October 27, 2012

Colin Powell's Endorsement of Obama: Race Based?

Colin Powell
Colin Powell (Photo credit: jdlasica)
TAMPA, FL - AUGUST 28:   Former New Hampshire ...
John Sununu
John Sununu went after Colin Powell for his endorsement of Obama with a retread of an argument made against Colin in 2008, namely that he only supported Obama because he was black.  This charge leveled against Colin is simply a more specific version of an insult to the intelligence of black folk in general, namely, that we vote on skin color, not on the issues or policy positions of the candidate. The falseness of the premise is made very clear by all the black candidates we don't vote for: Lynn Swann, Al Sharpton, Ken Blackwell, Michael Steele. With the exception of Sharpton, those examples clearly demonstrate that party ID is actually more salient than skin color.  The argument is so offensive because it assumes that for white voters, the default behavior is a searching analysis of the issues and policy positions and for blacks an unintelligent reflex vote on race. It assumes that bias, or stereotype or skin color as a proxy for shared beliefs and ideas never enters into the voting decision equation for whites.  We could have a whole debate around that. But really, why bother? As far as I'm concerned, its irrelevant.

The thing is, the starting point is a false narrative question. Do blacks vote for candidates based on race? Do whites? Let's assume they do. SO WHAT? This is America. As Americans we have the right to exercise our vote in whatever manner we see fit. Being an American means that we can vote for whoever we want for any reason we want. We can vote for a candidate because we like their haircut, because we like their policies or because we like the color of their skin.

As Americans, we are free to exercise our franchise on any basis we please. Whether that's Colin Powell or a low info black voter, or Andrew Breitbart (RIP) or a redneck white voter.  If you are a U.S. citizen, you don't have to defend the reason you voted for any candidate. Its among the most basic of the freedoms we enjoy, that we can exercise the franchise as we see fit. It is our birthright as a free people.

Being a free American means we get to vote for whoever we like for whatever damn reason we like. Point blank and simple as that. God bless America.
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