Rant of the Week: So after months of hinting at it, Colin Powell finally endorsed Barack Obama. This endorsement has prompted Republicans like Rush Limbaugh to suggest that Powell is only voting for Barack Obama based on race. I find these notions that African-American voters are voting for Obama solely on the basis of race particularly troubling. Especially when Republicans try to bring up blacks voting for Obama as a way to defend or excuse the white racists voting for McCain-Palin. Not the same thing, my friends!
First of all, most African-Americans do not blindly vote based on race. Sure, there are many more blacks that will likely vote in this election because they are energized by the idea of a Black President, but they would not be voting for Obama if he was a Republican. Think about the frustration that many black voters have for Alan Keyes and Clarence Thomas. For most black voters, race is meaningless if the candidate of choice does not appear to advocate for policies that benefit many African-Americans. The idea that blacks are ONLY voting for Obama because of his race is insulting to the millions of African-Americans who are making a rational, informed decision about who they are voting for.
Secondly, it is pretty ridiculous to say that white racists who are voting against Obama based on race are the same as black voters voting for Obama. White racists are voting based on hatred, bigotry and fear of the unknown. By and large, this is not the motivation for blacks to support Obama so the two cases are not quite comparable.
What's more, Colin Powell lists specific reasons for his support for Barack Obama. Among his reasons, he notes his disappointment with John McCain's campaign and his VP choice of Sarah Palin as running mate. Even Republicans have to admit that these reasons are not exactly coming from left field (no pun intended!) .
And while many Republicans criticize black voters for voting for a Black candidate based on race, they seem completely fine with female voters voting for Sarah Palin based solely on gender - in fact they welcome it and look for opportunities to exploit her "womaness." For shame.
Ok, stepping off soapbox now...