NoisetteandtheDude’s Blog

October 25, 2008

Some thoughts from the Dude on race and the 2008 election

Filed under: Election 2008 — noisetteandthedude @ 9:28 am
Tags: , , , ,


Every week or so, American newspapers and broadcasters do a feature about race: the possibility of hidden bias, the Bradley effect, and what it all might mean in this election.  I’ve read them all, and they all reach the same conclusion: no one knows.

But once in awhile, you read something that actually makes you think about what the race issue is really about, and what’s really at stake this year’s election.  Sometimes, what you read is so eloquent and hits so close to your heart that you just have to share it.

So here it is, dear readers, from the New Yorker – a letter to their editors, after they endorsed Obama a couple weeks ago:

“In endorsing Obama, the editors suggest that his election ‘could not help but say something encouraging, even exhilarating, about the country, about its dedication to tolerance and inclusiveness.’  As a seventy-four-year-old African-American who was involved in the civil-rights protests in the nineteen-sixties, I, too, have drawn a connection between Obama and the journey that the United States has made in its attitudes and actions with regard to race.  I remember watching as black people went to the town hall to register to vote carrying American flags; the local police jerked the flags away from their hands and turned them away.  My parents told me of how German soldiers detained in Arkansas were served in white-only restaurants while black soldiers in uniform were forced to go to the backs of those restaurants to get food from take-out windows.  Many civil-rights workers, black and white, died attempting to push the U.S. to live “the values it proclaims in its textbooks.”  The election of Barack Obama will not mean that the struggles about race will be no more, nor will it erase the painful memories of my generation.  But it will be a clear sign that my four-year-old granddaughter will grow up in a nation quite different from the nation that existed when I was her age.  And, because of that, every American has reason to rejoice.”
–Gibert H. Caldwell, Asbury Park, N.J.

So I sent Gilbert Caldwell’s letter to my kids and grandkids in an email, with this addendum:

Amen, Gilbert!  As a grandpa with three granddaughters of the same racial mix as Barack Obama, I couldn’t agree more.  

Interestingly, two of you grandkids are voting for Obama, along with all four of you, my darling children, who know you’ll be disowned if you don’t (and you have SO much to lose – HAHAHA).  

I forgive you Naomi, for not voting, being as how you’ve been all caught up in going to college and not thinking clearly.  This time.  I couldn’t vote at 18, either Naomi.  But Lord, I wanted to: I wanted to vote for Kennedy, especially after our Lutheran minister in Minnesota told us from the pulpit that we simply MUST NOT VOTE FOR A CATHOLIC.  

Unfortunately, I was 18 in 1960, and the voting age wasn’t lowered to 18 until a year or two later.  So to get back at the turds for not letting me vote for Kennedy, I voted for Goldwater in 1964, and Nixon in 1968.  

Sometimes, I can really hold a grudge.



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