I spoke to my mother the other night, and she asked me the question that I dread to answer.
¨Hey, so who are you going to vote for?¨
I told her I was undecided. Actually, I am planning on writing in Jesse Ventura on my ballot, but to explain to her who Jesse Ventura is would be a lesson in futilty.
She said to me, and I know people will try to go as far as getting me off of Ground Report, ¨I have to vote for McCain because we can´t have ‘his type’ as president.¨ She should have done at that moment what she used to do to me when she wanted silence I was a kid-slap me. Ok, enough with the childhood regressions.
It was a shot in the gut in every aspect both personally as well as a member of this society. To me it was a shot in the gut personally because my best friend is ¨that type¨. I also bestowed the responsibility of him being my daughter´s godfather, not because I had to meet a quota or regulation- if there was someone outside of my family and my wife’s that I would place blind trust in to take care of her, it would be him.
It was double to hear it from her after seeing everything that my father went through as an immigrant. He had to deal with being the only mechanic exposed to the frigid Pennsylvania winter. He was the only mechanic out in the field while the others drank hot apple cider and ate doughnuts in the heated office. He had to crawl under tractors in sub-zero temperatures. He was in the right place- if he wanted to reduce ankle swelling. Very often he would come home on the edge of tears and frostbite, while his bosses refused to talk to him in English and demanded that everyone spoke Pennsylvania Dutch. My father coming from Colombia, of course that was his third language.
Hey, my wife was told off at her former job once by a customer for ¨speaking in Mexican¨. The customer dialed the wrong extension and she went into the Spanish Customer Service. I never knew that Mexican was a language.
I also overheard people in a local Starbucks talk about voting for McCain because we can´t have one of ¨those people¨ as president. As soon as they saw my head swivel in their direction, their faces turned red. They knew it was wrong.
All of these separate incidents glare which is the true issue behind this presidential election. It’s not experience, or judgment, or temperment. It´s not Iraq or the economy.
It´s race. I am not trying to come off as a rocket scientist or Sherlock Homes, it’s just that someone had to say it. Come on, why do they have to put one candidate through the wringer while there have been presidents that had less experience (and IQs) that were elected and the other goes scott free in his own personal dilemmas?
Let’s not kid ourselves, this is why MSNBC and Time magazine have him in a "Neo-like" light. On the other hand you have Fox News trying to break him down and Rush LImbaugh calling him a "Half-rican". These are exciting yet unprecedented times for social advancement in the US. At the same time some dark aspects of the American character have emerged as well. No pun intended. It’s the first election in which people aren’t voting for someone because of a grandfather, or a half-brother halfway around the world.
Some even think that Obama would be the first "foreign" president. If that’s the case, then Arnold Schwarzenegger should be earning the Republican ticket instead of John McCain. Hey, a Terminator will always kick a Maverick’s ass.
I thought America had evolved to where they will look at a man´s credentials not the color of his skin. There is no way to prove this, but I would have to steal a line from a former FCC commissioner when being asked about indecency.
" I can’t tell you what it is, but I know what it is when I see it."
Hey, maybe I don´t know what it is to be black in America, but I have a hell of a good idea. Hey maybe we need to talk a little more about it. So if you feel offended, I apologize. But I just get frustrated when I hear people make up reasons as to why someone is not fit for a position. It doesn’t happen in a presidential race, it goes on all the time, some people think that this only happened in the 60’s and before that.
Obama’s campaign to a degree is just a microcosm of what goes on in American society. Minorities, the individuals that truly deserve the merit (not the bad apples), are the ones that have to be more qualified than anyone else in order to get a nod. The term "overqualified" comes into play there. A resume has to say " Cured Cancer" in order to be looked at. Upside is not a side to be considered. Established professionals and aspiring college students feel that crunch.
Yes, race is a huge issue in an electoral campaign filled with minutiae. Race is the most unminute (if there is a word) of the minutiae. And regardless of who you vote for in November, just remember one thing to help you think it through a little better.
Obama is not the solution. McCain is part of the problem.