November 16, 2008

An Obama Presidency erases American hypocrisy?

Let me preface this with a comment that I am in no way racially motivated. This represents an analysis of a supposedly post-racial presidential race.

I received an email from a friend who knew someone heading back to the US on Nov. 4th to vote in order to prove that America is a hypocrite (that's a broad, vague statement, but I'm assuming it's with regards to electing a black president).

What a silly notion. The United States would have no problem electing a black president, but this was true before Obama. Go back to 1996 or 200 and if Colin Powell had run he could have won. People assuming there is a glass ceiling without trying to break through are an unfortunate lot. America, more than anywhere else in the world is the land of opportunity and that, is colour-blind. Using a ceiling as an excuse for failure is just not trying hard enough. And it guarantees a failure.

Hypocrisy exists in the fact that many rich donors routinely support Democrats rather than Republicans, either out of guilt or out of the fact that they know the Democrat party loves tax loopholes that allow the rich to get away with obscene tax savings they don't deserve. And yet the Democratic party is the one subtly promoting class warfare - with it's tax the rich approach to everything. Did you ever wonder why they would act opposed to their self-interest? Here's a hint - they don't.

The Republican view of equality is equality of opportunity, the Democrat view is equality of outcome. That is not equality, it's socialism. You are more deserving of success than someone who didn't make it because of (i) your efforts at self improvement in school and afterwards (ii) your work ethic and (iii) your specific skills. You should not feel guilt over it, because you've earned your success. If you want to level the playing field, you don't pay more tax, you make sure everyone else has the same opportunity for quality education. You do that either through competition like school vouchers, or having teachers meet certain qualifying criteria (for example). In any case, you do not re-distribute the wealth.

Let me give you a quick analogy. Think of a football game. A level playing field is just that, not one sloped towards one end. Republicans want to ensure that the field is level before the game starts. What Democrats want to do is avoid a 56-10 final score, so they don't level the playing fields, they shave points of the winning side and give them to the losers. In essence, making the final score 36-30. Now I ask you this - what is the incentive for either team in that scenario to workout, to practice, to devise new plays to run? Not much.

The hypocrisy exists in the fact that for 50 years the Democrats have been championing racial equality under a false premise. Support us and we will support you. 50 years of welfare have made things worse - single parent families have gone way up in the black community during the last 50 years as replacing fathers with a welfare cheque has re-enforced a dependency environment and created a circular process - poverty leads to welfare to broken families which leads to a lower pursuit of higher education which leads to more poverty. And this circular process also leads to a dumbing down of the American workforce (broader than just by race).

The hypocrisy exists in hiring quotas that put unqualified people into certain jobs rather than ensuring that they are educated properly to do those jobs well.

The hypocrisy exists in creating a culture of dependence rather than independence. You know the old proverb about giving a man a fish versus teaching him to fish?

Seriously, if someone is voting for Obama to prove a point or for racial reasons, they are being short-sighted. What if he turns out to be terrible because he wasn't really well vetted? How much harder does that make it for the next black candidate, even if they are exceptionally qualified? There will be an inherent scepticism before he/she has a chance. What does that do for equality of opportunity? Yes, America is in need of a black president, but in my opinion this is just not the right guy. The timing of getting a black president doesn't matter, what matters his ability. The same goes for a woman VP or any other group that feels excluded. Hell, I'd vote for a cross-dressing, Vietnamese albino midget if I thought his policies made sense. And I'd do it in a heartbeat. What matters is the content of their character, their vision and their ideas.

The hypocrisy is in voting to prove you aren't a hypocrite (as person or as a nation). The idea that America is overdue for a black President is not justification for voting that way. Does that mean a woman has to be elected next, then a homosexual, then a Mormon, then a Latino, then an amputee, etc.? Just so there can have been a one of everything? There's more groups to satisfy that way than there are cycles to vote in.

The biggest hypocrisy is that the first black President, won in large part due to his skin color. America did not really prove it's become post-racial. In fact it may have proven that to some people the superficial matters more than the man. And for the enlightened intellectual 'elite' the reality of that has yet to set in.

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