Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Vote for this man.

You will thank me later.

America lost its way during the past eight years.
It has to stop.

I just heard that Madelyn Dunham's advance ballot was certified on October 27 in Hawaii; so she gets to vote for her grandson after all. What a touching, bittersweet ending to that story.


Steve Salerno said...

Just got back from my local polling place. Right outside the front door to the polls was a woman holding a very large (very well-prepared) sign that read:


And she's standing there, holding this sign and smiling at people as they wait on line to enter the building. Apparently this is legal, as the law in Pennsylvania--in contrast to most states--says you need only be "10 feet" from the polls in order to hold such political demonstrations.

Steve Salerno said...

Here, by the way, are some of Palin's ardent supporters in Ohio:


Cosmic Connie said...

And speaking of political demonstrations, one of our local (Houston) Republican luminaries -- Harris County commissioner Steve Radack -- has been standing on the streets passing out toilet plungers and McCain/Palin signs to passing drivers in an effort to rally the conservatives. A local TV news snippet showed several drivers smilingly accepting both plunger and sign. The plunger pusher was encouraging them to "take those plungers in with them when they vote." But...oops...in this neck of the woods, it's illegal to take anything that is an obvious attempt to influence votes into the polling places.

Way to go, Commissioner Radack -- encourage voters to break the law!

Here's a link to a post on one of the blogs for Houston's "alternative" weekly newspaper:

Cosmic Connie said...

And by the way, did you see "The View" today? Dennis Hopper was on; he has already voted, and the ladies asked him point-blank who got his vote. Hopper replied that even though he had voted Repub since Reagan, McCain's choice of Sarah Palin was what put him over the edge and made him choose Obama.

He was no doubt also influenced by the fact that (1) his wife is an ardent Obama supporter, and (2) Obama took the time to come up to him at a busy political rally and express sympathy for Hopper's recent loss of his mother. Apparently Hopper has also been guided over the years by something Thomas Jefferson once said about not letting one party stay in power for more than 20 years.

But I thought it noteworthy that the REAL impetus for him this time around was the prospect of a Sarah Palin presidency.

Steve Salerno said...

Connie: As it happens I did see The View, or at least the opening "hot topics" segment, which I never miss. And boy (or girl?), Elizabeth Hasselback is going to argue this right down to the bitter end, isn't she? In fact it wouldn't surprise me to see her at a polling place later today carrying a sign not unlike the one I encountered this morning, or maybe one that says SARAH PALIN IS THE FEMALE MESSIAH, or some such.

Did you ever notice that the real diehard conservatives (a la Hasselback) tend to be lifelong creatures of privilege, i.e., people who've always lived fairly charmed lives? That doesn't mean (logically) that all privileged people are conservatives; look at the Kennedy clan, e.g., as well as Kerry and many other top Dems (including billionaire activist George Soros, for that matter). But you wonder sometimes: If Eliz Hasselback had to learn "how the other half lives" for a while, would she still be singing that same overbearing, Darwinistic, just-stop-whining-and-pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps tune?

Elizabeth said...

Palin-Hasselback '12!

Steve Salerno said...

I want Obama to win. Almost desperately so. But you know, it still bothers me that...well, I'll give you an example. Just heard a report on CNN about long lines in minority neighborhoods. The reporter quoted one of the people waiting on line in explaining the celebratory mood over the fact that "blacks finally have a chance to vote for one of their own!" I'm sorry, folks--I know we've been through this time and again--but that's racism. Outright inexcusable racism. And if the media report it with celebratory overtones, as the CNN reporter did, then it's institutional racism.

If Barack Obama goes down in defeat tonight--and it's demonstrated that his defeat was caused by large numbers of whites voting against him--there will be headlines tomorrow along the lines of, "White racism turns the tide against Obama."

If he gets 9 out of 10 black votes--and it turns out that's the difference in the election--will the headlines (in MSM) say, "Obama wins on the strength of black racism"? Not one chance in a million.

Anonymous said...

"If he gets 9 out of 10 black votes--and it turns out that's the difference in the election--will the headlines (in MSM) say, 'Obama wins on the strength of black racism'? Not one chance in a million."

I would not want to be the black person who admits notvoting for Obama in this climate.

Elizabeth said...

but that's racism.

And how do you know this, Steve? How do you know that these voters, first, all vote for Obama, and, second, do it because of his race and not his stance on issues important to them?

Steve Salerno said...

Eliz: Because lots of them say so. The one on CNN specifically said it was exciting to "be able to vote for one of our own." That's racism.

Another black woman talked about the legacy of slavery dating back to 1619, and Obama's candidacy symbolizing a black coming-of-age, and how delighted she was to be a part of that. That's racism.

A black professor of political science talked about the intuition on the part of many blacks that Obama will be "sensitive to our issues." That's racism.

I could go on and on.

Anonymous said...

Steve this is nothing new. Remember all the women voters who said pretty much the same thing about Hillary Clinton? Voting for Hillary, because she would be the first woman president? That's why McCain thought Palin was such a great idea. Same thing with Obama and being black.

Steve Salerno said...

Anon 6:27: Yes, and it bugs me no end. I can't even imagine voting for someone "because he's a white man," let alone admitting it to a reporter and expecting that reporter to join me in my exultation! For the life of me, I don't understand why "that other side of racism" wasn't more of a story in the current campaign season.

Then again--as has been said many times right here on this blog--it's easy for me to say that, I guess, given the white man's privileged status in American history.

Elizabeth said...

Steve, racism does not apply here, IMO.

Racism is based on a belief that one race is inferior to another and, because of that "inferiority," disenfranchised and persecuted. Racism also implies a power differential based on this belief -- i.e. the privileged race holding power over the discriminated, powerless one.

At no time in the American history (or the world history, for that matter), white folks were considered an inferior race. At no point they were discriminated against based on their (white) race (Limbaugh&Co.'s affirmative action horror stories aside). And at no point blacks have yielded the requisite power to discriminate against the white folks and deny them their rights.

To say now that blacks voting for a black man -- the first black president in the history of this nation -- is racist, is a misapplication of this term, in my opinion. And Obama's presidency, as the first black man elected to this office (should it come to pass), is indeed a big deal. *A huge deal.* For blacks, for whites, for the US -- and for the whole world, for that matter. So a bit of elation and grandiose feeling here and there (as expressed by the woman you quote in your post) is totally justified, IMO. It is an undeniably momentous occasion, apart even from any other considerations relevant in this election.

So while this may not be perhaps, in some cases, the most rational choice (for some black voters), it is no racism, as I see it. For one, how does it discriminate against the white folk -- i.e. how does this choice, by many blacks, to vote for Obama, infringe on the rights of whites? (Well, it doesn't.)

IMO, one may use other adjectives to describe it, but racist it is not.

Cosmic Connie said...

I'm watching the election projections...and way to go, Pennsylvania! If only Texas would follow suit...

Steve Salerno said...

Connie, yes I made sure of an Obama win here. Rigged the machines myself. (Maybe I shouldn't even joke about that.)

Eliz: I give you, again, the second dictionary definition of "prejudice" (and I think we all agree that prejudice is the basis of racism): "any preconceived opinion or feeling, either favorable or unfavorable."

To me, it represents a cynically clever and disingenuous parsing of language to condone a belief system wherein giving someone a preference based on race is somehow less objectionable than discriminating against someone because of race. After all, if you're saying that a black candidate is superior in your eyes--because of his blackness--then you are also saying that the white candidate is inferior, to you. Is that not true?

Cosmic Connie said...

As the song goes, "Democracy is coming to the USA!"


Steve Salerno said...

Yeah, no thanks to you Texans! ;)

Seriously, what a stirring night. Now if only the man can live up to the magic.

Elizabeth said...

Like, awesome! :) (To quote one young man I know.)

Barack Hussein Obama, oh my. Oh my... Did not expect it, though certainly hoped for it. Now I can exhale, for a moment at least.

And will try to answer your question (about racism), Steve, tomorrow.

P.S. The weather in Chicago tonight was perfect. I have not seen such balmy early November in my 20+ years in the Chicagoland. That Obama dude must have some serious connections... ;)

P.S.2. Confidential to Steve: man, you have a talent for the idealist brand of pessimism. Sometimes you are your own worst enemy, no? ;)

C'mon, don't go into the "now if only the man can live up to the magic" here. Of course he won't live up to the magic -- nobody ever does (and the greater the magic -- i.e. our own unrealistic expectations -- the more painful disappointment when reality hits). So let's not create magic here -- the man is only human, very much imperfect, and will screw up more than once, I can promise you that (especially in his impossible job). And, to think of it, he also has promised us that, a couple of times at least, in his speeches. :)

But even his screw-ups will be an improvement over what we have seen in the past eight years. So let's set the "magic" expectations aside and acknowledge the pile of crap ahead of us (courtesy of Bush&Co.) that no magic would conquer soon, much less a fallible human. (But what an improvement he is, that Barack Hussein Obama.)

Dimension Skipper said...

Today's xkcd

Elizabeth said...

To me, it represents a cynically clever and disingenuous parsing of language to condone a belief system wherein giving someone a preference based on race is somehow less objectionable than discriminating against someone because of race. After all, if you're saying that a black candidate is superior in your eyes--because of his blackness--then you are also saying that the white candidate is inferior, to you. Is that not true?

Well... no, Steve. Not exactly, that is. Not inferior, but not preferable at this time in this situation (I know), if you must get my specific answer. We all make our decisions based on preferences that always go beyond purely logical and dispassionate judgment -- which, btw, does not exist in the human reality.

But my reasoning here goes further than that.

First of all, I sincerely doubt anyone voted for Obama *only* because of his race. I think you need to give (black) Americans more credit than that (and I can't believe I'm even saying this...) People may have expressed their enthusiasm for his race when interviewed -- because indeed it is *such a big deal* (yeah!) -- but I don't think that was THE reason, the only reason, why they marked his name on the ballots.

Second, yes, "logically," "technically," one could call it racism -- but one would be wrong. (That's what happens when logic does not work together with one's heart, IMO.)

Let me give you a (very imperfect) analogy: let's say we have a father who abuses his child day in and out, for years. One day, when the child gets older, he stands up to defend himself from his father's blows, in the process beating the father up. You could say -- and would say -- that both situations are instances of domestic abuse. Both are/involve violence.
And, "technically," "logically," you'd be right.

But there is no equivalence, moral and emotional -- and even intellectual -- between these acts. One is a persistent, continuous abuse of a powerless individual (child) by his powerful guardian, and the other an act of standing up for oneself, even though equally violent perhaps. Call it "redistribution of justice," of sorts.

This (very imperfect, esp. when applied to presidential race) analogy illustrates, IMO, the difference between racism (i.e. discrimination of blacks by whites) and what you call "reverse racism," or "black racism" in this country, or whatever the term may be. It's just not the same, no matter how you slice it -- and drawing equivalence between these phenomena is misguided, the way I see it.

But somehow I think you'll disagree...

Steve Salerno said...

Nah, Eliz. Not today. :)

Elizabeth said...