If the right Republican came along, I would consider voting for him or her.
For a long time, I believed that. At least I wanted to believe that I was the kind of person who could listen — open-mindedly, exploring all the options — and then make a voting decision, regardless of party affiliation. I mean, I am an Independent after all, have been registered as such all my voting life.
But, seriously, who am I kidding?
I cannot cast a vote in support of a Republican candidate, in support of the party that never fails to ignore the needs of the underclass and the middle class. The party that never fails to find ways to evoke people of color (especially black people) as the problem. Recall, for one, Newt Gingrich’s recent comments regarding blacks and the need for welfare reform (which, by the way, is eerily similar to what Gingrich was saying back in the late 1990s. Why would he want to take us back there?).
No Republican candidate has shown me anything to suggest that the past is really passed with regards to race. As William Faulkner said, “The past is never past. It is always present.” Conservatives never fail to play on the fears and racist attitudes embedded in the recesses of the American psyche. Apparently, to evoke with a difference W.E.B. DuBois, the problem of the 21st century continues to be the problem of the color line — at least for conservatives.
And, despite what people might say, my position really has nothing to do with Obama’s identity as a black man and as the first black President of this country. And I’m not giving him a pass because his wife, Michelle, is progressively minded. No. The lack of positive change on his watch troubles me as well. But, unlike some people I’ve heard talk about how they plan to vote in November, I am not willing to give my vote to a Republican, to help vote a conservative into office, so that things can get worse thereby forcing the Democrats to really fight for change. Too risky. Who, really, can afford a Republican administration right now? And, in that scenario, who can afford it when the Democrats don’t fight?
Quiet as it’s kept, we did not vote a Progressive into office in 2008. He may have looked Progressive given the Bush II years, but he wasn’t. He’s a Democrat. In an office that seems to resist progressivism. I voted for him before and will again. And then I’ll continue to support and push for progress at the grassroots level, from the bottom up — where it has, historically, thrived.