President-Elect Barack Obama
Congratulations are in order to everyone for selecting Barack Obama as the next president of the United States. For me, this is the only outcome that would have felt as though a real, positive, change had occurred, and it has absolutely nothing to do with the color of his skin. Refreshingly, Barack Obama’s ascendancy to the presidency was done without affirmative action policies, without racial preference politics, and without currying to race-based groups. He embraced an approach that articulated an inclusive vision that embraced all citizens (even those that did not vote for him), and that all citizens could feel welcome, and safe, to embrace.
How ’bout that?
Race, religion, even political divisiveness were put aside. He presented himself and his vision for world consideration. He was himself, and that was enough. Was some politics played? Of course! He’s still a politician. However, it was the man that introduced himself that so many people across so many lines, resonated with, and voted for.
Perhaps president-elect Obama’s example will be enough for those who yet believe that race-based preferential policies are necessary (many such groups were Obama supporters), to let go of the notion. It was most encouraging to have witnessed an ascendancy that was free of any “racial advantage” subtext.
He won because his ideas and methods resonated with the most, and prevailed over all others. More over, his methods have always been inclusive of all. As it relates to race, he pandered to none.
It’ll be interesting to see whether he supports retiring racial preference policies (as they are divisive and unnecessary). Or perhaps he’ll continue to simply make it a non-factor in his domestic policy making.
Much is made about race and ethnicity in America. These surface examinations are easy ways to apply meaning to the events and experiences of our lives that appear to be true, but are far from it, because the true causes run far deeper.
Surface examinations were done in the campaign for sheriff in Maricopa County, Arizona, where “illegal” immigrants from Mexico are painted as responsible for virtually all criminal activity in the Phoenix area. The incumbent won re-election. Yet, the vast majority of the people who come here from Mexico, legal or otherwise, do so to find work and earn a living to support their families. They take on jobs that would likely go wanting if employers had to rely only on Americans.
On the other hand, the act of smuggling human cargo across the border is in itself, a horrible practice, that needs to be shut down. However, it’s no reason to demonize or stigmatize all the people who come here from Mexico.
Perhaps a system that offers temporary work visas, along with registration of the immigrant, thereby eliminating the need for them to pay such exorbitant sums and risk their lives dealing with coyotes, Border Patrol agents, and Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) personnel, would diffuse the conflict.
If given the option, the vast majority of people would prefer to operate by legal means rather than illegal, and within fair systems than by systems that are inherently unfair. Yet, if the system is inherently unfair, such as when racial preferences are institutionalized, then people will seek to be among “the advantaged.”
Yet, branding one’s self “dis-advantaged” in order to “enjoy” the advantage is too high a price to pay for an advantage that is not even real. The system (and the politicians that support it) then gets all the credit for our success while we continue to live with our perception of failure.
Our practice of finding medical and medicinal treatments that are effective in light of a medical industry that is carefully orchestrated to keep us from them, is another example of “surface” versus deep understanding. Certain groups of people are believed to be “more prone” to certain manifestations of disease, such as heart attack, stroke, and cancer, when in fact, attitudes, belief, environment, and behavior are more telling. Furthermore, a belief that the body cannot return to health beneficially serves the purposes of those who would make a living off of our sickness via products and medical services, all at the expense of human health, and human lives.
These are all “old school” methods that have reached their time of retirement. May this be part of the change whose time has come.