The Year of Moving Forward

The Year of Moving Forward
At our 4 person wedding reception in DC

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Barack in the Tribune

My column in The Western Tribune is about Barack Obama and race, and is not an endorsement of Obama. I am undecided as to who I will vote for, and will comment on several candidates as the primary approaches. Also, I have not seen the paper yet so I do not know what the headline above the column is and when I learn what it is I will edit it in to this post.


It’s not often, I hope, that words on a bathroom stall inspire a writer to press on with something he is considering. But a Shell station rest room in southwest Alabama provided me with just that inspiration: “Obama claims he is African American but that can’t be. He has a white mom.” Never mind that “African American” could mean one is of African heritage and American heritage, regardless of race, but my query is whether the black community in Bessemer would support him.

See, politics in Bessemer are heavily influenced by groups that form and operate along racial lines. One such group of black voters, a few years ago, refused to endorse a white candidate who they actually favored to win, and they ended up endorsing no one rather than endorse a white person. When I learned this, I wondered how much “white” can a person have before they lose the chance to be endorsed by such a group. And how, exactly do they decide who is too white and who is black enough. Making such a decision goes against everything that Martin Luther King, Jr., meant when he said he hoped his children would “not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

Scientists who study genetics and DNA have said that there are more differences within members of a particular race than there are between the races. And if you take it down to the elemental composition, we are all 65% oxygen, 18.5 % carbon, 9.5 % hydrogen, 3.3 % nitrogen, 1.5% calcium, and the rest tiny amounts of many other elements, regardless of our race or heritage.

In addition some are saying that Obama is not “black enough” because he has not had the experiences related to civil rights and growing up that many African Americans share. This is akin to saying that a physician who does not have diabetes can not understand and treat a patient who suffers from that disease, or that none of the presidents our country has had could address the concerns of women because they have not lived as one. Barack Obama, if elected, could surely represent the interests of us all.

Text messaging voters selected Jordin Sparks (who has an African American father and a “white mom”) as the new American Idol last week. Surely presidential primary voters can consider a candidate with the same heritage, and decide whether to vote for or against him based on his priorities and policies and not his color or lack thereof.


Another of the Hollyhocks

This Easter lily is confused

This is yarrow, and it is somewhat drought tolerant and hopefully will bloom all summer.

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