Race and Age ~ Taboo Topics in Politics

Talk about controversial issues… Obama’s race and McCain’s age certainly are two. So, personally, I think the official moratorium on these topics should be lifted.

I think the two major party nominees apparent have been pretty good about steering clear of these topics. Don’t you agree? Except for Senator Obama’s major speech on race issues in America during the Democratic primary and vague references to race in speeches he made last month, i.e., not being from central casting or looking like all those Presidents on U.S. paper currency, I can’t recall either candidate violating their campaign pledges to avoid these topics. Of course, McCain’s campaign was quick to claim that Obama’s central casting/paper money comments was playing the so-called race card. But recall that McCain has responded to the age issue in the past, saying that he would only seek to serve one term because of it, claiming to be physically fit and mentally alert, promising to work hard. Tit for tat, I’d say.

Although Obama and McCain have both been playing pretty fair, at least in my opinion, it cannot be denied that supporters of both candidates, as well as the media, are not. Why, just last night I got another forwarded political email claiming, tongue-in-cheek, that Senator McCain’s age (71 by the time that he would be sworn-in as our forty-fourth president) is actually an advantage to American taxpayers. The argument goes like this:  A president’s pension currently is $191,300 per year. Assuming the next president lives to age 80. Senator McCain would receive no pension if he were to serve two terms since he would reach 80 shortly after the end of his second term. Senator Obama, who would take office as our youngest president ever, would be retired for 26 years after two terms and so would receive $4,973,800 in pension money from taxpayers.

So, a vote for John McCain is a vote for reducing the cost of government… POE-LEEEZ!  This makes about as much sense as McCain’s claim that he can balance the budget just by eliminating earmarks and other “wasteful” government spending. The Washington Post had a good article on this last month. $5M wouldn’t pay for 30 minutes of our current presence in Iraq.

About Senator Obama being African American — we can all fathom that this is why the polls still show the candidates in a statistical dead-heat even with over eighty percent of Americans saying that they think the nation is on the wrong track, socially, economically, militarily and diplomatically, and even with John McCain offering very little apparent change. Obama’s rallies and town hall meetings draw tens of thousands and McCain’s draw at best a few hundred. Why, McCain even has to schedule speeches at events where large numbers are already planning to gather such as this week’s gathering of Harley-Davison bikers in Sturgis, SD. Enthusiasm for Obama is high among likely voters, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey, and low among McCain’s supporters. Notwithstanding, CNN’s poll of polls shows Obama ahead by only a five percentage points. Why? Give a listen to what Richard Trumka, Secretary/Treasurer of the AFL-CIO has to say about this.

Given that they are serious issues people care about — rightly or wrongly — and that they are likely to affect the outcome of the presidential election this year, I personally think the moratorium on addressing Obama’s ethnicity/race and McCain’s age should be lifted. Instead of talking about these issues in hushed tones, making jokes and cartoons about them and having them alluded to by the likes of Senator Clinton and the former President, they should be exposed to the light of day. Should it take playing the race card and the age card to win, so be it.

If America must be denied the brightest, most articulate states- man to come along in decades to serve as our next President simply because of his race, then I will truly be ashamed of my country.

I invite your comments whether supportive or un.

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Published in: on August 8, 2008 at 9:15 am  Comments (7)  

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  1. Why is a vote against Obama considered racist. If he is defeated and he feels that he lost because of his race , he will never grow as a person and for sure as a politician. I guess being white was an advantage for OTHER tax and spend liberals like McGovern, Gore, and Kerry. They knew that their defeat was a vote against their politics and not their race.

    One could postulate that your vote against a Colon Powell, a J C Watts, or a Bobby Jindel was based on race and not based on your concerns with his conservative beliefs.

  2. Kent, your article was very enlightening with lots of facts as usual. I think the thing that bothers me is when I hear someone states that they would never vote for an African American. This tells me that this person would vote for Satan as long as he is considered white. Wow! When will we ever learn that it is the character of a person and not his skin color that defines the man.

    I think of the little six-year old who just returned from having part of her brain removed to halt the terrible disease that was eating away at her life. This little girl’s lead doctor(Dr. Ben Carson) is African American and I am sure her parents never gave it a second thought as long as he was able to give hope to their daughter’s life & health. We as Americans have got to simply grow up and do a little more practicing of what we preach.

    As far as reducing our government spending, I think we have done ourselves harm in trying to cut big government. Take a look at our infrastructure and our health care situation. I cringe when I think of what our late president Ronald Ragean did when he refused to allocate more monies for Alzheimer’s Research and then dropped government allocation for homes & facilities for the disabled. That was catastrophic and we are paying for it now. 50% of the homeless people are disabled and as a volunteer for Alzheimer’s, I witness firsthand the struggle for raising funds and getting adequate funding to halt this dreaded disease which is considered the Tsunami of the 21st centruy as related to health issues. I haven’t yet figured out who the so-called liberals are! I am waiting for someone to really explain this to me since I recall from my bible studies that Jesus Christ healed the sick, raised the dead and had compassion on those who are less fortunate than others. Maybe I am missing something—I dunno. You will have to explain it to me one of these days. Yes, I am against excessive spending, like the “bridge to nowhere” and other pork barrel projects as well as the Iraqi war. There are just somethings that are basic. I appreciated Richard Trumka’s speech and am very comfortable discussing racial issues. After all, I do not live in a tube and I do not wear blinders.

  3. My post was not about Republicans who will not vote for Barack Obama. It was about Democrats who won’t.

    As I see it, Kent, we have two choices come November, a progressive approach to addressing the many problems facing us today or four more years of pretty much the same old tried-and-failed, business-friendly policies of the Bush-Cheney administration. Take your pick. That is every voter’s right. But for somebody who has always voted democratic tickets in the past to refuse to vote for their party’s nominee this year, there must be a reason. The first that comes to my mind is that such a person is letting his/her fear of social change overcome reason. But call it what it really is: bigotry…

    We’ve come a long way since the Civil Rights Amendment, but not nearly far enough if the brightest and most articulate statesman to come along in decades cannot be our president because he is black.

  4. I recognize that we have important issues that we need to take action on in America and that we must consider our presidential candidate’s views on these subjects in order to make the best decision for our one vote toward the office. In that light, debating Obama’s race or McCain’s age did not seem early on to be the most important issues to discuss. However, I also do not think that the issues should be taboo. On the eve of the election, all issues should be considered.

    I am Democrat and remember longily the tax cuts, education funding and balanced budget that we realized as a nation during the Clinton administration. I believe another “ism” needs to be considered – sexism. Why not Hillary Clinton? She has a lifetime of experience in politics. In a time of great political apathy, the primary between Hillary and Barack brought out record numbers at the polls. As a woman and a voter who cast her ballot for Hillary in the primary, I have to ask is her gender why not? As a Democrat, I have to ask why not harness that excitement and enthusiasm to elect our next political duo. Politics are politics, and I personally think we need to get past the “isms” that divide and elect a political duo that can unite our government and start solving some of those hard problems that need to be addressed. If putting a white woman on the ballot as a running mate will accomplish that end, and I think it will, I have to ask why not?

  5. Thank you for adding your perspective to my post on the issue of -isms in politics, Jennifer. You’re quite right — sexism deserves to feel the light of day on it’s ugly face too.

    On the surface, I would tend to agree; adding Senator Clinton to the ticket would seem to be the right decision for Democrats to ensure success in November. Personally, I bear no animosity toward her, but she did get pretty ugly during the primary… and the things that President Clinton said! Ugh… He might always be in the background, upstaging both Obama and his own wife as the Senior Stateman who can’t seem to keep his lip buttoned.

    I don’t know. Obama will have to judge whether, after the White House is secured, she would be an asset as Vice President… whether she would support his more balanced approach to health care, which I think is more doable especially now while we’re fighting to recover from recession and buried in red-ink. Plus hers would be one more seat in the Senate that would be up for grabs; Democrats need to retain and, if possible, increase control there to ensure progressive progress on energy, climate, education, health care, the economy. Hopefully, Obama will divine the right answer. But I anticipate he will choose a popular governor with military or other foreign service credentials, and one who is from a state that could go either red or blue this year.

  6. Lol. To be honest I have really no idea how to respond to all of this. If Obama is going to cry about his race and McCain is going to whine about his age then let them. It’s not OUR fault that they’re AA or old, however, we are stuck in problems that they have created themselves. Obama needs to get over the ‘racist’ ideas IF he does lose because no one (anyone who votes) actually cares that he is Black or asian, whatever he is. McCain needs to stop listening to media and such about his age. If he thinks he can run our America and lead us, then I want to see this. I wouldn’t be able to run this country at 80, plus no wonder he chose palin as a runner up, if he does die then we have a female president anyways. In my opinion, either side we choose we’re going to have people complain, whine, and mope so I speak for most people who are in their right minds when I say, LOL get over it plz.

    P.S. I took that building wealth thing and I got a 65 <_< one question off passing. Can we talk about that?

  7. The presidential pension is for life.


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