Saturday, February 10, 2007

Thank God I Can Vote

With a white woman and a black man at the head of the Democratic party presidential nominees list, 2007 could have a serious impact on American politics. If things turn out the way the Democrats want them to, the 2008 election will be unlike any in American history in that it will be the first election to ever feature a candidate who is not a white male. Either the color or the gender barrier in Washington will be broken. In many ways, we're already well on our way to that point. The last black man to announce candidacy - Al Sharpton in 2004's election - "cheerfully admitted" he had no chance of winning nomination; this year, Barack Obama came in second only to Hilary Clinton in a study done by a University of New Hampshire Survey Research Center.

The big question is, can race or gender change a viable candidate into a laughable one?

I say it could, but it shouldn't. Obama is an extremely intelligent, extremely well-educated man. His political fortitude has yet to truly be determined - he spent seven years in the Illinois State Senate and has only been a member of the US Senate since 2004 - but his short political career has already gained him a fair amount of popularity, especially in Illinois, and he seems to have fairly solid political beliefs. If he were white, he would be considered an ideal candidate. As for Clinton, who says a woman cannot be a good leader? As "advanced" as America is, I find it extremely telling that while other nations have been electing women presidents for years (María Estela Martínez de Perón served as president of Argentina from 1974 - 1976, Corazon Aquino was president of the Philippines from 1986 - 1992, and more recently, Michelle Bachelet Jeria was elected president of Chile in March 2006), America still finds them incapable of that kind of leadership. Granted, we are a much bigger country than Argentina, the Philippines, or Chile - but that doesn't make our women any weaker.

Unless the Republican party can miraculously pull The Perfect Candidate out of its ass, the Democrats will have my vote in 2008. I think a political shake-up is just what this country needs.