Obama wrong for playing race card

By Jordan Harp

This election is, without a doubt, among the biggest in our nation’s history. No matter who wins, history will be made, and white guys’ 232-year hold on the two highest political offices in the land will come to an end. A woman nominated for vice president on one ticket, and even more importantly, a black man nominated for president on the other.

Unfortunately, some people cannot get past race, and, oddly enough, for the most part they are Obama supporters.

Until the recent fiasco on Wall Street, John McCain had been, according to most polls, tied with Obama and even ahead in some. This has led to Obama supporters scratching their heads. How could their candidate, infinitely cooler, exquisitely eloquent, and more hope-filled and change-capable, be losing to John McCain, two hundred years old and Republican? The answer? Racism, of course.

It’s so obvious, right? We have a president with approval ratings around thirty percent, an unpopular war, and now on top of all that the beginning of the next Great Depression. When you add to that the wunderkind candidate that the Democrats’ have, the fact that they could be tied simply defies logic.

Jack Cafferty, CNN’s bowl of sunshine, said recently, “Race is arguably the biggest issue in this election, and it’s one that nobody’s talking about.” I guess Kathleen Sebelius, governor of Kansas, and David Paterson, governor of New York, are nobodies. Responding to a question on why the election is so close, Gov. Sebelius responded it is because he is black. Gov. Paterson said that the frequent use of the words ‘community organizer’ by speakers at the Republican convention were actually code for black.

Other Obama supporters have made similar statements concerning his race. A couple of weeks ago, while McCain and Palin were campaigning in Ohio, two state legislators said that the only reason independent voters would not vote for Obama is because they are racist.

I am no political strategist, but implying or outright stating that people who don’t vote for Obama are racists may not be the best way to win over voters.

Obama has not been completely innocent of this either. He has issued statements saying the McCain campaign will use racist appeals such as “He’s young and inexperienced and he’s got a funny name. And did I mention he’s black?” At a fundraiser in June, and at a rally in July he said, “You know, he doesn’t look like those other presidents on the dollar bills.”

A lot of people like to say that an Obama win would signal that this country has moved past its dark, racist past and would signal a new, post-racial world. That may or may not be the case, but it seems that for the time being we certainly haven’t, as those who are trying to get Obama elected are the ones who can’t seem to accept the fact that Obama might be struggling for reasons other than his race. They are the ones who can’t see past the fact he is black.

Jacob Weisberg, an editor of Slate magazine, wrote in recent column that if Obama winning meant America overcoming its history of racism, then the opposite would also be true. It would prove that America is still mostly racist and “couldn’t put its own self-interest ahead of its crazy irrationality over race.” The appalling logic aside, it just seems to prove the point over who is irrational over race. Other news outlets, such as the New York Times, Washington Post, and Time, have ran columns by people expressing similar sentiments. The only way Obama could lose is because of racism, and if he does lose, it just proves that America is racist.

Without a doubt there are people who won’t vote for Obama because of his race, and unfortunately there isn’t much you can do about them. Yet at the same time there are also people who will vote for him precisely because of his race. He enjoys near unanimous support among blacks, more so than any other Democratic candidate, and there are also people who are excited about helping make history by voting for him.

Invoking race into this race are dirty and divisive tactics, and not the kind you would expect from supporters of the candidate of “hope” and “change.”

Jordan is a junior in MCB and thinks McCain is a little too in love with his “maverickness.”