Flip Side of the Race Card

There’s a question starting to make the rounds. It’s rearing its little head in blogs and forums, letters to editors in print publications — maybe even on the air. I wouldn’t know about the latter because I never listen to talk radio, and if it doesn’t make it into a plot line on The Ghost Whisperer or Bones, I’m unlikely to see it on TV.

It’s the flip side of the race card.

What is the difference, they ask, between not voting for someone because he is black or voting for him because he is black?

Actually, it’s a very good question. African Americans, in every state, are being registered by the thousands. Yes, as a demographic, they historically vote as Democrats. But no one doubts why an overwhelming percentage is expected to vote for Barack Obama.

Would it not be the same for our community? If we had a gay candidate in the race for the presidency, would we really care about their foreign policy experience? Or whether they could pronounce the names of all the generals running the various wars we have going? Of course not. We would vote for one of our own.

So, why is that okay but it not be okay for someone to vote against someone that they don’t feel is one of their own? Why is one condemned as racist if not the other?

I’m just asking. Somehow, I don’t think the answer to this one can be found on this particular playing field. Besides, I was ruined for these kinds of questions years ago. Back in my first year of college when I had to read a book titled Situation Ethics by Joseph Fletcher. I’ve not been able to think in terms of absolutes since.

But, maybe an answer is something most of us believe but oftentimes lose sight of — focusing on those things that we are for rather than those we are against. Voting for a candidate instead of against one. Looking for the common ground where we can agree and work to build a future that benefits us all — not, as will happen the day after this election, mobilize to undermine whatever the “other side” supports.

In my dreams? Yeah, I know.

I do try not to be cynical but with the state of politics and government….it’s hard. But Barack Obama makes me almost believe that he can make a difference. This time it’s more than simply the choice of the lesser of evils. Something about him makes me believe almost enough that, even if he was running against one of “us”, I just might still vote for him….

Unless, of course, it was Ellen. Or Lily. Or Nathan! Nathan Lane, President of the United States of America — what a world that would be!

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2 responses to “Flip Side of the Race Card

  1. Hi! I love your blog.

    I’m not gay—“not that there’s anything wrong with that!” (lol)–but one of my closest friends is a lesbian and a few of my favorite cousins are gay, if that counts for anything. But I belong to another “community” and your post really resonated with me.

    I have a little boy with autism.

    While there is no candidate running who has autism, there is a VP candidate with a special needs child. Does her ticket deserve my vote because she is one of the special needs community’s own? Her ticket doesn’t have an impressive record on the special needs issue, but will they be more likely to do something for our kids since she has one herself?

    Or do we vote for Obama because, to date, he has at least done something–albeit very little– for our cause–though he has no personal stake in doing more for us in the future?

    Hearing each side actually mention “Autism” and discuss it for more than a millisecond in the final debate felt to our community what I imagine your community would feel like if you heard them promise to support “gay marriage/rights”.

    Sometimes, it’s hard to focus on other issues when your biggest one is right in your face, wrapped in a bundle and being passed among the other little Palins for all the world to see.

    I am smart enough to get past the magnetic draw of little special needs Trig. And I am not yet decided on who I will vote for. But, I completely relate to the idea that it’s hard not to vote for one of your “own”…

  2. Thanks, Tracey! And just for the record, some of my best friends are — dare I say it out loud — straight!

    This is a tough issue. I think, in the end, it comes back to the fact that everyone should have equal rights and access to those things necessary for “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. And the best way to get there is to work together. I just can’t understand why that seems so obvious to me and so incomprehensible to so many politicians….

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