With the win of Barack Obama a great number of the people across this country (the media in particular) are patting themselves on the back and cheering at just how far we have come as a nation. By electing a black man to the presidency, we have somehow proven that we aren’t racists. Well, I am not cheering.
What are the substantive differences between President Elect Obama and previous politicians that have been elected to the most powerful office in this country? Barack Obama is a rich elitist with an Ivy League education. He began his political career in big city politics, while associating with some less than reputable characters. He came to office with political baggage that was born out of his tendency to put political convenience before principle. How does any of this make him different from other politicians? The truth is, it doesn’t. The only substantive difference between Barack Obama and other men who sought the office of the presidency, is the hue of his skin. What does it say about people when they consider a genetic trait, over which we have no control, to be the most significant quality in the President Elect?
If racism was truly behind us, there wouldn’t be people like Chris Mathews patting themselves on the back (and leg) for electing a black man to the presidency. If we had truly evolved, they would treat him like any other politician and see beyond his race. Sadly, that’s not the case. Those who consider this such a significant event, based solely on the hue of President Elect Obama’s skin, have demonstrated just how far we haven’t come.
The day we can move beyond identity politics will be a day to celebrate. The day when people are judged by the content of their character, rather than the color of their skin, will be a great day in this nations history. Sadly, November 5th was not that day.