It’s 11:22 pm and I’m at work. Barak Obama has just been elected the next president of the United States. Good for him. He obviously had plenty of supporters as well as the message that most Americans wanted to hear. He has been very gracious throughout the entire election, and has set an excellent example in campaign policy. I don’t expect him to gloat publicly over his win.
On the other hand, I have already encountered a (hopefully) small cadre of voters of varying persuasions voicing their opinion on the election. I checked out the comments on Nola.com and note two polar opposites of reactions. Some supporters of Obama gloat maliciously on his victory. Some McCain supporters bitterly predict the utter downfall of the country and pronounce their desire to leave, which is egged on by the Obamans. The normally nasty tones of racism have risen on Nola.com to a frightening crescendo. Several of my black friends have repeated multiple times in the same conversation to me that Obama won and made sure I noticed the blazing neon sign that Obama will be the first African-American president. Other black folks I’ve encountered on the street were overheard on their cell phones declaring “their” victory.
I would like to point out some illogic to the opinions I’ve highlighted here. First, though not exactly a point of illogic, yes, Obama will be the first African-American president. It has however, been pointed out since the days of the Emancipation Proclamation that one day, a black man would sit in the White House. After a hundred and fifty years, this will now happen. My point is that we all knew that sooner or later there would be a black President of the United States. Everyone knew this would happen eventually, so why is it a big deal that it happened today? It is akin to saying that one day there will be an earthquake in California or a blizzard in Denver. We know it was going to happen; so what? Let’s just hope he is up to the task, regardless of his heritage.
Another point highlighted above is the black locals declaring “their” victory. I note two instances of illogic in this. First, the African-American community, though vocal, is in fact still a minority in the United States. If every single black voter voted for Obama, and only fifty percent of the European-American constituency voted for McCain, McCain would have carried the majority of the popular vote. But this did not happen. Why? Because the majority of the white vote was also for Obama. Obama was elected because white voters elected him. It is therefore illogical for African-American voters to claim victory for “their” candidate because of their vote when he was actually elected because of an overwhelming white majority. However, it is encouraging to see the black community so enthused about the electoral process, particularly since this segment of America has been historically lackluster when it comes to voting.
Secondly on the same point, locals in New Orleans or anywhere in Louisiana, cannot technically claim victory for electing Obama, since the state’s electoral college elected McCain. Though there are some vehement Obama supporters, overall, McCain took Louisiana in the popular vote, which means his state electors selected him in the electoral college (which is actually the real election). Since it’s fresh in your mind, remember how at the polling place there were the presidential candidates' names and nine names in smaller print below each name? Those are the electors’ names. Louisiana has nine electors; this number is based on our population. When you vote, you actually say, ‘I want those nine people to select my candidate.’ McCain voters actually selected McCain’s nine people, who in turn said ‘McCain is the guy Louisiana wants as president.’ Since more people selected McCain’s nine electors than selected Obama’s nine electors, the electoral college from Louisiana chose McCain in the real election - the electoral college selection. Therefore, though Obama’s supporters have every right to cheer for his winning, he did NOT win because of Louisiana voters, so it is illogical for Louisiana voters to regard his victory as their victory.
Third is a point that I am astounded I feel I must remind people of. Though Obama’s campaign slogan was “Vote for change,” and that word, “change” was malleted into everyone’s heads at every opportunity, such a campaign promise has been the foundation of every politician’s campaign since democracy was invented. How many campaign promises have been uttered, only to go unfulfilled? For example, does anyone remember “Read my lips; no new taxes”? Several years later, that campaign promise was proven false. No doubt, Mr. Obama has excellent ideas for changes in government. But is must be kept in mind that the presidency is only one branch of our government. The president is not king or dictator. The Legislative and Judicial branches of the federal government exist specifically to provide checks and balances on the Executive branch, so that the Executive branch, the President, cannot rule the country alone. The President cannot simply say “today I decree that you will pay this much in taxes.” That exact situation happened over two hundred and thirty years ago, resulting in the American colonies declaring their independence from Britain and the Revolutionary War. It will not happen again without a similar war. Instead of sweeping, overnight changes in government, life will go on exactly as it has for you and me for years. We will continue to pay bills, raise children, have family get-togethers, go to work, be born and die as we always have. This will continue for the next four years and for millenia after that.
Finally, before anyone throws the “bitter grapes” card or the “racism” card at me, let it be known that I voted for neither Barak Obama nor John McCain. I voted for an “also-ran” candidate because I believed he had the best ideas for America. I was under no illusion that he would win, and was hoping that of the two front-runner candidates, Obama would win. Since I knew Ron Paul wouldn’t win, I feel Barak Obama is a good second choice for me, better than McCain. I am happy that he won. As I stated earlier, I am very pleased that black Americans have taken such a passionate interest in their government and hope it persists. I hope that the cretinous comments I have read and heard are from only a small, rude percentage of the population. I can only hope that both McCain and Obama supporters can be as gracious as both Obama is in victory and McCain is in defeat. No one likes a sore loser. And absolutely no one likes a sore winner.
1 month ago