The Black Candidate

I was shocked – SHOCKED! – to discover that race has actually been integrated into the Democratic Presidential primary race. I kid. I’m only surprised it didn’t come up sooner.

This got me to thinking about the black people who ran for President in my recollection. In all cases except the first, I’ll limit the discussion to the major-party candidates.

1968: I couldn’t vote yet, but my mother and father asked me whether they should vote for Dick Gregory, who was running on the Freedom and Peace Party, or to vote for Democrat Hubert H. Humphrey. Being a pragmatist at the time, I suggested the latter, but I did recognize the attractiveness about the idea of voting for a black man for President.
1972: Or black woman. If Shirley Chisholm had been on the ballot in my district, surely I would have voted for her in the Democratic primary. But getting on the ballot in New York was/is complicated, requiring getting delegates in each of the Congressional districts and evidently, the Congresswoman failed to garner enough support in my upstate New York region.
1984: I was ready to vote for Jesse Jackson in the Democratic primary until I heard about the disparaging remarks he made about Jews and New York City. I guess I was holding a civil rights leader to a higher standard. I didn’t vote for him in 1988, either.
1996: Alan Keyes was running in the Republican primaries, and in New York, there is no crossover voting, as there is in Michigan, e.g. Still, I wouldn’t have voted for him anyway. He ran in 2000 as well, and I understand he’s running again, presumably as an independent.
2004: Both Al Sharpton and Carol Moseley-Braun were running in the Democratic primary. The preacher I didn’t particular trust, though occasionally at the debates, he made the most sense, and the former senator from Illinois never got any traction.

Which brings me to this year. Yeah, I still like Dennis Kucinich, but recognize that a snowball in Hades will get better odds than DK becoming POTUS. Anyway, he’s “transitioning out of” the presidential race. Edwards losing badly in his home state of South Carolina didn’t speak well of his chances, and now he’s done, too.

About a month ago, I took a test here. I’d taken other tests before, with varying results. What I found was that the pencil point touched the bottom left of Barack Obama’s picture.
“What does the pencil indicate?
The point of the pencil is the exact average of your answers. This is YOUR POSITION in the political landscape.”

Of course, Edwards, Clinton and Bill Richardson, who was still in the race at that point, were all in the area around my pencil point.
“What is the ellipse around the pencil?
The ellipse surrounding your position is the standard deviation. The standard deviation indicates to what extent your answers differ mutually. The standard deviation is the average deviation of the mean, one could say.”

I don’t want to vote for “the black candidate” or “the woman candidate”. But, I don’t NOT want to vote for them based on race or gender. The pencil mark across Obama’s face was almost like marking a ballot.

Shelby Steele was instructive. The author of A Bound Man: Why We Are Excited About Obama and Why He Can’t Win was on Bill Moyers a few weeks ago. He spoke almost as much about why Obama SHOULDN’T win as why he COULDN’T win – that all things for all people thing he does – but it had the opposite effect on me, making Obama a more attractive candidate.

I think that Osama/Obama spam mail has also solidified my intent. So, even though I have my reservations – that he’s still as beholden to corporate America as most of the others – I’ll vote for Barack Obama in the NYS primary on February 5.
From the NYS Board of Elections re: the February 5 (Presidential) and September 9 (unofficial date for other offices) New York State 2008 primaries.

In New York City and the counties of Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Rockland, Orange, Putnam and Erie, POLLS OPEN AT 6 AM – CLOSE AT 9 PM. In all other counties, POLLS OPEN AT 12 NOON and CLOSE AT 9 PM.

Here’s a list of candidates’ delegates.
My friend Dan sent it to me, and it’s also on Boing Boing, but has Hillary Clinton REALLY adopted an obscure Golden Earring song as one of her official campaign songs? If so, as Dan said, “Clearly, she has not seen the video.


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