Crossposted from MY LEFT WING
“I have a dream that my four little children
will one day live in a nation where they
will not be judged by the color of their skin
but by the content of their character.”
This election marks a potential turning point in American history. The American people will either elect the first black President, following the dictates of logic, self-interest and absolute common sense… or they will elect John McCain and prove that at least a slim majority of the voters in this nation are ignorant fools, religious extremists, blind believers of the partisan propaganda of the right wing, outright racists — or some horrifying combination of those descriptors.
If you hear the dogs, keep going.
If you see the torches in the woods, keep going.
If they’re shouting after you, keep going.
Don’t ever stop. Keep going.
If you want a taste of freedom, keep going.
They’re out there. We know they’re out there. And they will vote against Obama because he is a black man. Period. Some of them — probably many more than we’d like to believe — are registered Democrats. Such is the reality of racism in America in 2008.
This much is true: Many millions of people will vote on the issues and many millions will vote reflexively based on other factors like how they always vote, what propaganda they believe, which “personalities” they prefer and so on. This much is also true: Many millions of people will vote for or against Barack Obama because he is a black man.
Make no mistake: The single determinative factor in this election is the colour of Barack Obama’s skin. And there is nothing we can do about the people who will vote against him because of it, just as there is nothing the other side can do about the people who will vote for him because of it.
There are still many, many votes to be won on the issues; the Obama campaign knows this as surely as they know the Republican Fraud Machine didn’t shut down in 2004. They’re doing their job and, insofar as I can see, they’re doing it well, given the huge — albeit predictable — disadvantage the Democrat always faces in a hostile and Republican-owned media.
The question remains, then, for those of us sitting on the sidelines, subject to hourly mood swings based on polls and biased media coverage and the myriad other depressingly familiar and predictable factors we understandably experience as harbingers of doom in modern Presidential politics: What are we supposed to do about all this?
I could tell you to ignore the polls and the media, but that would be silly; you’re political junkies just like I am — telling you to ignore it all would be like telling a heroin addict to ignore the baggie of China White on his kitchen counter every day for the next two months.
We have options. First, and most important: If you really, truly care about the outcome of this election, then get off your ass and DO SOMETHING. Register voters, is my first suggestion. It’s the single most important factor in this race, next to… race. Nearly 8 million African Americans — eligible to vote — are not registered to vote:
Nearly one in three African Americans have yet to get registered
While Sen. Barack Obama’s historic campaign has injected a powerful dose of enthusiasm into America – particularly Black America – there are still 8 million African Americans that have not yet been moved to register.
Rick Wade, who handles African-American voter outreach for the Obama campaign says that some 32 percent of the Black voting-age population is currently out of the loop. “Our principal focus has been a 50-state voter registration initiative,” Wade told NNPA. “I think we all appreciate that if we increase the number of African American registered voters and then increase turnout and get people to the polls on Nov. 4, then Sen. Obama will be the next president of the United States.”
Four years ago, more than one in 10 voters was Black, he said. “If the percentage of African Americans was a mere two-and-a-half percent higher, 13.5 percent, Democrats would currently be running for re-election at this time,” he said. “For example in the state of Ohio in 2004, we lost by two percent or 100,000 votes. There were 270,000 unregistered African Americans. I use that as an illustration to show how the African American vote can make the difference in a state and across this country. So the African American vote can absolutely make the difference in this election.”
You bet your ASS this race is going to be about race. You don’t think the racists out there are voting based on race? Well, FUCK THEM. We’ve got the issues voters. We’ve got the intelligent voters. That still leaves us having to make up the deficit made by the racists and the fools. Get out there and register voters.
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I want to say something now to those of you who seem to honestly believe there is little to no difference between Barack Obama and John McCain — that the differences are essentially cosmetic (pardon the expression) and that we’re dealing with Tweedledee and Tweedledum again. Now, I don’t agree. I just don’t; but that is an argument we can have another day. Surely we can agree on this: if for NO OTHER REASON, can we not agree that the election of Barack Obama to the Presidency is preferable to that of John McCain because of its historical significance and the defeat of the forces of racism — of ignorance, hatred and sheer fucking EVIL — amassing against it?
If you believe that there is NO DIFFERENCE between Obama and McCain and you consider yourself a leftist or a liberal, then are you not ALL THE MORE interested in seeing Obama elected on this point alone? There is no other viable candidate, my friends. Your pleas for Cynthia McKinney or Nader fall on deaf ears this year of all years: We have the opportunity to break completely new ground with this election, regardless of how you perceive these candidates’ positions on the issues.
Yes, I just said that: If you think it doesn’t matter which of these men is elected, then work your ass off for Obama BECAUSE HE IS A BLACK MAN and THAT IS ENOUGH OF A REASON.
Like I said: I do not believe for a second that’s the only reason to elect Obama. But if you NEED a reason to stop bitching and moaning and spreading your negativity around like so much stinking fucking manure — I just gave it to you. Don’t call yourself a liberal in my presence and tell me it isn’t a damned good fucking reason, or I will have to seriously question whether you ever took a history class, let alone have been paying attention during your lifetime to the realities of racism in this country.
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You have choices. You can watch the polls as they come in on an almost-hourly basis and bemoan the state of things as they are — or you can get up and TRY LIKE HELL TO CHANGE THINGS.
“This country of ours has more wealth than any nation, but that’s not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military on Earth, but that’s not what makes us strong. Our universities and our culture are the envy of the world, but that’s not what keeps the world coming to our shores.
Instead, it is that American spirit – that American promise – that pushes us forward even when the path is uncertain; that binds us together in spite of our differences; that makes us fix our eye not on what is seen, but what is unseen, that better place around the bend.
That promise is our greatest inheritance. It’s a promise I make to my daughters when I tuck them in at night, and a promise that you make to yours – a promise that has led immigrants to cross oceans and pioneers to travel west; a promise that led workers to picket lines, and women to reach for the ballot.
And it is that promise that forty five years ago today, brought Americans from every corner of this land to stand together on a Mall in Washington, before Lincoln’s Memorial, and hear a young preacher from Georgia speak of his dream.
The men and women who gathered there could’ve heard many things. They could’ve heard words of anger and discord. They could’ve been told to succumb to the fear and frustration of so many dreams deferred.
But what the people heard instead – people of every creed and color, from every walk of life – is that in America, our destiny is inextricably linked. That together, our dreams can be one.
‘We cannot walk alone,’ the preacher cried. ‘And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back.'”