How Race, Religion, Gender and Sex Are Stealing This Year’s Election
Hold on to your breeches, it’s gonna be a wild ride to the finish. If you haven’t gotten caught up in the election this year, one side or the other, you’re doing good. Me? I have to admit, with the emergence of Sarah Palin on the scene, I’ve gone from seeing McCain as a stale, boring old man to feeling a bit of excitement about this year’s election for the first time in a while, purely because of Palin. Am I wrong for that? Democrats might say yes and Republicans would say no. But no one can argue that this election has a certain dynamic that is really unprecedented.
This year’s election is different from all the others. Oh it’s the same, in that you have both parties claiming they’re the agents of change that will finally set the country straight and on a path to restoration and greatness, the likes of which we haven’t known for a long time. Both parties adamantly declare they are what America needs to cure what ails us though they’ve appeared the same old status quo political machines they have always been. For the most part, the issues that most Americans worry about, the economy, national security, immigration, welfare and healthcare are all pretty much the same and the parties’ responses predictable.
But there’s one problem. This year, it seems like the election is getting hijacked by lipstick, old-time religion, color and sex. Okay, make that four problems. Or nicely said, four things are dominating the election news this year. Gender, religion, racism and procreation are stealing the show and taking our eyes off the main issues. But is that bad? At least highlighting these four issues nonstop seems to have put it all out on the table with regard to what the politicians really think, people’s personalities and deeply or shallowly held beliefs. But even so, we are held captive to an intriguing quartet of distinctions.
Woo Pig Sooey!
Here we go. Ever since Sarah Palin said in her convention speech that the only difference between hockey moms and pitbulls is lipstick, the nation has gone crazy, energized for or against the high-heeled sweet-but-sharp talking barracuda from Wasilla, Alaska. What once was a race with three men in a man’s world, and probably a fourth, turned into a contest finally involving both genders. Since naming Palin his running mate, McCain has seen an infusion of energy and money into his campaign that no one saw coming. Palin now has dolls made in her image and the Democrats are scratching their heads about how to respond. Add to that the appearance that they’re being shown up by a female and all you-know-what seems to be breaking loose.
Now, gender of the candidates, for the first time, has really become a driving force in this election. Not taking anything away from Geraldine Ferraro who began tapping on that glass ceiling a few decades ago, or Hillary Clinton whose voters added 18 Million more cracks, but how do you handle a woman in this election? Well, it’s clear you shouldn’t say, “you can put lipstick on a pig, but you still have a pig,” as Obama did recently. The backlash, warranted or not, has been pretty stiff. You can’t question a mother running for V.P. and you can’t talk about teen pregnancy or disabled children without thinking really carefully about what and how you say it, fearing the oversized media maelstrom it creates. You sure don’t want to refer to a V.P. candidate as a pig, intentionally or not.
Old Time Religion
Fairly or not, Obama can’t seem to escape the dogged innuendo and rumors about his religious preferences. I’m sure most of you have seen the pictures of Obama in a Muslim outfit that created such a stir and caused many to people to wonder if Obama really is or was or might be Muslim. There has been “proof” that has been “proven” false. There have been pictures, emails, school records and questions to the extent that Obama’s alleged Muslim past is still an issue for many people, regardless of the truthfullness of said “evidence.” The issue with many folks goes straight back to the Bible. It seems it is an age-old issue between two world religions, Islam and Christianity.
And can anyone forget the right (make that left) Reverend Jeremiah Wright and his inflammatory remarks that pummelled Obama earlier this year, and continue to leave their mark well after the primaries? With his Black Liberation Theology, the pot has been stirred and seems to be swirling still as many question, “If Obama is not Muslim, does he espouse Black Liberation Theology?” Throw in Sarah Palin’s Pentecostal roots and reports on CNN of speaking in tongues and there is still more fodder for the religious right and the liberal left and anyone else willing to jump in the melee. An army of 30 lawyers and investigators has apparently invaded Alaska and I’m convinced Palin’s religion will be near the top of their investigative list.
Religion has been injected, for better or worse, into this race like no other in my lifetime. Religion has been important to Americans ever since the first ship left the homeland in search of religious freedom. We have religious freedom now but we’re sort of held hostage to all those folks, especially on the web, that throw around all kind of information, misinformation and disinformation.
Funny Looking Man
It’s obvious that Obama has darker skin than my pale easy-to-burn fair skin. But just in case, he’s reminded America on several occasions, warning them to be wary of the Republicans who will constantly remind us of what we can already see. Not that the Republicans have reminded anyone, mind you. Why should they when Obama does so whenever he can? Oh, he’s got a funny sounding name, too, but that’s not the same as the man that look’s different than all those guys that pose on all of our money. Which brings me again to the obvious. Those other three in the race all happen to look more like me than Obama.
Just like gender and religion, it looks like the issue of race in this election has also staked its tent and is here to stay until Wolf Blitzer calls the election. Even so, who can deny that many people will be pulling the handle for Obama or McCain based on race alone? From those white bigots that will refuse to vote for a man with darker skin to those of color who will turn out in droves to vote for a man solely on the basis of race, the issue of color in this race will remain on the table.
Sarah Palin paraded her family in front of the camera, much to the joy of Republicans and much to the glee of Democrats. Huh? Unity between the parties? Not so fast my friend, as Lee Corso would say. When word got out that Sarah Palin’s daughter Bristol got pregnant, the boxing gloves came off. Republicans rushed to back up their newly promoted beauty queen as vicious attacks, rumors and innuendo cluttered the cable and network news and Democrats gloated that the abstinence-promoting goodie-twoshoes couldn’t manage her own household.
It really started earlier when bloggers accused the Palin’s Down Syndrome baby, Trig, of really being teen Bristol’s baby. Of course, that’s pretty much been proven false. But still, hanky panky never seems to go away in any election and it looks like there’s plenty to think about this time around. I doubt it will go away anytime soon in this cycle, either as rumors and tabloids hint at an affair by the right’s new posterchild for all it’s held dear. And that’s not to mention Obama kissing Biden’s wife on the lips and McCain with those “fatherly hugs” of his veep candidate.
Obama Versus Palin
When it comes down to it, those issues that are hijacking this election and taking us by the neck, gender, religion, race, and sex are the very issues that have to a great extent determined the course America has followed over the last couple of hundred years and molded us into the country we are today. What makes it intriguing is the stark contrast between two candidates. Obama, the Democratic candidate for president and Palin, the Republican candidate for vice-president. We’ve almost all but pushed McCain and Biden aside as we put our attention squarely on the faces of Palin (and her lipstick) and Obama (and the color of his skin). This election seems to come down to a contest between a white female, Palin, and her religion and a black male, Obama, and his religion. You almost couldn’t get anymore polar opposite if you had tried.
Maybe the tickets should be Obama/Palin vs. McCain/Biden. Now that would be a funny turn of events and that would be a change from the partisan politics and divisive rancor we’ve seen and of which some of us have even partaken.