As I watched the inflammatory attack ads, debates and slanted media coverage for both presidential candidates, I had to talk myself out of thinking thoughts of what could possibly be a contributing factor for the extreme negativity in this particular campaign. It doesn’t matter what candidate I will cast my vote for, although I’m sure that there are those that have already made the assumption that it will be for our current president. What those people don’t know is the reason why; and I’m sure that they really don’t care because they may have surmised that it is because the president is black. I assure you that there is more to the content of my character than casting my vote on the basis of race.
But simply because I did my homework and base my decision in what I deem as the facts doesn’t mean that there aren’t those that will cast their vote based on race. I know that there are people within our respective communities that believe that President Obama is the best man for the job; not because of his accomplishments (or lack thereof) but because he is our first black president and should therefore remain in office. And by the same token, there are people that will vote for Mitt Romney, not because they believe that he is the best man for the job, but because he is white…and that somehow translates in their minds that a white man could run this country better than a black man ever could.
It’s sad that when you look back at the history of this country and remember that race relations has been challenged repeatedly over time; where people have oppressed and been oppressed for something as simple as the color of one’s skin. I thought that maybe we may have made better headway than this. But as I watch the news, I realize that there are many people that still believe that their race, (black and white alike) is superior.
When I listen to certain representatives of the Republican Party, I heard that they were extremely passionate about ending President Obama’s presidency. Initially, I thought that the majority of it was because they vehemently opposed the spending that they believe was out of control. I also understood that when the Republican Party gained the House, everything that our president tried to do had been stonewalled because they didn’t believe that he was capable of making a good, sound cognizant decision that would benefit the people of this nation.
I listened as accusations were hurled at the president accusing him of being divisive. And it bothered me greatly because it appeared as if the Republican Party were just as guilty of doing the very thing that they accused the president of doing.
When I listened to Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell’s chief of staff at the State Department during the Bush Administration criticize the Republican Party for being ‘full of racists’, I wasn’t completely surprised. I knew that someone would eventually say it as it came closer to voting time. I also knew that people will go to the polls and cast their vote for Obama for no other reason than the fact that he is black, just like people will vote for Romney because he is white. Being qualified to hold the title of Commander and Chief is secondary.
“My party, unfortunately, is the bastion of those people — not all of them, but most of them — who are still basing their positions on race. Let me just be candid: My party is full of racists, and the real reason a considerable portion of my party wants President Obama out of the White House has nothing to do with the content of his character, nothing to do with his competence as commander-in-chief and president, and everything to do with the color of his skin, and that’s despicable.”
Col. Lawrence Wilkerson
I didn’t want to believe that this race could be based on something as simplistic as race. But then again, if a camera pans behind both candidates, you can see the demographics of who is going to back whom.
The good news is not all of those people are voting on account of race. Some people are voting because they believe that their candidate is the best person for the job. But as I sit in the comfort of my office and reflect on how far we have come as a nation regarding race, a part of me can’t help but wonder how much farther we have to go.