Sunday, May 27, 2012

Race In The Race

Frank Bruni writes, in this morning's New York Times, that race is still at the center of the American presidential contest:

Although race represents a less central dynamic for Obama now than it did in 2008, it’s a factor in his political fortunes nonetheless. It poisons some of his opponents, pumping them full of a toxic zeal beyond the partisan norm. How else to explain their obsession with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright or the lunatic persistence of the “birthers,” including the Arizona secretary of state, who didn’t drop his threat to keep Obama off the state ballot until Wednesday? Even as he quieted down, Donald Trump piped up, raising questions yet again about where Obama was born, though Trump’s motivations are surely less racist than narcissistic, even entrepreneurial. For him attention is attention and ratings are ratings, no matter how repulsively drummed up. 

Life would be so much easier for Americans if the race question would disappear. But it is part of America's DNA. Perhaps it will always be so. On the other hand, it is part of the theme of hope and change which Obama ran on in 2008:

 He still personifies the hope, to borrow a noun that he has used, that we really might evolve into the colorblind, fair-minded country that many of us want. His own saga taps into the larger story of this country’s fitful, unfinished progress toward its stated ideal of equal opportunity.

And that is the essential problem Mitt Romney faces. He personifies success. But he has not established an emotional connection with voters. Nobody questions Romney's success as a businessman, as a father or a husband. But Obama speaks to America's aspirations. Romney speaks to its bottom line.

This entry is cross posted at The Moderate Voice.


ck said...

I have a feeling that this presidential election will largely depend on who Mitt Romney's people select as a running mate for him. It will be his running mate who will either win or lose the election for Romney.

Owen Gray said...

I read, ck, that some of the talking heads suggest that Romney choose an Hispanic running mate. Republicans are not doing well among that group.

I suspect that Romney has a lock on the accountants' vote. But I'll bet the rest of the voting population has its doubts about the Man from Bain.

ck said...

There were 2 different rumours as to who would run alongside Romney: Florida tea-party senator, Marco Rubio or Condoleeza Rice. The latter could make things really interesting.

Owen Gray said...

Rice is a really interesting suggestion. She'd certainly help Romney much more than Sarah Palin helped McCain.

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

It is hard to believe that the race is 50/50 at this point, which I read recently. Who on earth, other than angry white men is Romney's constituency. Repulicans offend; women, hispanics, blacks, Muslims, Jews etc. One would expect Obama, evan with his less than stellar first term, should defeat Romney 3 to 1. Leaves one wondering.

I was one of those who thought, with the election of Obama, a racist page had been turned. He was the perfect "black" candidate. He was the perfect "house nigger" to use a historic expession. He was part white with very middle class values, He was well educated from a very classy university. His family had not slave roots. He tried hard to avoid any black agenda or even identify closely with the black community. Ironically, his lack of blackness was good enough for African Americans to support him but not as many white American as one might expect. Makes one wonder if a fully African American of the like of Jesse Jackson , a "field nigger" could have been elected then or any time in the future. Sadly, you are right racism is deep rooted in the US. The browning of America with fewer white children being born will see increasing racial tensions.

I have a lovely blogging friend in North Carolina who is kind and generous and loving of her family and friends. She seldom writes anything political so I was shocked when she called Obama, the anti-Christ. I have not idea what she meant and I was not going to open that can of worms with her.
Belonging to a denomination occasionally refered to as the anti-Christ I know some ideas behind this but the way she used it makes no sense to me at all.

Owen Gray said...

I went to graduate school at the University of North Carolina, Phillip. In those days, busing kids from one neighbourhood to another was in full swing.

One day I encounterd a guy who told me that, if I did a little Biblical research, I would discover that all Negroes had originally come from the Land of Nod -- the place where Cain was exiled after he killed Abel.

He then quoted the verse about God placing the mark of Cain on Cain's descendents. That mark, he said, was turning Cain's and his children's skins black.

So much of this stuff is completely irrational and beyond reason.

Anonymous said...

Owen Gray said...

Thanks for the link, Anon. It's all about bedside manner, isn't it -- not technological expertise?

And, as our mothers told us, it's all about how we treat people.