This election, unlike any other, has electrified the African American voter—so often before complacent with such matters—and pushed many into the deep end of the political pool. However, with all of excitement elicited by Barack Obama’s candidacy, the African American voter owes it to himself or herself to step back and examine the situation more closely.
For those who say “It’s time we had a Black president”, please do not vote! Your bitterness and resentment over years of minoritization is no excuse for blindly electing a man who is barely qualified to be a mayor or a governor.
For those who say “I’m going to vote for one of my own”, that’s what you will do no matter which man you vote for. At the heart of the matter, you are an American—just like the candidates. Place of birth aside, it is widely accepted that Obama and McCain share your nationality.
For those who say “I never thought I’d live to see a Black president”, I caution you to not hastily jump at this chance just to say you experienced something. After all, what will it truly matter in your life? As an experiment, try to imagine this country under “President Jackson” or “President Keyes” or even “President Sharpton”. I cannot!
Having an African American president is not the end-all, be-all, that many Blacks in this country might think. There will be no racial validation just because one man ascends to this office.
A “friend” of mine sends me endless emails about why Barack should be president. In many of them, I see bits of resentment and bigotry. I am actually saddened by the African American groundswell of sentiment which says, in essence, “It’s our turn now”.
My father—estranged for other reasons—will most assuredly vote for Barack for the following reasons:
1. Barack is Black.
2. Barack is a Democrat.
3. My father wants to vote for a man that looks like him.
Being Black is not a qualification to be president. Being a particular party member is not a qualification either. And thank goodness, the president has no genetic or other responsibility to resemble me or my father.
If you want to vote for Barack Obama, do so because you believe he is the best candidate—not because of his race. Affirmative Action does not apply to the White House.
On the other hand, I will not vote for John McCain simply because he is a Republican—as am I. My vote will go to John McCain because I believe he has the experience as a senator of 20+ years to lead this country. While not the best choice either, Senator McCain is the better choice over a junior senator with very little real experience.
My preference would have been for Mike Huckabee, but this country just wasn’t ready for that type of leadership—and may never be ready for it.
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