It looks as though the United States has made some serious history with Barack Obama as the likely candidate of the Democratic party. Quite honestly, given the messy state of racial tension in this country, I think it far better to have a black man as the candidate than a white woman. Sure, women can and will argue that we have a long way to go for any kind of equity in industry, in politics, in just about anything. But the fact is that people of color have a longer way to go because the US still hasn't gotten to the point of being blind to the color of a person's skin, deaf to an individual's accent, and unfazed by a person's ethnicitiy or religious or sexual propensities.
I've been giving all of this a lot of thought and realize that the more I think about various issues of color, accent, ethnicity, religious, sexual preference, the more complicated it becomes. I'd like it to be simple, but I know we can't make it simple. There are too many variables and considerations, and it certainly doesn't help that communities within communities can't agree. I mean, how many variations of Republicans and Democrats are there these days?
I'm sure there was a time when someone could say "Democrat" or "Republican" and everyone knew what that meant. The party position, the platform, everything was clear. Today there are Democrats along the political continuum--liberal, moderate, and conservative Democrats, and lots of spots in between, I'm sure. Then there are social Democrats who are fiscal Republicans. It's the same with the Republicans and maybe even worse. I'm also amused by the "Reagan Republican" phrase, and only partially because I don't quite know what that means.
So I laugh right out loud when I hear Clinton and Obama talk about party unity. There were Clinton supporters howling about Obama and how they would never vote for him. Well, never is a very long time and might come sooner for some than for others. Some of the exit polls have indicated that a percentage of voters won't bother to vote in November 2008, which isn't a news flash. But this doesn't seem to be about typical voter apathy. That disinclination to vote seems more about a complete and utter dissatisfaction with either of the parties, perhaps a confusion about what either of them seems to stand for any more. In other words, gathering the party faithful or even somewhat inclined is going to be hard because too many who might call themselves "Democrat" or "Republican" seem disenfranchised.
So as fractured as both major parties are right now, seriously, good luck with that party unity thing.