanings from this posting. I hope not, but honestly, I don't think it matters. Whether I vote for Barack Obama or John McCain, I support both of their right to run for this high office. And while I cannot truthfully say I am 100% non-racist (not sure anyone can say that), I can 100% truthfully say that the person I am voting for is neither black nor white. He is an American. He is an amazing man. He has accomplished a lot. He has overcome a lot. He has policies I agree with. He is the better candidate, in my never-to-be-humble opinion. And I believe he will do his very best with this country he is entrusted with. If you are voting because of ANY color, I think you should reconsider and get the facts before November 4.