Race, Religion, and the 2008 Presidential Campaign

Race, Religion, and the 2008 Presidential Campaign

I really feel that in 2008 we should be so far past the issue of race or religion influencing our political processes. It saddens me to turn on the TV and see people using Barack Obama’s race or inaccuracies about his religion as a negative to try to hurt him in some way. Who cares if Senator Obama is black or white, and really, who cares if he’s Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, Scientologist, Confucianist? I know I don’t. His race and his religion will not affect his policies or how he runs this country when he is President. Our society has let a handful of Islamic extremists totally skew our view of another culture, their beliefs, and their entire way of living. Being Muslim, or one that is a follower of the Islamic faith, based on what I’ve read is a great thing, not something to be thrown around as an insult. Muslim people believe in giving (love thy neighbor), being near God or Allah, and they hold God above all else (no false idols). These are just some basic principles of Islam, there are many, but I just wanted to point out that they are very similar to other world religions. Being an agnostic person, I am not looking at this subject through the eyes of someone that is the follower of any particular faith. I believe that religion is important to people, but I also believe that openmindedness and acceptance are also important, and I think that all of the major world religions touch on that to a degree in their teachings. So I suppose what I’m getting at is:

to all of those people at McCain/Palin rallies shouting “Muslim” as an insult towards Senator Obama – Who cares if he is Muslim? Is it really a bad thing? I don’t think so. If he chooses to follow the Islamic faith, then good, I am happy that he has found and chosen a religion that makes him happy and means something to him, just as you yourselves have probably found a religion that has made you happy. HOWEVER. As we all know, Barack Obama is a follower of the Christian faith, and he has been for a very long time. It’s just flat out unacceptable to use religion as an insult, especially in 2008. We should be so far past that.

My feelings about race affecting politics are sort of in the same manner of thought. I know the issue of race is there and I know it’s going to be there, but I really wish that all people recognized that the color of someone’s skin is not going to change how capable that person is of carrying out the United States’ agenda around the world or at home. Some of the ignorant things I have heard people say about Senator Obama because of his race or because of where his father came from have just gotten me all riled up. This presidential race, in the present state of all things in our country – the failing economy, the worst foreign policy I can think of, the state of our healthcare system, poorly planned and underfunded education policies, loss of jobs, our ailing environment, our dependence on foreign oil, the way our seniors are taken care of, the way our veterans are treated, the wars – should be solely about policy, and who is going to best fix these things. The color of the candidate’s skin should not matter. Each candidate should be judged based on the “content of their character” and on their plans to steer our country in a better direction.


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