Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Race Race '08

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I find it annoying when people insist on maintaining the secrecy of their ballot.  I mean... sure there are situations where it's necessary (like not wanting to spend 45 minutes debating politics with your boss), but on the whole it's silly.  You put real thought and consideration into your vote didn't you?  And that research you did!  You should be proud of your vote, because you know you made the right call!  Instead of pride, some people carry a feeling of shame, either because of their zombie-like voting on "charisma," or because of phenomenon like the Bradley Effect - otherwise known as the "YOU VOTED FOR THE BLACK GUY!?!?!?" effect.

Tonight, the Bradley Effect was tested and failed. Perhaps the entire concept was just more media sensationalism, but it had me legitimately worried. I talk to a diverse range of people, especially on the Internet, and in my experience the number of covertly racist people is astounding. Recently, a small number of people that I’ve talked to that were voting were solid McCain supporters. Why?

Almost all of them gave puerile reasoning, ranging from “He was a P.O.W.” to “I met him once when I was in the Navy” to “Obama seems too good to be true” to “I just don’t trust Obama.” I call these childish reasons because his previous P.O.W. status and his attendance at whatever Navy function you were at have nothing to do with running the country. His military career deserves respect, but what does being tortured while in a prison have to do with his thoughts on global warming, healthcare, or his selection of an inept governor for the second highest office in the nation? Obama seems too good to be true, you say? Wow, that’s the first and last time I’ll ever hear that clich√© about a politician. And how can you trust Obama less than McCain when McCain did more 180's than Tony Hawk? Prior to running against George Bush, McCain was a moderate conservative. Once George Bush took office, McCain became a partisan. Then, when he started campaigning he double 180’d! He started as a hardline conservative, then in response to Obama's poll numbers, turned back into a centrist, then towards the end of the campaign he reverted to Republican base lines. Talk about flip-flopping!

Clearly, with specious justifications such as these, people were clutching straws so that they didn’t have to admit the truth: They couldn't vote for a black man.

For the record, I have a few friends who did not vote for Obama (or didn't vote at all), for such reasons as “The government fails at everything, I don’t want the government touching healthcare. The insurance system may be fucked, but government will fuck it worse” or “He lacks the experience needed to handle his roles as influence leader during a recession and Commander-in-Chief during war time.” These are fine reasons. I think Biden brings the experience that balances out these shortcomings, but if you disagree, that’s perfectly fine – you’ve applied logic and come to a conclusion. I’m not going to jump down your throat if it’s different than mine.

Somewhat related: A friend of mine said tonight
This is bullshit: It’s not racism when black people vote almost 100% for the black candidate, but it would be racism if Obama lost.

While I agree with the general thesis she presents – that a double standard is in effect here – I don’t really care about how people would've framed this election - win or lose. But that’s just our opinions. The bigger problem is that the statement is just dead wrong!  Stepping away from race for a second, the female vote did virtually nothing for Palin. As much as there are complete morons out there voting blind, in reality most blind morons simply don’t vote. Presidential elections are not like municipal judge elections where people show up and vote for whoever has the funniest name just to see the pretty lights on the ballot booth. In executive branch elections, people go in knowing the candidate’s stance on at least one issue that is important to them. Palin was a joke of a female candidate – she doesn’t have a pro-woman stance on any key women's issues. Hence, women weren't swayed by her estrogen on the ticket. I think it's safe to say that if McCain was black and Obama was white, few blacks would have voted for BlacKain.

Lastly, she said
The only reason [Obama won] is because black people are voting in droves suddenly.

At this point I flat-out called her a dumb racist. Again, she is proven wrong by facts – here’s how:
  1. African-Americans make up 13.4% of the population of this country, as per 2006 census data. Whites are around 83%. The black vote in any election means next to nothing.
  2. In fact, it meant nothing in the outcome of this election for sure: Black Americans are overwhelmingly concentrated in the states that have been blue states for the past 3 elections or more. The new black voters did not affect the Electoral College result any differently than if they hadn’t voted! Need proof?
Of the 9 states Obama picked up that Kerry did not win in '04, only three of them have a black population greater than the national average. These three: Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia, account for 55 electoral votes total, meaning Obama would still have 309 votes. In Indiana and Ohio, where Obama only took the state by a slim margin, we have a total of 31 electoral votes. Now Obama is down to 278 – still a fucking win! Also, think about Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin – these states are as white as the snow that dominates them every winter, and yet even they voted for Balack Osama!

At any rate, I’m going to end this post now because it’s pissing me off that anyone should have to go to these lengths to debunk such a ridiculous idea, and I don’t want to make another point that warrants a lengthy period of data research and spreadsheet development. I’m very tired.

Welcome to the new world. It’s not much different than the old one, but at least now we’ve proven racism is marginalized enough to elect a black president, and that's something to be excited about.

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