Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Voting for a Black President

Now that the math is almost entirely conclusive it is starting to hit me. I am going to have the chance to vote for a Black person to be the President of the United States.


And there's a really good chance that he's going to win.

Double wow.

But before I talk about that, a friend asked me why I supported Senator Obama. She's a black woman, (I'm not gonna guess age, but let's just say she looks younger than me), and an Obama supporter. She too has been offended by the way Hillary has used race in this election.

So I told her that as a bi-racial guy born in the 60's raised by a single white mom (after my parents split when I was 10) who valued education and books over most everything else, voting for Obama felt like voting for myself. My friend was surprised, it seemed that she thought I would mention specific policy issues, leadership or any other non-racial things.

But I didn't.

It's not that those things don't matter. Of course they do. Those things are a given. If Alan Keyes shared my specific demographics, I'd wouldn't vote for him. Hell, if he were my identical twin I wouldn't vote for him to be dog catcher. In fact, there are a great deal of black politicians that I don't support or wouldn't vote for. And that's because their positions on issues differ from mine, or their behavior as public officials has caused me to question their judgment, or because the non-black person running against em was a better match for my political views.

But Obama gives voice to most of the political positions that I hold dear. He explains my positions better than I do. He inspires me to action in a way that no other elected official ever has. And his very candidacy is forcing people - black, white, latino, asian and everything else - to evaluate their biases like nothing else can.

So no, I don't just support him because he's black. That would be idiotic. But I do support him with greater fervor than I would an identical (which isn't possible by the way) white politician.

And that's OK. That's to be expected.

Supporting someone who is like you is not the same as being against someone who is not like you. Loving your family members is not the same as hating the people not related to you.

And in November I'm going to get a chance to vote for a black man to be President of the United States of America. I still can't believe it.

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