I am a Democrat.
I am voting for Barack Obama and Joe Biden in November.
I am voting for them for one simple reason: they give me hope.
I am not voting for them because one is black and the other is not.
My vote is not about the color of skin. It is not about religious affiliation. It is not about sexual orientation. It is not about socio-economic status. It is not about any of the demographic markers that are repeatedly bandied about as somehow meaningful and important in people's decision-making processes.
My vote is about ensuring we break the cycle of destruction and indifference that has placed its stranglehold on the country I love and is threatening to leave us the weakest of nations and in the dark.
My vote is about selecting the two people I believe will do the best job of restoring respect for our nation, ensuring domestic success for our people, and securing peace without war in the world.
So, I'm disturbed when, last night, after watching history being made wherein the first person of color was nominated by acclamation to be the Democratic nominee for president and after listening to Joe Biden's acceptance speech in Denver, I was reading some follow-up in the Washington Post and I read this:
But even as he won the nomination, there was open talk in the convention city that Obama's race remained a stumbling block to winning the White House.
"A lot of white workers ... and quite frankly a lot of union members believe he's the wrong race," AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Richard Trumka told a breakfast meeting of Michigan delegates.
Did you catch that? Are you as disturbed as I am? Does this Richard Trumka guy speak for all of the AFL-CIO? Is this the sentiment in the executive suite of the AFL-CIO? Is this the official word from the AFL-CIO? I'd like to know. In fact, I'd like to hear those exact words--"A lot of white workers... and quite frankly a lot of union members believe he's the wrong race"--come out of the month of AFL-CIO President John J. Sweeney.
Frankly, I don't believe it. And I'm sick and tired of pundits and politicians and cable news talking heads telling us Obama's color is a problem.
It is a stumbling block, because they want it to be.
It is a stumbling block, only if we, the voting public, the American people, choose for it to be.
For me, it is not a stumbling block.
What I want to ask Trumka is, "What is the right color?"
Oh, I know, I know. Duh. It's so obvious, I can't believe I didn't think of it immediately. White is the right color. Well, just like heterosexuals arguing that homosexual marriage is a threat to the institution of marriage in this country when the track record for straight marriage isn't exactly stellar, I'm not sure arguing that white is the right color for the president is any more salient.
With 232 years of white presidents under our belt in a country that engaged in and continues to engage in open and often hostile discrimination against a broad swath of demographic labels, I'm not sure suggesting white is the right color is the argument I'd use to persuade people against voting for a black man.
Are we really still that myopic and stupid? Really?! Are we really still thinking about the races in 21st century B.C. terms?
White people have done more than their share of making a mess of this country. Surely a black man can't do any worse. Perhaps, he might actually do better. And it won't be because of the color of his skin, boys and girls. It will be, I believe, because "of the content of his character."
Maybe that seems quaint and provincial to you, but after watching eight years of the impact of character content on our country, I believe character, more than race, matters.
In November, I am unequivocally marking my ballot box for Obama/Biden. I am voting for hope and the continued belief that our nation can be noble and strong and successful while still being safe and open. I am voting for Obama/Biden because the other option is just more of the same and that, my friends, is a stumbling block.