Sunday, January 20, 2008

Identity Politics - Christopher Hitchens 

This post is not directly related to issues concerning families with young children.

I was sent one of the ever present political email messages by a friend. Moments later, I was sent a retraction email with an apology. Apparently, I was supposed to be very afraid of Obama because of his religion. The friend checked Snopes.com and found out that he was not secretly a closet radical Muslim.

There is much to consider this campaign season. Religion, race and gender are out front earlier than I remember in past seasons. But there are some issues that are old but being played in a new way. There are serious amounts of energy being spent on figuring religion, race, and gender out for this political field.

There is a real piece of commentary by Christopher Hitchens on identity politics. He is a journalist that I was first exposed to on Dennis Miller's HBO program several years ago. He drinks probably more than he should, is a self-avowed atheist, and a former socialist. Yet, he writes with a clarity of thought that I find refreshing.

I ask you to read his commentary. The point - Obama and Hillary are both playing the identity card. Obama wants us to ignore his race but also vote for him as the first African-American presidential candidate. Hillary wants us to ignore her gender but also vote for her as the first female presidential candidate. He gives a sound foundation for his opinion and does not slander either candidate with untruths to do so. Read it.

The closer -

Not to dampen any parade, but if one asks if there is a single thing about Mr. Obama's Senate record, or state legislature record, or current program, that could possibly justify his claim to the presidency one gets . . . what? Not much. Similarly lightweight unqualified "white" candidates have overcome this objection, to be sure, but what kind of standard is that?

I shall not vote for Sen. Obama and it will not be because he -- like me and like all of us -- carries African genes. And I shall not be voting for Mrs. Clinton, who has the gall to inform me after a career of overweening entitlement that there is "a double standard" at work for women in politics; and I assure you now that this decision of mine has only to do with the content of her character. We will know that we have put this behind us when -- as with the vowel -- we have outgrown and forgotten the original prejudice.

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