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How Do We Explain An Obama Loss?

 
 
blatham
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Oct, 2008 07:27 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
How do you explain an Obama win, finn?
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Oct, 2008 07:29 pm
@eoe,
Quote:

Bill Clinton

What did he do against Obama ?
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Oct, 2008 07:32 pm
@Eorl,
Quote:
I know this isn't going to be a popular thing to say, but I think racism is going to work for Obama in this election more than it will work against him.


Only if you you think that someone voting for Obama simply because he's black is racism.

Personally, I don't.

It may be stupid or naive, but it's not racism unless the person voting for Obama believes McCain is inferior simply because he's white.

The notion that blacks cannot be racist is ridiculous, but it's not irrational (or racist) that they might vote for a black person simply because they are black.

The same can be said for whites who vote for the white candidate because they believe he or she will represent them better than a black candidate.

Of course there are many who will consider that this white person voting for the white candidate reflects racism, while the black person voting for the black candidate, because he or she feels the black candidate will represent them better than the white counter-part, does not.

If we are going to use the term correctly, racism requires a sense that one or more races are inferior to others.

If someone doesn't vote for Obama because they think a black candidate is inferior to a white candidate for no other reason than his race, he or she is a racist.

0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Oct, 2008 07:37 pm
@blatham,
Quote:
How do you explain an Obama win, finn?


Republicans have tarnished their brand.

The economy has tanked.

The MSM has been in the tank for him.

He is an excellent speaker.

People want change after 8 years of the incumbant.
OmSigDAVID
 
  0  
Reply Thu 30 Oct, 2008 07:42 pm
@blatham,
Quote:

There's a necessary differentiation to be made here.

It's one thing to support an African American for the presidency on the basis of ethnicity in order to help negate an old and oppressive cultural tradition (to break a glass ceiling, to use that cliche).

It is another thing entirely to refuse to support and African American out of a conception that this ethnicity is, in some manner, inferior.

Every voter has the moral, legal and constitutional freedom,
un limited freedom, to chose among the candidates for president
upon the basis of any criterion that appeals to him.

Assertions to the contrary
are only idle superstition.





David
0 Replies
 
blatham
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Oct, 2008 08:42 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
It's an answer. But it has the sense about it like that of an old spinster explaining why no one ever asked her to wed.
Eorl
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Oct, 2008 08:46 pm
@blatham,
blatham wrote:

Quote:
Entirely agree, yet positive racism is still racism.


Be careful you don't fall into the trap of making this term quite meaningless. Giving african americans the vote was a policy based on racial difference, after all.


Was it? I'm not well informed enough on the matter. I would have thought it was decided that all people should vote regardless of skin colour, not that a specific group should.

according to the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination,

the term "racial discrimination" shall mean any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life."

So the way I see it, if a person says they are voting based on the recipients race, it's racism, even if it seems to be in a "good" direction against historical persecution.
blatham
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Oct, 2008 08:55 pm
@Eorl,
Are you aware of the cultural impediments (bigotry) which impeded JFK's ascent to the presidency?

OK...just found out you are from australia.

What are the chances of an aboriginee running for PM down there?
Eorl
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Oct, 2008 09:53 pm
@blatham,
The chances are OK, although they are very much a small minority (2.2%) so numbers (in the purely random sense) are against them. We have had one of our political parties led by an aborigine, and his aboriginalty wasn't much of an issue. Our situation is very different from yours though. I'm not sure what point you're trying to make. (No, I'm not very well aware of JFK's history.)

Edit: my mistake, he was deputy leader. Another earlier aboriginal member of parliament was named "Australian of the Year".

Edit: It's probably worth mentioning that we don't elect our Prime Minister, which reduces the "popularity contest" component somewhat. We elect our local members who choose their own leader.
blatham
 
  1  
Reply Fri 31 Oct, 2008 07:16 am
@Eorl,
Understood (I'm Canadian).

Kennedy was a Catholic. This presented, at that time, serious problems for him as a presidential candidate http://www.oup.com/us/catalog/general/subject/Politics/AmericanPolitics/ReligionPolitics/?view=usa&ci=9780195374483

This arose from a specific manifestation of bigotry in american culture and it took a Kennedy win to really bust through that (clearly unjust) cultural barrier.

Knowing that, would you consider a Catholic who voted for Kennedy, in part because he was a Catholic, to be an instance of religious bigotry?

One could make that claim, rather the way you make the claim that a black (particulary, perhaps) voting for Obama in part because he is black is an instance of 'racism'. But I think to use the term this broadly and undiscerningly is to eviscerate it of it's fundamental meaning - holding another race as inferior.

Aside from this point, there's another reason why I think we need to keep this critically important difference in mind when we use the term 'racism'. And that is what has gone on here in the US (ps, I live here now) over the last two or three decades where conservatives have set out to turn back legislation designed to give african americans 'a leg up' from the serious and real disadvantages which they suffered (and, in the view of many, still do). There's a very good analysis of precisely this point in Nina Easton's Gang of Five, if you care to order it up (also a wonderful history of the rise of Bill Kristol, Ralph Reed and Grover Norquist in the conservative movement).
blatham
 
  1  
Reply Fri 31 Oct, 2008 07:19 am
ps...Easton ain't no dirty liberal. She's a regular on Fox. Not sure about the present, but when she wrote this book she was working at the LA Times and it is a very good example of investigative journalism.
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Sat 1 Nov, 2008 12:15 am
@blatham,
I forgot to add that despite his pledge to take only public funding, "The Ends Justify The Means" Obama has obtained an unprecedented treasure chest of donations (some questionable) and has dominated the airwaves.

Funny how when a Republican out spends a Democrat, it's buying the election, but when Obama receives more money in a month than McCain has received from the public funding of his entire campaign, it's a sign of how much the people love him, and a reflection of democracy at its finest.

As for your reaction to my answer...do you think I really care?

Was there the slightest chance that you would have responded with anything remotely less than:

"Goodness Finn, I never thought of that. I have been a silly liberal loon, haven't I?"

It's fun sparring with you blatham, but neither of us will ever turn the other.

Unfortunately, the sparring has too often turned to such direct conflict that my regard for you has diminished. I have no doubt you can say the same for me, but again, I have moved past the point of caring.

Best Regards,

Finn
Eorl
 
  1  
Reply Sat 1 Nov, 2008 07:11 am
@blatham,
blatham, thanks for taking the time to explain.

Yes, the Catholic part I knew something about. Yes, I think I would see a catholic voting for a catholic partially because they were catholic as partially bigoted. Having said that, all other things being equal, I'd vote for an atheist over a religious person and not see that as bigotry (although I'm sure everyone else would think it was!)

Now, you say that I make the claim that a black voting for Obama in part because he is black is an instance of racism. I do. The test for me is to view it in negative. If a white is voting for McCain in part because he is white, it's much more obviously racism.

I have a pretty good grasp of the concept of positive racism. I'm uncomfortable with it because it reinforces the notion that skin colour is important. I think "bootstrapping" programmes should be designed to help those who need it, on the basis of need rather than colour or bloodline or heritage. It seems somewhat paternalistic and condescending, a byproduct of white guilt. The sooner everyone drops the notion of "race" and starts seeing themselves and each other as human beings, the better.

Now, I know I'm being overly idealistic and more than a little naive. There are things that should be compensated for, there have been generations of oppression that create poverty traps and negative sub-cultures that ensure that a "level playing field" is anything but fair.

Never-the-less, I can't let go of the deep conviction that skin colour prejudice of any kind is way past it's expiry date.

I'll check out the Gang of Five, maybe it'll change my view, or at least I'll be a little less naive.



blatham
 
  1  
Reply Sat 1 Nov, 2008 07:51 am
@Finn dAbuzz,
Quote:
It's fun sparring with you blatham, but neither of us will ever turn the other.


It often has been. And likely not.
0 Replies
 
blatham
 
  1  
Reply Sat 1 Nov, 2008 08:10 am
@Eorl,
Eorl

That's an entirely reasonable position you forward. I've had this discussion with thoughtful folks before and we usually end up somewhere around where you and I have arrived at. There's really no solid ground here...we are into greys (and mixed metaphors). Your atheist/theist analogy is quite to the point, by the way, thankyou.

I'm uncomfortable with positive racism too. But I'm much more uncomfortable with the negative side of this for all the reasons you understand and share. Thus my preference to err in the one direction.

Nina Easton wrote this book before meeting and marrying a Republican strategist. I doubt she'd do the same work now. If anyone wishes to get a good handle on the modern conservative movement in the US, then learning about the five men who are the subject of this book is absolutely essential. In the case to hand, Clint Bolick is the relevant fellow and the legal groups and projects he was and is involved in sit at the center of rightwing efforts to temper and turn back various civil rights initiatives, in part this is ideological and in part for the electoral advantage of the Republican Party. There's a clear strategy within all of this to paint positive racism and negative racism as moral and conceptual equivalents.

It is a yummy book, well written and damned informative.
0 Replies
 
 

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