Saturday, September 20, 2008

six percent racist; 100% ironic

Obama would be 6% higher in polls, if there was no racism in white Democrats, according to this article about an AP-Yahoo News poll.

Some findings:
"There are a lot fewer bigots than there were 50 years ago, but that doesn't mean there's only a few bigots," said Stanford political scientist Paul Sniderman who helped analyze the exhaustive survey.

Not all whites are prejudiced. Indeed, more whites say good things about blacks than say bad things, the poll shows. And many whites who see blacks in a negative light are still willing or even eager to vote for Obama.

40 percent of all white Americans hold at least a partly negative view toward blacks, and that includes many Democrats and independents.

One-third of white Democrats harbor negative views toward blacks — many calling them "lazy," "violent" or responsible for their own troubles.

Race is not the biggest factor driving Democrats and independents away from Obama. Doubts about his competency loom even larger, the poll indicates. More than a quarter of all Democrats expressed doubt that Obama can bring about the change they want, and they are likely to vote against him because of that. Three in 10 of those Democrats who don't trust Obama's change-making credentials say they plan to vote for McCain.

---that's what I don't understand. If you doubt that one candidate can bring the change you want, you'll vote for the opposing candidate? It's irrational, and that's the problem. Political liberals argue from reason; political conservatives stir up feelings, and promise to address those feelings.

Perhaps our fear of change is so strong, that if we cannot be sure of the outcome, we'll vote for no change at all. If Obama loses the election, it won't be due to the specific fear of racism, but rather the more generalized fear of change. What an irony, when both major parties are running on a platform of "Change." McCain promises to change "those people" in Washington; Obama promises to change *us*. That's what people most fear. And that's the transformation that we most need. Whoever wins in November, that's the change that religious liberals must continue to work toward.


At 9:36 AM, Blogger Joel Monka said...

I don't get this point:"If you doubt that one candidate can bring the change you want, you'll vote for the opposing candidate? It's irrational, and that's the problem." If both candidates say they will bring change, why is it irrational to believe that one candidate is more likely to manage to bring change than the other?

At 10:30 AM, Blogger UUpdater said...

Joel - the caveat was "the change you want". If you doubt Obama will bring the desired change on gay marriage it would be irrational to expect McCain to be more likely to bring about the desired change.

"Political liberals argue from reason; political conservatives stir up feelings, and promise to address those feelings."

Growing up I had the exact opposite perception. While conservatives argued the immorality of ending a life with abortion the liberals would defend it with "consider the feelings of the mother...". I think both sides will appeal to rational argument or feelings, whichever will better persuade.

It doesn't help bring about better understanding by making unnecessary and innaccurate generalizations.

At 11:50 AM, Blogger Joel Monka said...

There's the real irony- both candidates have been moving to the center such that there's no substantive difference between them other than economic policy. Both are pro-choice, anti gay marriage, cautious about early withdrawal from Iraq... Senator Obama has even said recently that it would be wrong to cancel the Bush tax cuts for the rich while the economy is bad.

At 12:23 PM, Blogger Chip said...

uupdater, see Thandeka's article, "Ministering to Anxiety..." in Tikkun magazine (vol 20 no. 3; available online if you pay for archive privileges). She argues that Conservatives have addressed the anxieties in U.S. voters more effectively than have Liberals. Thandeka concludes, "We cannot ignore the anxiety-assurance strategy of the
Right. While we must continue to probe and uncover the
rhetoric the Right uses to raise anxiety, we cannot dismiss
such anxiety with rational explanations. We, too, must
speak to it. We, too, must use sacred texts. But with one difference: we won’t raise anxiety to lower it. We will lower the anxiety already present in the American heart through
heart-to-heart work that links immediate personal feelings
of emotional and spiritual relief to public policies that actually
provide Americans with structural support for a better
life on earth through decent schools, jobs, and medical and
other social benefits. Whether we’re secular or religious, we
will only speak effectively to America again when we speak
from the heart."

At 11:23 PM, Blogger UUpdater said...

Joel - both are pro-choice? Please explain how "John McCain believes Roe v. Wade is a flawed decision that must be overturned, and as president he will nominate judges who understand that courts should not be in the business of legislating from the bench.". Perhaps we have different understandings of the term.

I understand Thandeka's point, but I would summarize it by saying that when the opponent argues from an emotional standpoint you should not try to refute with logic. Like I said both sides argue points from both emotion and reason. Neither side uses only one argument exclusively.

At 8:49 AM, Blogger Joel Monka said...

I stand corrected.

At 4:07 PM, Blogger Chalicechick said...

It's an easy mistake to make-McCain used to be pro-choice.


At 8:30 AM, Blogger Cynthia L. Landrum said...

Joel Monka says: Both are... anti gay marriage...

John McCain's webpage: The family represents the foundation of Western Civilization and civil society and John McCain believes the institution of marriage is a union between one man and one woman. It is only this definition that sufficiently recognizes the vital and unique role played by mothers and fathers in the raising of children, and the role of the family in shaping, stabilizing, and strengthening communities and our nation.

Barack Obama's: Obama Supports Civil Unions that Confer “the Equivalent Legal Rights as a Marriage License.” and from the same source "Obama Supports Complete Repeal of DOMA."

Yes, Obama hasn't come out in favor of gay marriage, but he's moving in that direction a whole log closer than McCain.

At 8:32 AM, Blogger Cynthia L. Landrum said...

er... a whole lot closer, not log closer. :)

At 8:36 AM, Blogger Cynthia L. Landrum said...

Also, I didn't understand the comment: "If you doubt that one candidate can bring the change you want, you'll vote for the opposing candidate? It's irrational, and that's the problem" at first. Here's what I think you're saying:

If you want x, and candidate o says they'll deliver x, but you think they can't deliver, and candidate m doesn't say they'll deliver x at all, why vote m, when you still have a chance at x with o?

The problem is, in terms of some issues like the economy, they're both promising to fix it. The promised outcome is the same, it's the methods that differ.

At 7:46 AM, Blogger Chip said...

Cynthia, I disagree. The "promised outcomes" are as different as the proposed methods. Unless the outcome is so broad as to be meaningless ("fix the economy," "improve security,"), they really are promising different things. More to my point, it's the attitude with which they are approaching things, that provides the sharpest contrast. McCain wants to reform "Washingtonians," while Obama wants transformation from the ground up. That is what's truly frightening to folks, and simultaneously what is exciting.

At 12:51 PM, Blogger Cynthia L. Landrum said...

I think you're right, but most people don't know it. For a lot of people, issues come down to the broad, "I want to live better," "I want the economy fixed."


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