Saturday, February 2, 2008

All Politics is Local

If there is one thing law school has done, it has given me a distaste for politics. For example, Huckabee and Obama both made a recent campaign stop in my state. A student looking to carpool to the event sent out an email and a quick description of Huckabee as "former Arkansas governor and all-around good ol' boy." (Please note that this email came from our resident foreign named yankee who wears red cowboy boots who wouldn't know Jim Crow if he were having grits with him at a cafe counter- this is neither a criticism or defense of that person, rather it is context) Immediately, as if HuckabeeSupporter had dropped the "You People"-Bomb, another student of African American sent out an email saying "Please explain what good ol boy means." Oh snap!

All of this is to demonstrate the point that politics comes down to voting to the person most like you: look at the polls Women for Clinton, Blacks for Obama, and Good Ole Boys for Huck.

A buddy of mine and I were mourning the departure of our two individual candidates from the Presidential race earlier this week when out of nowhere a fellow student took offense when she overheard that I strongly supported Edwards. This student, who I did not know, approached me and shouted "Vote Obama or Die, Don't be racist vote for Obama!"

I intervene the story for more context: I've got a very multi-cultural friend base. If you were to look at the picture of my group of friends (when we are all together and home for the summer) we are stereotypically diverse enough to be in a high school text book- except we are still trying to recruit the Hispanic in a wheelchair. The point is, despite all presumptions about me due to my Southern Heritage, race is not a major issue to me in politics; especially when I am left without a candidate to support and would likely swing to anyone who took on some major issue which I feel strongly about.

I asked the rude student why that student supported Obama. The student replied with the television buzz word "Change." Upon further prodding, I could not get a substantiated reason as to why that student supported Obama- yet, I was the one presumed to base my electoral decision on race. My retort was, "When is Obama going to acknowledge the Sudanese crisis?" I then asked the student if that student or anyone the student knew had made any affirmative statement/action on Darfur (petition, WWJD-esque bracelet, t-shirt, rally, attend a lecture, anything). The student replied, "What's Darfur?"

It was exactly then that I realized every Darfur activist I know is white. Where is the NAACP or Al Sharpton on the Save Darfur Board of Directors? When will Black America step up in the activist efforts to save Darfur?

The Disclaimer Required since I am an Anglo American Protestant Male: I am in no way making a derogatory statement toward any group. I am, merely, engaging in an intellectual, thoughtful, open-minded, and embracing discussion in an effort to help a people to which I have no connection other than compassion.

And if you are curious, my other issue: Stem cell research. What happened to it? Why is it no longer at the forefront of the presidential debates?


B3 said...

Great post - solid points.

The encounter you had with the fellow student reminds me of the recent statement from NOW-NYS.

It's an unsettling trend when people are quick to make terrible assumptions about someone based on candidate-choice rather then spend time evaluating their own politics.

carlicahn said...

I, too, lament the loss of John Edwards.

Seems like we're now faced with choosing an inexperienced idealist, an experienced (and probably corrupted) emotionally challenged woman, an irate ex-POW with questionable morals (check out the Reform Institute), a flat-tax fundamentalist who hates Gays, and a boring Northeast Mormon. And there's not a single distinctive policy issue to really differentiate them (intra party, not inter party).

El Guapo said...

It strikes me that coming out of Iowa, where the candidates had weeks to introduce themselves, each party made a rationale choice. Now that candidates are getting voted on by people who haven't seen them as much and resources are scarce, insiders with organization are pulling ahead... again.

meg said...

I believe the stem cell research debate died when they discovered that cells taken from other parts of the body are acceptable substitutes (or at least, they "reported" that they discovered as much), which leaves everyone on both sides of the argument mollified and without a leg to stand on (as researchers keep on keepin' on doing the research, in ways we don't understand.)

Stem cell research is like abortion. People care, but generally it slides to the back of the political discussion when more pressing and personal issues come up.

Oh, I'm a woman, and not for Hilary. Also not for Obama. Not sure who I like yet, but I don't vote till Feb 12th, so I have some time. :)