There is an alluring desire to support Barack Obama because of the color of his skin. Those of us raised in the South in the 60's and 70's remember the rapid change from casual, tacit acknowledgment that blacks were second-class citizens who ought to drink at other fountains and sleep in other hotels, to our national shame at realizing that our ideal of equality for all had been a sham.
When two candidates are equally qualified and able to carry out the duties of some position, Affirmative Action says we should choose the one from the most oppressed (or our least represented) group. The unspoken premise is that people must be seen as members of a group, and not merely as individuals. According to those who favor Affirmative Action, we must atone for the mistreatment of some people in the past by advancing the circumstances of others who happen to look like those we've mistreated.
Similarly, Barack Obama repeatedly makes the same argument. In order to heal the racial divisions among us, we must support him for President. Only by electing a black person may this healing take place. The Democratic Party has chosen him for this, despite fewer Democrats actually voting for him than voted for his primary opponent, Hillary Clinton.
That this argument is the exact antithesis of the desire expressed by Martin Luther King Jr should have need explanation. But apparently it does. For Dr. King said he had a Dream.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
So how can we claim to fulfill the Dream by choosing the candidate based on the color of his skin?
Perhaps it is not so. Perhaps he was chosen based on the minuscule differences between the candidates. Yet once his affiliations and the content of his character became widely known, the primary vote totals broke down on pure demographic lines.
And this was not because people became more racist; rather, the character of the candidate became more widely known. And as it was known, it was disliked.
Now to heal the Party it appears that Hillary Clinton will be sought for Obama's running mate. The symbolism of a white woman playing second fiddle to a black man will be infuriating to feminists; Obama supporters will be unhappy at not being rid of the Clintons, especially after Hillary's mention of Robert Kennedy's assassination.
And Republicans, with their party in tatters, should rejoice. Because the combined negatives of these two on the same ticket is indeed like a dream come true -- for John McCain.
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