Carnes: Election no place for affirmative action | VailDaily.com
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Carnes: Election no place for affirmative action

Barack Obama will not be president of the United States because he is black.

Surprised?

Shocked?

Confused?

How you interpret that statement reveals a great deal about what kind of person you actually are, down deep, behind whatever public facade you pretend exists.

If you understand it to mean Obama will not become president due to the color of his skin, well then, perhaps you are a true racist at heart (and thus thoroughly deserving to spend the rest of your miserable little solipsistic life shuddering in the corner out of fear from those different from you, but I digress).

It could also mean you are a jaded child of the ’50s or ’60s (or even the ’70s) and your parental-injected scruples disinfect your ability to look at the world from any other angle (think: religion).

Or maybe you are convinced that only voters of like color will choose Obama, and since voters of color are generally the least likely to vote on any given Election Day, then his odds of receiving enough votes to win based on that criteria alone are simply slim at best.

On the other hand, there are those of you who just read my opening statement to mean Barack Obama WILL become president of the United States, yet his skin color will not be the reason.

Go ahead, read it again.

Regardless of in which category you just placed yourself, accept the fact that you are obviously willing to be categorized, thus qualifying you as a typical American voter.

Hooray for you.

Now realize I could have just as easily switched a few words and still ended up with similar results.

Replace “Barack Obama” with “Hillary Clinton” and “because he is black” with “because she is female” and the results are comparable. “Racist” would become “sexist” for condemnation’s sake and so on.

Use Mitt Romney, Mormon and infidel and most of it fits.

Kucinich and nerd, Giuliani and Sept. 11, McCain and POW, Edwards and perfect hair, etc.

My stereotyping point is the same either way; one year from now we will have elected a new American president and, like it or not, he/she/it will have the distinct pleasure of leading 300-plus million of us through the end of this century’s first decade and all the way, at least, until 2012.

It’s a highly important decision for each of us, as the choice affects our children, our children’s children, etc., and we have less than 12 months to decide which candidate best fits our personal bill.

Think it’s a waste of time to bother this far in advance? Think again.

Those of you apathetically waiting to vote with your one-dimensional finger need to learn to use your entire body. This presidential election is not for the bi-annually self-righteous “suddenly-giving-a-damn” about gay marriage and abortion, nor is it for those living in the isolationism of closing their collective eyes towards reality while waiting for magical beings to come and take them away to a better place.

Nope, this one is for the rest of us, the rational Americans of voting age capable of critical thinking who actually wish to see our family, our country, and our species continue in a positive direction.

This upcoming election will have a direct impact upon (in no particular order) the Iraq/Iran/Afghanistan crisis, the future of Israel, Pakistan and India, the current housing crisis, health care, stem-cell research, illegal immigration, products made in China, climate change, solar and wind power, tax cuts, the next Federal Emergency Management Agency debacle, education, gun control, drug laws, the national debt, the dollar at an all-time low while oil and gold are at an all-time high, and so much more.

Regardless of silly political affiliations, we all must pay attention to the candidates and their views over the next year. Whether you are currently convinced Ron Paul is a savior or Fred Thompson, the ultimate actor, is irrelevant as long as your choice is reached with critical thought.

The integrity of the individual and ability to act with their primary interest being the future of the United States at heart, will always trump who raises the most money or has the best skin color or looks better in a dress.

And that’s the way it should be.

NOTE: The preceding opinions belong to Richard and are not necessarily shared by this newspaper … but they should be.

Richard Carnes of Edwards writes a biweekly column for the Daily. He can be reached at poor@vail.net.


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