Monday, October 20, 2008

Obama, Powell, and Race

By now you've heard that Colin Powell has endorsed Sen. Obama for president. This would be a complete non-issue if he wasn't a Republican -- though he's always been liberal and pro-choice -- and Pres. Bush's former Secretary of State. The latter makes me want to have someone ask Sen. Obama about Powell and Iraq, but I'm not going to hold my breath.

Mr. Powell has said he supports Sen. Obama "because of his ability to inspire, because of the inclusive nature of his campaign, because he's reaching out all across America, because of who he is." In other words, he doesn't know what Sen. Obama believes either.

Anyway, though people will say what they'll say, Mr. Powell denies that race made a difference in his decision, and I'll take him at his word. If it was a factor, he would hardly be the first, though -- just about every conservative black politician and pundit has admitted a temptation in this regard.

Does this surprise anyone? I've heard many women talk about Sen. Clinton or Gov. Palin in the same way that black people have talked about Sen. Obama. People are attracted to people who are "like me." They tend to live together, clump together at work or at church, and when they get to opportunity to vote for someone like them for an office that has never before been an option, it gets their emotions involved. That's normal, and it should not be called, as some have, racism.

I just hope that when the day comes to "pull the lever," people will put their excitement about someone "like me" on hold long enough to look at the issues.

Mr. Powell says he doesn't want pro-life judges; well, we knew he was pro-choice. But a lot of people who say they want to vote for Obama are pro-life, anti-tax, small government voters the rest of the time.

Let's set our emotions aside and vote on the issues. The issues will matter long after the euphoria of being able to vote for someone "like me" has passed.

No comments:

/* -------------- -----analytics code */