- The Washington Times
Sunday, October 26, 2008

Race and the race

It will take a few decades before the myriad historical implications of the 2008 election are shaken out and sorted. For now, let’s glean our perspective in bits, like this rumination from talk radio host Neal Boortz, addressing a pivotal question:

Simply put, will black voters go with their race, or their politics?

“A caller to my show suggested that Barack Obama‘s ascendancy in the presidential sweepstakes was black America’s biggest accomplishment. I disagreed. Though I can’t remember the exact words, I said that, in a general sense, the shining moment for black America may have been the show of patience and restraint shown by black men when they returned from putting their lives on the line in World War II and in Korea to a country with segregated schools, colored waiting rooms, whites-only water fountains, beatings, lynchings, water hoses, police dogs and systematic discrimination. The restraint showed by black Americans during the civil rights struggles of the ‘50s and ‘60s, though not universal, was something to behold.”

“Now — try, though you won’t succeed, to put yourself into the mind of a black American. How can you experience or understand the legacy of segregation, violence and second-class citizenry your ancestors went through and not take pride in a black American on the verge of winning the presidency? How many black American voters do you think are uttering to themselves: ‘If my grandfather had only lived to see this.’ It takes a great deal of maturity and a clear understanding of the possible future consequences for someone to put their racial pride aside and swim against the tide on this one. So, there will be no name-calling, at least not here, for people who cast their vote on the basis of race in this election. It’s understandable.”

Attitude adjustment

On Nov. 5, the world could wake up to this headline: President Barack Hussein Obama. The cultural and global implications are numerous, and again, we must gain perspective in bits. This is Lincoln Mitchell‘s take in the Huffington Post:

“One of the great things about an Obama victory is that it will force a lot of people to rethink a lot of things. People outside the U.S. who have bought into the appealingly reductive anti-Americanism rhetoric of recent years will have to rethink some of their basic assumptions about our country. This will be particularly true among those on the European left who may want to stop and ask themselves what it tells them about the U.S., and their own countries, that somebody like Barack Obama will be our leader.”

“Right wingers in the U.S. will have to revisit their assumptions about the inherent racism and conservatism of the American people as well as the power of wedge issues to divide people and lead them to vote on their fears. … It is, however, the American left which will have to do the most intriguing and challenging rethinking of basic assumptions when Obama wins. For years now a central piece of the progressive worldview is that progressives are enlightened Americans in a sea of their ignorant, bigoted and narrow-minded compatriots. … This demonstrates an ugly contempt for voters, and in fact for democracy, that should have no place in progressive politics.”

Pop culture

Now that politics is covered like sports — or New Year’s Eve — our taste for partisan junk foods is rapidly evolving.

What do we crave? A very informal poll of political types reveals their quirky must-haves: Republicans wanted onion dip, Utz potato chips, ginger snaps. The Democrats liked Doritos, salsa, Oreos. Everybody wanted pizza. One independent insisted that Uneeda crackers was the answer to everything.

Well, maybe.

The highfaluting among us could consider Garrett Popcorn Shops, which offers limited-edition political tins of popcorn in 12 flavor combinations for “the festivities of November 4th” just ideal for the nervous, joyous or cracker-gnashing voters of every persuasion. The tins are available at their shops in Manhattan and Chicago or by same-day delivery.

Investigate the possibilities at www.garrettpopcorn. com or call 866/676-7267.

Days of yore

Happy birthday today to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. The New York Democrat — and Scorpio — was born in Chicago in 1947; for those not inclined to do the math today, that makes her 61.

Seven years ago today, President Bush signed the Patriot Act, an anti-terrorism law drawn up just weeks after the attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

Let’s not forget the full name, and the broader implications therein.

The USA PATRIOT Act is an acronym for “Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism.” The bipartisan legislation was meant to empower law enforcement and intelligence agencies to prevent future terrorist attacks, and, in Mr. Bush’s words, to “enhance the penalties that will fall on terrorists or anyone who helps them.”

Quotes of note

Who’s a bigger asset to John McCain‘s campaign? Is it Joe the Plumber or Joe Biden?” - WMAL morning host Fred Grandy.

“If we Democrats have ever confronted an ‘all hands on deck’ moment, this is it.” - Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Democrat, in a campaign message.

“I’m entertained at the elitist attitude towards a person who is proven leader.” - Sen. John McCain, on the rejection by certain Republicans of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

By the numbers

84 percent of Republicans and 77 percent of Democrats say the “American Dream” is what makes the country dynamic.

72 percent of Republicans and 86 percent of Democrats say the next president must “breathe new life” into the American Dream.

71 percent of Republicans and 54 percent of Democrats say anyone can achieve fame and fortune in America.

65 percent of Republicans and 47 percent of Democrats say the American Dream is alive and well.

57 percent of Republicans and 50 percent of Democrats say they are better off than their parents.

58 percent of Republicans and 46 percent of Democrats say the American Dream is an important part of their family history.

Source: A JWT survey of 2,112 adults conducted Sept. 11 to 19

Contact Jennifer Harper at jharper@ washingtontimes.com or 202/636-3085

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