There are two interesting Op-Ed pieces in the New York Times today and I have to agree with Bob Herbert, whether you cover politics these days or just follow them, you need to keep a bottle of Pepto-Bismol handy. His article looks at a congressional race in Tennessee where a black woman lawyer, Nikki Tinker, challenged the Jewish congressman, Steve Cohen and she used every dirty trick in the book, including race, of course, but fortunately none of them worked and Cohen’s district rallied around him. He won 80% of the voters.
Like Charles M. Blow in his article, I keep wondering why, if this country is so desperate for change, then why is this race in a statistical dead heat? Racism has only diminished in the younger generation, but not necessarily in the remainder of the country. They may not talk about it as openly as they once did or as Obama himself said “resentments aren’t always expressed in polite company”, but when those people walk into the privacy of the voting booth it’s quite likely to be a whole different story.
Why do we find it so difficult to put racism behind us? What on earth is it that we find so threatening? Believe me, the blacks of this world put their pants on exactly the same way the whites do, they go to school, they work, they raise families, they care about their communities, they strive to better themselves and their children. Of course, there are those who do drugs, who belong to gangs, who never finish school, abandon their children. But guess what? There are whites that do exactly the same thing. So, I ask again, where are we so different that we need to fear someone whose skin is a shade darker than ours? Obama has pulled himself up and has achieved so much in his relatively young life. Does he have faults? Undoubtedly, doesn’t everyone whether they admit to them or not. Has he associated with some questionable people at one time or another, probably? But, again, haven’t we all at some time in our lives possibly associated with someone with a questionable reputation? Does that mean we became like them?
Yes, I have lots of questions, but they’re not necessarily just for Obama, but for the rest of us. We need to be asking some questions these days, but of ourselves first of all.
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