A closer look into the election campaign reveals troubling factors influencing the American vote.
by Shireen Qudosi ∙ September 26, 2008 Shireen.Qudosi@yahoo.com
The 2008 election finds its biggest challenge to be the people’s perception of Barack Obama. The American people, the deciders of the next president of the United States, see Obama through the filter of race and image.
Proving non-racist attitudes
Too many Americans have been swayed by the image of things and by the obvious race card in this election. And in this context they think voting for Obama will demonstrate tolerance. If this is our reasoning, then what’s next? What about when it’s the first gay candidate running for office, the first transvestite, the first transgender?
Are we going to vote someone in just to prove we’re tolerant – when in fact, a choice made to prove you’re open-minded only proves that you’re not. If you’re truly not racist, then you don’t feel the need to prove it. Those voting to prove non-racist attitudes show they value image above truth.
There’s only one reason to vote someone in – and that’s because you believe they’re the best for the job. You don’t vote for a president to prove you’re open-minded; nor do you base your choice on guilt.
Some voters carry a guilty conscience impressed upon them through various sources. These are Americans who have been made to feel at fault for America’s slave history, made to feel responsible for acts that occurred centuries before they existed. Americans are anchored into a past, told they had slaves picking cotton, that our country was one of the biggest promoters of the slave trade.
But listeners and speakers of this history forget one fact. The fact is that that America no longer exists. That was an America of 200 years ago. This is an America of the 21st century.
The slave trade had nothing to do with anyone that is alive today. Americans need to stop making apologies for something that does not need apologizing for. We need to seriously rethink electing a president based on some obscure sense of guilt or distorted perception of advancement.
When people are bothered about image, we are left with a society that is not truthful.
And society that is not truthful has no hope for change.
On November 4th, a vote based on trying to prove non-racist attitudes ensures America enters a dark age masquerading as progress and change.
A society moving forward doesn’t deepen racial lines by giving them more attention, more power, and more credit. A society of this magnitude knows these barriers are nothing more than fictitious creations. Giving any relevance to race is an archaic mindset – a prehistoric and outdated way of thinking.
Many black voters are using the election as a race confrontation. This group treats his candidacy as a step forward for black people, forgetting that if he were to be chosen, it would be because a majority of the American people made that choice; a majority of the American people with mixed "race and ethnicities". But this fact is ignored unless it is pointed out.
The attitude adopted by people focusing on race is a dangerous mindset that was cemented by the Obama fist bump.
Easily-led people were impressed with the bump, seeing it as ‘cool’, recognizing it as something familiar. But a fist bump is an exclusionary act – it’s about superiority. A fist bump suggests a gang mentality.
A gang mentality that’s stressed again and again even by those who are supposedly well-educated and well-respected.
Some of these well-respected appear on nationally syndicated TV shows, some have PhDs, and some (even in this day and age) still go around declaring they’re “a free black man”. Such were the words of a wild-eyed Dr. Cornel West during a rather awkward interview on The Colbert Report, aired Wednesday September 24, 2008. He is one example you can see for yourself; he is one of many who hold a gang mentality, seeing themselves as separate from others based on race.
People like this make the idea of racial inequality possible. They give an unnatural life to an idea that cannot exist without these types of people powering it. These people, these ‘educated’ men with shockingly primitive attitudes voice their support for Obama – a choice likely to be based on color.
After titles are stripped away, there’s sometimes very little difference between the man down the street and the man behind the podium; they both bear the capacity to have a gang mentality. But the man behind the podium is looked up to because of the image given to him. His words of ‘wisdom’ are even more dangerous because they are repeated. His ideas are fatal because they lack understanding.
There are people in positions of power and influence who make race an issue – people who do not see one united America, but a black and white America, an America divided. This is a severe form of ignorance that speaks against American ideals.
The words of such speakers are horrifying. And sometimes, their words are left unchallenged and left to spread without the slightest voice of dissent. These thoughts are a plague to America and dangerous to a society that desperately needs racism to be a thing of the past.
This diseased perception of race, of promoting a gang mentality, is often unintentionally given validity – as seen with this campaign’s first presidential debate. Hosted at the University of Mississippi, the school was highlighted for its history during segregation. Again, race was focused upon – and this time by a multitude of people with a multitude of backgrounds. The same mentality that gave rise to racism and segregation was being drawn upon to once again bring attention to race…a mentality that creates differences.
The speech that still needs to be made
This election is not about race; it cannot be about one race beating another race. If this candidate wins, it could not have been because blacks voted him into office – but unless this is pointed out by Obama himself, this is exactly what far too many people will think. This has happened before on several levels. Each time it leads to reverse racism and increases superiority within much of the black community. And this will happen again on the biggest scale possible, unless Barack Obama calls out against this and says that he does not want a vote if it’s a vote cast on race.
So the real question is what is Barack Obama going to do? Is he going to say that it’s not about race but about America? Is he willing to take a stand against the use of this image?
Because if his image is being used to promote racism, and he doesn’t take a stand against it, then he is escalating racism.
If nothing is said, if this fact is not addressed, and if he gets elected, America will fall deeper into the abyss of uncertain times. If the people do not understand the relevance of what is happening, and if our leaders do not act on it, what hope is there for a better tomorrow?
A nation of free-thinking individuals
A main aspect of this campaign is that it has stopped being about the presidency, and about how people think the world is going to look at them, how they’re going to look at each other. A vote on race or image is the choice of an insecure and weak-minded individual
Neither race, nor gender, nor any other shallow reason has anything to do with how good someone will be at their job. Nor does it matter what presidents look like, dress like, talk like, move like – who they’re surrounded by, which have more glam magazine features.
This brings us to the glamorous photo shoot of famed black models playing the role of Barack and Michelle in the White House. While I do not claim Obama’s camp sponsored the feature, the effort (whoever it was initiated by) nonetheless demonstrates a type of propaganda used to influence you.
What is this if not a mockery of the position and of us, as the majority of the public is influenced by the image and the conceit it brings. These images have become a signpost of “cool”. But it’s actually a very uncool thing to make a choice based on its image or the image it gives you. Being supportive of the image in any way is a disgrace to America and goes against the very meaning of America.
We’re talking about presidents here. We’re talking about one of the most important jobs in the world. Anyone who uses image to influence you shows how little they really think of you. They show that they think you’re weak enough to be won over with glitz and glam – weak enough to be impressed by the appearance of things.
People think focusing on race and image is a rebellious act. But it’s not rebellious to choose something based on appearance and labels – it’s anti-rebellious. A truly rebellious person will see through the façade of label and image, and will see it for the mask that it is. If you’re a free thinker, then you’re not impressed by image. You’re not a follower.
Remembering what this role is about
The role of president of one of the most powerful nations on this earth demands more solemn consideration. The role is not an opportunity to showcase distorted examples of advancement, because if that’s why we’ve put someone in office, we prove we do not understand what advancement means. Doesn’t the presidency deserve more respect than the vanity of image? Does it not require that we look at both candidates with brutal honesty and take in only truth above any other factor?
The position requires an individual who will speak up if his image is being used to promote racism in any form. The role of president calls for a person of solid character, willing to stand up and say what needs to be said, each time every time – regardless of how they will be perceived by the public.
We need someone who not only sees truth, but practices it, implements it, and through the position, transforms America into a nation of truth above all else. This is true advancement.
The American people need to remember what this position is about. The people need to decide what is more important, image or truth? On November 4th, are we going to be able to say, “Look what we’ve done, we’ve voted in the first black president”, or “We’ve voted in the right person for the job”?
We have a great responsibility vested in us to make the right choice.
When the life of the average American worker is frightfully uncertain, when you live today not knowing what tomorrow will bring, when times are hard,
Do you want someone who will protect you, or do you want someone who can make things look good but who lacks the understanding needed for such a critical role?
As America, we cannot forget our priorities or what is at risk if we surrender to image.
We have to remember what is at stake here, we have to remember we have very real enemies with deadly agendas,
Enemies waiting for a weakness.
Enemies waiting to strike.
It’s not just about the presidency, It’s about our survival.