Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Race 2012 - Take a Look In the Mirror

Last week, I watched as Mitt Romney put on the performance of a lifetime. I'll give him credit when credit is due, his ability to convince those so ready to be convinced went flawlessly. On the other hand, I watched Obama deliver a different performance, a calmer approach with a lot less "misrepresentation" of the facts.

Regardless of who said what and how it was said, or whether or not there was any truth in any of it- the one thing that is glaringly obvious: we all saw what we wanted to see.

If you support Romney, then you heard exactly what would appeal to a Republican. Buzz words and terms like "return the decision to the states" or "clean coal." (Which, by the way, is the biggest oxymoron- Clean Coal?!) On the other hand, if you are an Obama supporter, you heard the buzz words you might respond to like "Tax cuts for the middle classes" or "Investment in Green Energy."

At the end of the day - people heard and saw what they wanted to, maybe even what they have been conditioned to hear and understand. I feel the same way about how people react to race. I realize when I hear someone make a derogatory term about someone else, this may very well have come from that person's parents. They heard it and learned it from someone they admired. Hate or disregard for an entire race has to come from somewhere.. we aren't born ready to hate, we are conditioned.

When I ask some of the people I grew up with who they plan to vote for, especially if they are white, 9 times out of 10- it's Romney. When I ask "why?" the answer is always the same. Heck, I'll even quote one for you. This was the response from a guy I went to high school with, that is a decent, hard working guy... but his comment startled me. It was about the whole Big Bird scandal,

"It's sad that this is what liberals defend. I guess this is what their priorities are, never mind the important stuff like the economy or terrorists killing our people. PBS will survive without the taxpayers money, if it doesn't , oh well there are better things to watch anyway." 

That doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of the more race related comments. However, for me, there was a sensitive remark in that statement- the whole terrorist bit. Who was he talking about? Middle Easterners? That's when hits home for me. (Married to one.. middle easterner that is!)

Basically the issues Romney supporters list are: the culture of big government, health care, tax cuts, more spending, immigration.. oh.. and when they have consumed a few beers and get comfortable, the racial slurs sort of creep in. They do... they really do.

When I ask my African American or Latino friends who they are voting for, 9 times out of 10 it's Obama. Basically the opposite reasons- wanting health care reform, needing better immigration laws (maybe even amnesty,) spending for necessary programs.. etc. Then.. on the other hand.. every so often, I meet someone.. well.. same thing... it becomes about race.

What really gets me excited and hopeful is when I run into someone like me. Someone of the opposite race voting STRICTLY by the policies. There is that on both sides. Both have good reason to vote the way they are choosing. I admire that. It's clear- they have issues that need to be addressed, and their candidate stands on their side.

Sure, there are people that are white voting for Romney that genuinely agree with his policies and yes, there are African Americans voting for Obama, that genuinely agree with his - but the lines get a little blurred in friendly conversation. My question to you tonight - How can it NOT matter? Since there is a racial divide in our country (come on.. admit it..) how can we NOT seek those who side with our stance and views on these socioeconomic issues? I want to unite the country.. not divide. Who seems to be seeking to unite? Who seems to be dividing? Who is spewing more hateful rhetoric cleverly disguised as issues? Finally, are the racial issues more so socioeconomic versus actual blind hatred?

Lots to think about tonight...

Don't forget:
October 16th on PBS.

PS -  More on this later!!!!


monicastangledweb said...

Wow. These posts about race are startling in their honesty and candor. I love how you kept balance in your writing, looking calmly at both sides. Stating the facts. Such an impressive piece. Thanks for writing it!

monicastangledweb said...

Forgot to mention. Just realized that the next presidential debate is on the same night as premier of Race 2012 Documentary. Should make an interesting night. Oh, and maybe I'm not seeing it, but was going to pin your post to my Pinterest page, but you don't seem to have a Pinterest button. Is that correct?


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