(Do Not) Vote for someone just like me!

November 29, 2007
What has the world come to today? People are so desperate that they only trust themselves, or someone that looks more like them, preferably of the same race, gender or religion. One of the most important lessons that I was taught was to always remember to be open-minded and to be accepting of differences and diversity. We are all human beings, and as such, we need to work in the best interest of the collective whole to improve society and the quality of life. However, looking at the presidential campaign, I am coming to realize that voters are often scared or suspicious of those “different people”. So instead of being truthful to our ideals of integrity, competence and honesty, we compromise and lean toward those people that have a little more in common with us ie. same ethnicity. I believe that one should vote for a candidate based upon their experience, record and for what they stand for and not for who they are culturally and ethnically.
In the upcoming US presidential election, several new types of candidates have entered the campaign: Senators Clinton (female) and Obama (black). There has been much discussion about where their support will most likely come from. Barack Obama may not be attracting enough Black voters; according to a CNN poll of Black voters in October, Hillary Clinton was defeating Obama by 14% of the Black registered Democrats . But a few weeks ago, Obama’s wife, Michelle Obama, said, “Black Americans will wake up and get it.” Michelle Obama is implying that the Black citizens of the country will eventually decide to vote for Barack Obama, mostly because they are of the same race. She justifies her statement by expressing that Black Americans simply “fear the possibility” of something new such as a Black President in the US, when they have been oppressed for so long, and have had such limited opportunities in much of society. Possibly supporting Ms. Obama’s hypotheses, Oprah Winfrey, for the first time in her long career as one of the most prominent African American media stars, has decided to endorse a political candidate: Barack Obama . If in actuality, Ms. Winfrey’s support for Obama derives from her own background, does this justify the idea that one should decide whom he or she should vote for based on ethnicity and race?
Hillary Clinton, another “first” presidential candidate, is currently the major player on the Democratic side. Many people, especially women, are choosing to vote for Hillary Clinton, not only because she supports their views (which would allow many other democratic candidates to fit the category as well), but also because they believe that as a woman she will do a better job. Men have traditionally held positions of power and leadership in this country, and distrust of male leadership has been a growing sentiment among many voters. Some argue that the corruption, injustice, lies, war and poor family support policies are the product of men leading our country. Consequently it is time to vote for the ‘other’ candidate: in this case a woman.
So the question is do African Americans or women carry a special trait that white males do not, that would enable them to feel, act and be different when exercising authority and control? Scientific studies have yet to find this trait. The opinions and political experience that the candidate embodies should be the determining factor for a voter. With their wealth of political experience and knowledge, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are both strong candidates, and it should be possible to vote for the one who will be the best person for the position and NOT for the one who is or looks like you.

Works Cited:

Ridley, http://www.npr.org/blogs/visibleman/2007/11/michelle_obama_and_the_ slumber.html

Saul, http://www.nydailynews.com

Zeleny, http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/05/03/oprah-endorses-obama-2/

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