Friday, November 07, 2008

We Only Have Ourselves to Blame

I have thought about this post for a couple of days, not really sure I want to go there, but then again, feeling like this needs to be said.

My very republican brother sent me this little Howard Stern mp3 about black voters in Harlem. I was going to post it on here, but I personally am not a fan of Howard and would rather not. If you want to listen to it, you can certainly find it in many varieties on YouTube. It's slightly humorous - we have to have a sense of humor, slightly infuriating, but most of all it's embarrassing. Why? Because I had to stop myself from falling into the same old pattern I've been conditioned to believe growing up a white kid in Connecticut next to a very black populated Bridgeport. Am I a racist? As much as I don't want to be, I would have to say that I probably am. Not because I hate anyone, but because my mind reverts to an extremely distorted, ill-informed fear of anything different.

This little snippet from Howard is supposed to prove to us that "most" blacks voted for Obama only because he's black. Sadly, those who participated clearly knew nothing about what Obama stood for other than that he was one of them. They could identify with him, and that is why they were choosing to vote for him. Is this wrong?

Herein lies the tricky part. I would love to believe that every American has had the opportunity to form opinions about the way they believe government should operate in order to make informed decisions about the people they choose to govern them. I understand we won't all agree and I honestly have no argument with those who feel differently than I do for various reasons. I have spent the better part of this election season, however, trying to teach my children that race or age or gender are not reasons why we should be voting for someone. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I made a mistake! If it is, I would have to admit that just because I was excited that McCain chose a women I could relate to, that wasn't enough reason for me to vote for him. I think that identifying with a candidate is a bigger deal than I thought it should be - a huge error on my part.

I would love for Howard Stern to send his croonies out to a red state and try his same experiment on some white folks in reverse. I'd be willing to bet that JUST AS MANY made their decision for McCain based on the fact that he was white, or unfortunately, that he was not black. That, to me, is a much sadder statement of our bigotry, our history and the severe gap in our country in terms of where we need make changes. The world is changing and if we continue to act like we are not all Americans - red, yellow, black and white - entitled to all the same freedoms, the same dreams, the same opportunities and the same positions, then we have a very long way to go.

Listening to that interview really saddened me because I think we have failed miserably. For as many leaps as we've made in healing the racial divide, we must still recognize our biases for what they are: wrong. I don't believe that Mr. Obama wanted to president to prove that our country could put a black man in the White House, but I am glad he did just that. For the sake of our country and for all the "minority" citizens, I pray that God blesses him in his endeavor. While I can't say that I agree with him ideologically, I can say that I am excited to welcome a new culture into government - and one that is in need of representation. For those who think that Obama was only elected because he was black (which couldn't be farther from the truth), I think you only have yourself to blame for that belief. If there is any truth at all in that statement, then we are much better for it.


Randy and Terry said...

Oh, Deanna, I couldn't agree with you more. While I did not vote for Obama because of my differing views, when it was announced that he had won, I still had a moment of pride in our country. And when he came out to acknowledge his victory, I got a little weepy - even more so when his family joined him on the dais. To see this beautiful, young family standing in a place where many thought they would never (or could never) stand brought me to tears. I will also pray that God will bless his leadership of our country and that he will seek God's guidance in his leadership. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Kathryn said...

While I don't agree with some of Obama's ideologies and methods, I agree that it's high time for some diversity in the presidency. It's such a poignant moment in our history.

As well, I look forward to the day when we have a female president. When we have qualified individuals voted in who previously have not been represented in office...I think it speaks to our civility as a nation, our progress, and ultimately, to our faith as a people.