I would have preferred not to jump aboard the “race” train at all during my running commentary of this political cycle, but I should have known that would be next to impossible. I suppose it was overly optimistic to assume both candidates would play fair; mud-slinging between the two was bound to get ugly. Fortunately, one candidate has kept his nose clean.
First came Hillary Clinton’s poorly timed comments concerning the importance of President Lynden Johnson’s role in effectively legislating Martin Luther King Jr.’s cause. This comment showed a lack of tact Clinton has carried throughout her campaign.
Next was a comment from Geraldine Ferraro, a close friend of the Clinton camp, who suggested Obama might not be where he was if not for his race. “If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position,” Ferraro told the Daily Breeze, echoing the same statement for “if he was a woman.” Obama supporters called for an apology, but neither Ferraro nor Clinton were forthcoming.
Then, of course, came the Muslim insinuation. As loath as I am to address issues of race, I’m doubly so concerning religion. Ever since Obama first gained popularity I’ve been having fun asking people if they knew that his middle name was Hussein. Some of the reactions were downright shocking. Many refused to believe I wasn’t joking. Apparently, a rose by any other name might not be as American. This innocent fact, coupled with the Obama family’s residence for a time in Jakarta, where Barack attended school, seem to have started a rumor that refuses to be dispelled.
Now, I’m not entirely sure why it would be so damning if Obama were a Muslim, except for the fact that many Americans can’t tell the difference between Islam and Islamic terrorism. Here’s a hint: It’s a bit like saying that if Jeffery Dahmer were a Baptist, then all Baptists must be cannibals. In a perfect world, it wouldn’t matter what religion Obama followed.
Since Obama was questioned on whether or not he is Muslim, now people are doubting his professed Christianity as well.
Obama’s former pastor may have been quoted as saying some pretty controversial things, but just because a church holds a certain belief does not mean that every single member of the congregation are marionettes of that doctrine.
Perhaps Obama’s church does espouse a rather strong “Afro-centric” rhetoric, but isn’t the line that Obama has to toe fine enough already? Once people began to question Obama’s church, he had a very delicate balance to maintain. He couldn’t very well renounce his faith, nor could he fully support his pastor. He couldn’t back away from the church’s “Afro-centric” doctrine at the risk of losing respect and support among the black community, nor could he do the opposite and risk further offense to the white community.
Obama wants to remind his family that black people in America still suffer oppression, but that doesn’t mean he agrees with some of the more contentious remarks that might have been made at his church over the years.
I’m not sure if Clinton’s campaign had anything to do with bringing Obama’s pastor’s comments or the church’s doctrine to light, but on the other issues, I find its lack of restraint reprehensible. Clinton and Obama have very similar voting records and policy points. Still, Obama has little to worry about in these last few months of the primary. I honestly don’t anticipate any last-minute mass superdelegate support for Clinton. Despite how many see it, if you ask me, this primary has been decided for a while now.
So why beat a dead horse? I hope that people will not continue to focus on these negative race issues that Clinton has brought up during the presidential election. Hopefully, many will see that Obama has played a far cleaner game – not allowing his campaign to attack Clinton based on her gender or husband’s infidelity, to my knowledge – and not turn the presidential election into a black or white issue. The most important thing we could all hope to learn from this campaign is that race is not a valid attack point. May the best, uh . individual win!