November 06, 2008

Historical moment, yadda yadda yadda.

Get over it, already!

Every change of leadership is a historical moment. Some happen to be historical firsts, of which this particular determined lack of colour-blindness is just one of many. John F. Kennedy was the first Roman Catholic president, but there still has not been a Mormon or Jewish or Buddhist or Islamic or even agnostic president or vice president – and the gender barrier seems even harder to cross. Not one person has yet been elected who is a second-generation immigrant, or a native American, or descended from how many countless other ethnicities? And what of people whose monetary worth happens to be less than a million dollars? As it currently stands, they do run and run frequently, and many of them would bring significant qualifications to the office: but there is no national cheering over them and no free publicity, and the media never even bothers to mention them.

As a nation which claims diversity and meritocracy and a presidential election every four years, there ought to be enough historical firsts ahead of you to last even a first-time voter a lifetime.

But if you truly wish to show you have transcended the baggage of the American Civil War and racial segregation, elect a descendant of slaves on his or her merits only, without ever once bringing up the historical race card. Do it without ever once giving him or her a free ride at the expense of all the other candidates, with people and media alike reluctant to challenge harshly in any manner whatsoever for fear of being named racist.

Otherwise, stop patting yourselves on the back, accept this simply as the first time a person of other than Caucasian descent has been elected, and let it go.

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