O'Brien for Obama
unpublished portrait of Barack Obama, 2008.
We are living in an historic time, one where we are presented with an erratic and increasingly desperate republican candidate who really has no plan for what his administration would do for the middle class other than the tired old promise of crumbs falling off the table. On the other side we have a smart and measured democratic candidate with specific programs and a proven ability to deal with issues in a thoughtful way. No erratic stunts from him, such as picking a frighteningly unqualified running mate, suspending his campaign for nothing, and now starting an announced and already discredited smear campaign against Obama. The choice is abundantly clear that America needs a change and Barack Obama is the right man for the job.
In this historic election, there is the issue of race at play that has yet to be effectively discussed in my opinion. Obama is running as an American, not an African American, but there are still parts of this country that only see race. It is partly a generational split, but the more insidious issue is what is sometimes called "the Bradley effect" . This refers to a frequently observed discrepancy between voter opinion polls and election outcomes in American political campaigns when a white candidate and a non-white candidate run against each other. It's named after Tom Bradley, an African-American who lost the 1982 California governor's race despite being ahead in voter polls. The Bradley effect refers to a tendency on the part of voters -- black as well as white -- to tell pollsters that they are undecided or likely to vote for a black candidate, and yet, on election day, change their vote.
One theory for the Bradley effect is that some white voters give inaccurate polling responses for fear that, by stating their true preference, they will open themselves to criticism. This effect is similar to people refusing to discuss voting choice at all. If you state you are undecided, you can avoid being forced into a political discussion with someone highly partisan. The reluctance to give accurate polling answers has sometimes extended to post-election exit polls as well. The race of the pollster conducting the interview may be a factor into voters' answers.
It's sad to imagine this STILL happening in America but it's true. I hope discussing it causes people to think about the only the ISSUES in the voting booth.
Still, I feel that when politicians discuss race they skirt the issue as to not sound like they are accusing anyone of anything. Change has to come from us.
I saw this amazing speech earlier today and I was deeply moved by it. Thanks Edel for showing it to me. The speech comes from AFL-CIO Secretary Treasurer Richard Trumka. He's a third generation coal miner from Pennsylvania who went on to receive his degree from Penn State and then his law degree from Villanova. I believe he gave this speech on July 1st 2008.
Thanks for giving it a look and pass it on.