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Dear Democratic Party: Please Don't Become Racist

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Message Bruce Morris

There was, early Friday morning a huge lead on Huffington Post about how the mainstream media was turning away from Barack Obama as the Democrat most likely to win in the fall. The reason? Well, just read these quotes from the story and its sources.

"While he should win easily in North Carolina, where he benefits from a large African-American vote and support in the state's college communities, he is going to have trouble in Indiana, Kentucky, and West Virginia, where he will once again be faced by a large white working class vote." From "The Next McGovern", by John B. Judis on the New Republic Website.

From Chris Cillizza on the Washington Post blog, "Path Does Exist For Clinton": "The best argument Clinton has at her disposal right now is that Obama cannot win over blue collar, white voters who have been hit hard by the economic slowdown and are looking for a politician to look out for them.

Times columnist Anatole Kaletsky wrote in "Yes its Politically Incorrect, but Race Matters": "The conclusion would be fairly obvious, were it not for the political correctness that makes it almost impossible for American politicians or commentators to express such a view: Mr Obama may by unable to carry large industrial states with socially conservative white working-class populations simply because of his race."

Finally, even the oh-so liberal New York Times joined in Adam Nagourney writes, "Why has he (Obama) been unable to win over enough working-class and white voters to wrap up the Democratic nomination? . . . Is the Democratic Party hesitating about race as it moves to the brink of nominating an African-American to be president?"

Now, these pundits are pointing out that Barack Obama lost in Pennsylvania among white working class voters and appears to have lost ground among more intellectual white, white collar voters. They are ascribing this phenomenon either directly or impliedly to race, essentially asserting that many, if not most, white working class voters are racist. Although many "concerned" Democratic politicians and officials (Geraldine Ferraro, anyone?), especially Clinton surrogates, will not come out and admit it, they too convey the same meaning with their coded, constant use of "white" to describe the working class voters with whom Obama allegedly cannot connect. In this effort, journalists and many Democrats are joining forces with their regressive Rebublican counterparts.

But what are they asking the Democratic party to do about the specter of racial prejudice arising in their primary?

Are they asking the Democratic party to contest this assertion head on and state that white working class Democrats and the white working class in general is better than that? That these people are not racist and that Democrats trust not only that they have cast their primary votes for other reasons, and that they will vote for either Democrat in the fall because both are far superior in every way for those voters and the country than John McCain?

No, that is not what Democrats are being asked or advised.

Are the Democrats being asked to use this moment to heal racism everywhere it exists in America, showing that even though of mixed race, Barack Obama is the best person for the job and asking Americas to examine closely and set aside or reconsider their feelings based on race?

No, this is not what is being asked of the Democratic party.

Alright, then, are the pundits and advisors asking the Democratic Party to assert that even if some Democratic white working class voters are racist, that the party can rise above that and still win in the fall with Barack Obama because he will appeal so strongly to other voters, young voters, new voters, independent voters and even many Republicans sick and tired of what their party has done?

No, even this is not what is being asked of the Democratic Party.

The key to what is being asked of the Democratic party lies in that last sentence of Adam Nagourney's piece in the New York Times: "Is the Democratic Party hesitating about race as it moves to the brink of nominating an African-American to be president?"

"Hesitating about race." Though the article is more nuanced, the question suggests, like the others quoted before him, like the Clintons and their surrogates, like so many pundits ranging from allegedly liberal to proudly regressive, that the Democrats SHOULD be thinking actively about race in deciding their nominee. That the Democrats should consider denying the nomination to the candidate who is winning and will win the contest for elected delegates because he is black. BECAUSE HE IS BLACK and some Democrats won't vote for a black candidate.

This is beyond outrageous and no one in the mainstream media or even the Democratic party seems to be calling anyone on it!

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Bruce is 46 year-old father of one, stepfather of three and grandfather of two, who left a lucrative law practice at a large national law firm to work, advocate and write for social justice and equality and find a way to incorporate a spiritual life (more...)
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