There’s been a lot of talk this political season about racism in America, so let’s talk.
“Come now, let us reason.” Isaiah 1:18 (NIV)
“Come. Sit down. Let’s argue this out.” Isaiah 1:18 (The Message)
It’s been repeated over and over in the media that whites in America are racists, arguing that they will not vote for Barak Obama because he’s black. I agree that any person, white, orange, purple-striped, that says “I will not vote for <whoever> because s/he is black.” is making a racist judgement. But, is it not also true to say that those who say “I am voting for Barak Obama BECAUSE he is black.” are also making a racist judgement?
The fact of the matter is that race has absolutely nothing to do with anyone’s ability to serve in government or anywhere else. Honesty, integrity, character, experience, ability…..those are the important qualities.
But, I’m talking about race, because everyone else is, so let’s keep talking.
When you hear the term “African-American” in our country, what does that mean, exactly? The label “African-American” is most often associated with American citizens who are descendents of African slaves brought here by Europeans and others during the 17th – 19th centuries. We all know the history, at least the part about the white Europeans using slave labor to build their wealth in America. But let’s not forget that there were also Africans involved in the capture, buying and selling of their own countrymen. This was not a “white-on-black” crime against humanity, it was a crime against humanity, period. And the slave trade was finally abolished, due in large part to the work of a white Englishman, William Wilburforce, a Christian.
In both the claims of racism in politics, and racism in the persistance of the slave trade, there is guilt on either side.
Barak Obama, if elected, will be the first “African-American” president in U.S. history. His father was Kenyan, his mother a white American. His ancestral heritage, though, is not “African-American” in the way the label is commonly understood, although he portrays himself to be such.
A minor detail, right? Well, maybe, but let’s go back to that word “honesty.” We all know that politics is nasty business, but does that mean that we should give up on our desire for honesty and character in our leadership? I believe not. I’ve read portions of Obama’s “autobiography” Dreams from my Father: A story of race and inheritance, and The Audacity of Hope, and I can say without hesitation that I can’t vote for this man.
Not because he’s black, but because his vision for change in America is, at best, ambiguous. He isn’t who he wants me to believe he is, and if he can’t be honest about his true heritage then I have to wonder what else he is not being honest about.
But, this is so much bigger than politics. The more I learn about Obama, his life experience, background, associations, and ambitions, the clearer it becomes to me that his vision for change in America is to change America from what it was founded to be, a “shining city on a hill”, a place where we all have the freedom to choose to become the best we can be, or to choose to do nothing and suffer the consequences; the freedom to accept personal responsibility for our own destiny…into a country no different than any other, where government rules and the people follow, if not by choice then by “persuasion” that the government knows what’s best for the people and will impose that knowledge, whether the people want it or not.
That sounds like slavery to me.