I support Barack Obama.
I am a Democrat. I am a feminist. I am liberal.
I am also a realist.
There are a lot of reasons why Barack Obama won the presidential election in 2008 and those same reasons are in play now in 2012. The primary reason Barack Obama won in 2008 is because the "White guy" and his running mate against him in comparison did not instill a sense of competence to lead a nation. However, no matter how afraid those that were on the fence were about having a Black President, the alternative being offered up by the republicans was so fringe, many just couldn't bring themselves to vote republican. Race mattered then just as it does today, if not more. If the republican candidates had been more centrists, verbally and intellectually competent, there would be no President Obama. Of this I am sure.
America for 200 years has always had a White male occupying the White House. As a nation it was a given that every 4 years we would compare two White guys and decide which one we like (or dislike) the most. One may be brunette or blond, bald, short or tall, thin or fat, ugly or attractive....but a constant was going to be one thing for sure, he would be White. That all changed with the election of Barack Obama and research and studies bare out that race plays a part in how he is viewed and treated as our president. I work for a Jewish Attorney that proclaimed emphatically "HE IS NOT MY PRESIDENT!" He was not kidding around, he was being quite serious.
Study after study reveals that Americans - even those that say race doesn't matter - view President Obama's ethnicity first and his ability to govern second. He is in the eyes of our nation and maybe even the world, a Black man first, and with that distinction firmly planted in how he is viewed a narrative of who he is takes form. His capabilities and intellect, skills and shortcomings. We live in a world where having a Black supervisor, business owner and boss are second nature to most. But only to a certain extent. There is a glass ceiling for women AND for Blacks. Lead a grocery store? Sure. Lead a nation like America? Hmmmm.....
Of course it's insulting and wrong, but the realist in me recognizes this is how some people actually think.
So here we are approaching the fall of 2012. Months away from the big election. Once again the republicans have chosen a White male that has good ideas but the packaging of those ideas is not palatable. This man has chosen a younger, attractive and well spoken running mate that he believed would stir up his base. Someone that would say and do all the things he himself would not do. And much like in 2008 the republican party has made the mistake of believing they can win a national election by speaking only to a segment of our society. That they can get away with offending minorities, women, Gays, the elderly and poor. Speak against unions and feign a love of military all while speaking loudly and often about cutting military budgets. Be vocal about their love of God and condemn anyone that doesn't share their Christian beliefs. That if they can just get that White farmer in Iowa or that White blue collar guy in Philly to back them up, they'll win.
But it doesn't work that way. All of the groups and people they won't speak to - the ones they don't care about - make up the majority in America. To everyone that rolls their eyes while reading this and dismisses the issue of race in this election, let me ask you this. If Barack Obama had chosen a Black politician as his V.P. would you still have voted for him? If his cabinet was filled with Black men and women with only one or two White people, how would you feel?
Now take into consideration the polar opposite of what I suggest has been our norm for 200 years. Two White men have always, since the beginning of our nation - led our country. It is what we have come to expect and all we have known.
As a politics junkie, I am following this race very carefully. I listen to what the right and left has to say. NPR, MSNBC, Fox News, even Rush Limbaugh....I listen carefully. Much of what is coming from the right that is being said about Barack Obama is true (much of it isn't). There is a reason why top business owners and leaders aren't supporting him and have stood in his way and blocked his ability to create jobs. And no, not all of it is because he is a democrat. There is a reason why a lot of congress doesn't want to work with him in a bipartisan manner, and no, not all of it is because he is a democrat. The "gentle" ads that are running from the right featuring supposed men and women that supported Obama in 2008 but now speak about how "Obama is a nice guy, just not up to leading America" -isn't about him being a democrat.
The reality is, that if the republicans had put up as their candidates for president and vice president more centrist minded, open minded and intelligent men.....Obama would not be re-elected this November. There would be no tight polls. Instead it would be a land-side for the republicans. But they didn't. They chose the same types of narrow minded candidates now as they did in 2008. People that think in a small and divisive manner. Those that are not ready to lead an entire nation and represent America on a global stage.
So 2012 will not see a White man in the White House as we have become accustomed to. No, it will be another year of a man of color occupying it. It will be another 4 years of the right moving further and further to the right as if to avoid being anywhere near "that foreign guy that is running the country" As if to avoid themselves from getting to close to him for fear they may catch something. No indeed, much better to move as far away from him as possible.
But come 2016 I predict a White male will occupy the White House again. And with that election Americans will go back to breathing easier. We will get back to functioning in the manner we have for 200 years. The great experiment of allowing someone that "looks" different to lead our nation will be over. From it, some good occurred, but also some bad. However, it will be a test that many will use as an example of how we should not tamper with the norm. Better to play it safe with what we know. No more people of color in the White House. Certainly not a woman....Heaven forbid.
I predict in 2016 business leaders will get back to working hard to put people to work knowing that as they succeed, so too does the republican party. Wall Street will thrive in the face of all the money being generated by the (once again) tax breaks and special interests afforded to the top 1%. Politicians will suddenly embrace working together for the sake of appearing bipartisan. There will be no discussion or debates in regard to whether the White man elected president is or is not a true American. There will be no discussions about his legitimacy to hold office due to where he was born. In 2016 there will be no concerns about voter fraud and the need to shake things up in terms of identification required to vote. It will be to the contrary, easier to cast a vote in all states.
Yes....2016 a White man will be in the White House again, and life will return to normal.