slyvermont: (Resistance)
[personal profile] slyvermont
Barack Obama clinches the Democratic nomination for president tonight. As you know, I was torn about the voting decision between him and Clinton in the Vermont primary. I am disappointed she isn’t the nominee – I would love to see a woman president, and I do like her. I am happy with Obama, but I am particularly struck with the historical significance of his nomination, that a black man is receiving a major party nomination as president.

This is what I mean:

I am reading a book called “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln,” by Doris Kearns Goodwin. I knew Lincoln fought the Civil War to preserve the union, and that his original goal was to prevent the spread of slavery rather than its abolition. But it still amazed me to read his words.

Said Lincoln as he ran for office: he had “no purpose to introduce political and social equality between the white and black races” and he was not in favor “of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry.”

The black man, said Lincoln, “is not my equal in many respects – certainly not in color, perhaps not in moral and intellectual endowment.” Lincoln conceded that the black man is only equal to the white man in “the right to eat the bread which his own hand earns.”

150 years ago, this attitude was commonplace, and most Americans weren’t even willing to grant the black man the right to earn money, as Lincoln was. We think of Lincoln today as the Great Emancipator, but in reality, he didn’t consider the black man his equal.

I am disheartened by the prejudice still expressed by many voters who say that they will never vote for a black man for president. I hope that if Lincoln were alive today he would vote for Obama. And I hope many Americans can overcome their prejudice and not cast a vote based on race. That a black man could be president was inconceivable 150 years ago; but it is a real possibility today.   

Date: 2008-06-04 03:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm not voting for him. But it's not because he's half black. Not only am I not fond of the company he keeps and do I find him an empty suit who says many pretty things that mean nothing, I'll say this for Hillary, she at least has a record. It's not one I particularly support, but inexperienced she isn't.

At least they turned it into a knock-down drag out fight. I hope the convention is a total free for all and battle--for once there'd be a political convention worth watching! I miss (well, not literally, I wasn't born) the good old days, when not only had no idea who the VP would be, you couldn't even be sure who the nominee would be. FDR making a call in '44 and essentially annointing Harry Truman his successor (the man had to know he was dying and his veep would take over) against Truman and half the party's wishes...THAT was politics for you. Nowdays I don't remember the last time I watched a convention. The GOP will be a snooze, so here's hoping Hillary makes this one interesting.

Date: 2008-06-04 10:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
They had a story on ABC about how the vast majority of people under 30 are not even registering that Obama is a black man in polls. I think that's huge progress.

We are a product of the times in which we live. I think Lincoln can still be remembered as the man who took those first steps. Beliefs don't change overnight (or over years, apparently).

Date: 2008-06-04 04:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
What's amazing (and sad in hindsight, but you can't judge historical people by today's standards) is that these views Lincoln had were still somewhat PROGRESSIVE for his time.

How far we've come, eh? We still have a long way to go, but how far we've come is still a thing to be glad for.

Me, I'm firmly in the Republicans for Obama camp. I think he's exactly what our country needs right now.


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