It is axiomatic that American voters usually will chose their economic self-interest over their inherited--culturally inherited, I would have said--biases and prejudices, with a footnote that directs the reader to a lengthy digression on race, the great unbridgeable divide, in America. One can't live in this country and not be aware of race--yes, exceptions abound--but you basically have to live in a hermetically sealed bubble to escape it. Experience tells us that a black candidate may have significant leads in the polls running up to election day, only to lose decisively. Pollmeisters call it the Bradley Effect, after L.A. Mayor Tom Bradley, who 1982 took a large lead into the gubernatorial election in California only to lose. Surprised pollsters suspected that people were deliberately concealing their true inclination or choice, perhaps for fear of having their bigotry and inane biases exposed to the light. Nonetheless, the opposition spends time and money to make sure those prejudices and biases are at fever pitch on election, while the black candidates do not run from but do not call attention to their race. They would rather discuss policies and programs.
Given that, here is my question for every journalist and editor who has mindlessly repeated the charges of John McCain and his hatchet men not only that the Obama "played the race card" against them but dealt it from the bottom of the deck as well--in other words, he cheated and he lied: Why would any black candidate call attention to his race, knowing that the bias against him because of his race is precisely what he must overcome in order to win election? The Obama himself has more often been criticized by African-Americans as not being black enough--here reporters need a crash course in the complexity of the black community in many American cities, like Miami, where native born African-Americans and blacks from the Caribbean, South America, and Africa hardly form a community of shared cultures, histories, and dreams, then do the same thing for the 'white' community. The Obama wants race out of the picture. Many in the mainstream media has fallen for the same ugly tactics used to turn Max Cleland and John Kerry from war heroes into fakes and cowards, in part because of their addiction to "he-said, she-said, gottcha journalism" and in larger measure because journalism schools don't 'do' history, The McCain'ts have done everything they can to turn the Obama from a man into a 'boy,' and in the context of American history that is racism--plain, pure, as simply as it comes. To pretend otherwise is inane.
Of course, McCain's charges can't bear honest scrutiny, which is exactly what they deserve, as does his own less than stellar record as a legislator. 'Then, too, one can question why the main stream media refuses to investigate thoroughly McCain't's prisoner of war days, his entire military career, and, as the Washington Post and New York Times have periodically, his life in public service, his temper, his intellectual sloth, his purported affairs, and his moral cowardice in attacking the Obama in such a low down,vile manner and then denying he has done so.
Michael Powell and Bob Herbet sort through the race card issue in today's New York Times. Maybe others of their colleagues will take heed. Unless they do, they will continue to give credence to lies, and they will show how it is that Americans will follow their prejudice and fear rather than their own good sense.