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Presidential Election Or Popularity Contest? Should Race Or Gender Influence Our Decision?


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The time is near. We will be electing our 44th President of the United States on November 4th, 2008. We all have a decision to make. Who will that new President be? Who will we choose to head the government of one of the most influential and powerful nations on earth? And, how will we base our decision.

In so choosing, we must consider one thing and one thing only - can this individual ‘lead'? Despite all you hear to the contrary, this is not a popularity contest nor does ‘making history’ have a damned thing do with it. At least it shouldn't.

However, somehow at some point in the past eighteen or so months, that's what it has come to - some sort of contest on ‘making history’ if we elect a certain candidate or political party to the White House. Especially a candidate of a certain color or gender - as if that was the most important factor in this whole electoral process.

Hogwash! It should not make one iota of difference if we finally elect a black or female person to the Presidency or even the Vice Presidency. The race or gender of the elected should be of little - none really - concern to any voter.

And yet, the media - the leftist media mostly (which is a majority of them) - would have us vote on this issue and no other. I am frustrated when I hear some elitist media talking head exuberantly proclaim that “we will make history this election year" owing mainly to what they assume will be the election of Barack Obama as the first ‘black’ President in our two hundred plus years as a nation and as if that and that alone is the primary reason for the election and of concern to us as voters.

Others in the media disdainfully point out that the position has been the domain of “old white men" until now and that will change shortly. Offensive nonsense! We have elected the best choice of those who ran. Need I remind anyone that running for public office is a voluntary personal decision, not a press-ganged action? Those who have run for the office of President have done so of their own free will and that will always be the case. If they happened to have been “old white men", that was mostly a matter of our choice. And if I may say so, the likes of Abe Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, JFK, and Ronald Reagan - old white men all - did a pretty damned good job of ‘Presidenting’ in good times and bad. I, for one, don't lament the fact that they were white, and men, and old.

Hillary Clinton made a run at being the first female President. She lost - and cried foul afterwards. She had been treated harshly by Obama, she had not had a fair shake in the media, she was maligned by the TV commentators, sexism was rampantly the reason she is not the Democratic nominee. These and other reasons were declared - and still are - by her handlers and media people. (I hate a sore loser!)

However, the real reasons for Hillary sitting on the sidelines now were her ‘likeability’ factor, her ‘trust’ factor, her overwhelming self-aggrandizing manner, and her inability to size up her competition. She took Obama for granted until it was too late to stop his momentum. She underestimated her opponent in what was perhaps the greatest political miscalculation in our nation's history. He beat her fair and square despite all the whining and moaning, despite her almost publicly expressed thoughts that she deserved to win, despite her claims of sexism. She may have cracked the glass ceiling of Presidential politics, but she did not break it for reasons I have stated, not as she would have us believe. Certainly not because she was a female although she blatantly used that factor to her own advantage when it was convenient to do so.

Barack Obama has made a credible case for his being elected while downplaying, for the most part, his race. The press has not been as objective. The coverage of the Democratic convention last week in Denver was a love fest more than anything on the media's part. (I watched MSNBC only to see the likes of the vile Keith Olbermann and his lefty sidekick and admirer, Rachel Maddow, literally gush over Obama. Olbermann on Obama's speech: " . . . he hit it out of the park. . . out of the park and across the street. . . out of the park and across the street and over the buildings!" as Rachel gazed goo-goo eyed at him. ) I can't count how many times we were reminded of Barack as probably becoming the first black President in our history.

No, I do not lament the fact that there has never been a black or female President. The times were what they were and the times now are what they are. If a woman presents herself as qualified, ready and willing to serve, and is accepted by the majority of Americans for these reasons and these reasons only, she will be elected. The same can be said of a black person or anyone of any persuasion or background. I feel no guilt or shame that this has never happened for whatever reason nor will I be persuaded to vote for anyone to make it happen now. You see, I will vote for the person I believe will best be able to lead this country in hard times as they are now. Someone who can be decisive and nonpartisan, influential in the world and at home, one who takes the country's best interests to heart and not his party's, someone who will be ‘Presidential’ with all that entails.

I will not vote for a person in order to ‘make history'!

Major Dennis Copson is retired from The United States Marines and is a resident of Oceanside, CA where he is the Director of Sales and Marketimg for Nature's Big Bud Worm Castings, Inc. He is also a freelance writer. More info is available on his website


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