Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Wait...Obama is Black?

Oh, my word, the digital ink being spilled over the issues of race and gender in the Democratic primary.

There is all manner of bizarre speculation about how these factors play into the decision making processes of the electorate but – even disparaging as I am about the average American’s knowledge of and interest in politics – I think they’re not giving us enough credit.

The dumbest of these ponderings has to be Gloria Steinem’s Op-Ed in today’s New York Times, which so certainly will be one of the most talked-about editorials in the entire political cycle, I won’t bother to review it in detail other than to say, whuh? Where does Steinem get off claiming that “Women Are Never Front-Runners”? Has she forgotten that up until last Thursday, and for about the last year, Hillary Clinton was “the front-runner”? And, as I write, she is ahead of Obama in the New Hampshire returns and so may be again?

Does she think we’ve all been living in some sort of vacuum and only discovered a week ago that we had a black man and a white woman in the race and started changing our opinions because there’s some unspoken agreement that black men get to be president first?

I also really can't fathom the suggestion that white folks are supporting Obama because "it's time" we had a black president. After 7 years of President Bush, with all of the problems facing this country (economy, war, security, civil rights), no one is saying "let's try a black guy." We're saying, "We need someone who can fix this country." We'd vote for a Martian, if s/he had a convincing plan for getting us out of Iraq, saving the environment and restoring our global credibility (and if it weren't unconstitutional). Obama's skin color is merely a bonus, a milestone on the long national road toward reconciliation after our shameful past. The same goes for Clinton's gender: a nice, and important, milestone. We'll get there, this year, or some other year. But right now, we've got bigger problems.

I am glad that Clinton did so well in the New Hampshire primary, honestly. Our electoral system has some pretty enormous flaws, and it would be a tragedy if the nominee was crowned after one primary and a really silly caucus. There's a lot of campaigning left, and that's a good thing.

Hillary Clinton is a totally viable candidate. She's smart enough, she's experienced enough, she's tough enough (and that's not a sexist comment; I'm sure we can all think of men who couldn't handle it, either...hi!), and she's got solid policies. I wouldn't let her drive my car, but she's capable of governing the country.

So, on to the next primary, and may the best man win.


Gino said...

when we can no longer say "his color is a bonus" then the monkey business will be finished.

i never cared about his color, and i never considered him black.

but maybe thats because i'm a little more aware of cultural distinctions that transcend pigmentation.

but at least liberals are now finally coming around to putting their own race and gender ghost to rest, like the rightwing has already done so long ago.

for the right, the only thing wrong with marge thatcher was that she was brit. they would have drafted her if they could. and colin powell was damn near offered the GOP nomination 10 yrs ago.

personally i'd rather a Ron Paul of any color or gender, than an blck/white/not black enough/ whatever he is today Obama.

but i was really hoping obama would deliver the final blow tonight. he let me down.

the clintons arent going away.
but i predicted two yrs ago who the next president will be, and as much as it pains me, i'll stand by and defend that prediction on its merits.

so, andy... you WILL have hillary to defend. happy about that?

Andy said...

I don't see myself defending Hillary. Even if she is the Democratic nominee, I would have strong reservations about supporting her. I said she's qualified; so is Mitt Romney, and I ain't votin' for him, neither. If Hillary is the nominee, I may have to abstain, unless it once again comes down to the necessity of voting for the lesser of two evils. Which is why I'm supporting Obama.

like the rightwing has already done so long ago

You said it, Macaca.

Drew80 said...

Please forgive me for being off-topic, but I read your 2006 entries about Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, and I enjoyed them very much, especially the entry about your individual lesson with that fabled artist. It was fascinating reading, I thought.

Did she show up at the lesson looking like a hausfrau? I have been told that, except for official functions, she dressed like a cleaning lady.

You should write more about your time in Zurich. You had experiences there that most persons will never be able to enjoy. I, for one, would like to hear more about that time.

Did you ever sing under Welser-Most during your time in Zurich, if you do not mind my asking?

I have always loved the city of Zurich, most of all because of its many excellent museums. I have also long been an admirer of the Zurich Opera. My father was in Zurich a couple of months ago, and he attended a performance of "Konigskinder" at the Zurich Opera. He said the performance was at the highest possible level. Jonas Kaufmann appeared in the tenor lead, and Metzmacher was the conductor. Apparently Metzmacher is being courted to suceed Welser-Most once Welser-Most moves on to Vienna.

I heard Measha Brueggergosman in recital this evening. Do you have any thoughts about her? Miss Brueggergosman would have benefited greatly, I believe, by a few lessons with Miss Schwarzkopf. Perhaps you can pass on to Brueggergosman what you learned from Madame Schwarzkopf?

Again, I apologize for being off-topic. It seemed silly, however, to enter a comment on a post almost two years old.


Andy said...

Oh, Franz Welser-Most. Yeah. He conducted the Don Carlo I was in in Zurich. Incredibly intelligent man. Cold as a frozen fish.

I've written a bit about my time in Zurich...though I might write some more in the future, one never knows.

Frau Schwarzkopf dressed quite normally for our lessons; she wasn't fancy; I'd say comfortable, but not distressingly casual. Mostly she was just so painfully direct. I know a lot of people say she was horrible and cruel (and, I heard the year after I left she came back and was AWFUL and was not invited again), but my experience with her was that she said what desperately needed to be said. As I think I mentioned, I was really surprised to find myself agreeing with her.

Zurich is a lovely city, but it's a very difficult place to be poor and a foreigner. They're very gracious (if not gregarious) toward tourists, but if you're living and working there, you are a 'foreigner' and they ignore you rather openly. And while the Zurich Opera has a rather astounding wealth of talent and money at its disposal, backstage was total, miserable chaos. A very unhappy, unhealthy place.

I'm not familiar with Ms. Brueggergosman (gesundheit), so I have nothing to offer, there.

Thanks for stopping by! Really, I'd rather talk about Schwarzkopf than politics any day.

Elizabeth said...

Sigh. Seems the women of New Hampshire have allowed the fact that Hillary can shed a tear to dictate that she's the one we should take pity on. How transparent was that? I guess not very to all those women who chose her.

I will vote for her if she's the nominee. I just won't be as happy about it as if it were Obama or someone more qualified or someone...gasp...left of center.

Matthew said...

Interesting post, Andy.

What I've found interesting is how Hillary's played-up the gender card a lot more than Obama has played-up the race factor (which he has done, to some extent).

What's even more quizzical about Clinton is how she will, in the same breath, denounce sexism, yet play into it in order to gain sympathetic votes.


little-cicero said...

So, in all matters of civil rights, is she saying that women come second to blacks?

As I understand it, women were considered citizens first, allowed to vote first, integrated into the education system first and were the first to carry axes and bust open taverns. As a matter of fact, the latter breakthrough of prohibitionist ladies was so outstanding, blacks didn't have a go at it until Watts. :)

I suppose I should argue in advance that I am not a racist, but it wouldn't do much good... :P

So there you have it. If history repeats itself, then Obama will not win. If Obama will not win, then the Republicans will.