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Voters Should Reject Identity Politics

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               THE CONSERVATIVE REVIEW   
                   January 22, 2008
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Voters Should Reject Identity Politics
By Ken Connor
Townhall.com

"...The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man 
looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the 
heart." (1 Sam. 16:17 NIV) 

Americans should be duly proud of the fact that a woman 
and an African-American are candidates for the office of 
President of the United States. Both women and blacks have 
come a long way, baby. 

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At the beginning of the republic neither women nor blacks 
were regarded as full fledged citizens of this country. 
The lofty language of the Declaration of Independence that 
"all men are created equal" was not enough to secure equal 
rights for women or blacks. "Men" apparently did not 
include those of the female persuasion, and it most 
certainly did not include those of a darker hue. In early 
America, the law largely treated women as the property 
of their husbands. It took a lot of agitating and a 
constitutional amendment just to secure women the right 
to vote. And, of course, it took a civil war, several 
constitutional amendments, and lots of civil rights 
legislation to put African-Americans on a par with whites 
in the U.S.A. 

So it should come as no surprise that there is a lot of 
enthusiasm for the fact that the two top Democratic 
contenders for the top political office in the country are 
a woman and an African-American. After all, leaders like 
Susan B. Anthony and Martin Luther King, together with many 
other unsung heroes, paid dearly to assure that women and 
blacks are treated equally in this country. Their goal was 
to ensure that members of the body politic were blind to 
color and oblivious to gender. Dr. King cast the vision 
for the future in his famous "I Have a Dream" speech, when 
he urged his fellow Americans to judge one another on the 
content of their character rather than the color of their 
skin. 

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It is, therefore, ironic that the campaigns of Hillary 
Clinton and Barak Obama have brought both race and sex to 
the forefront of the current presidential election. Obama 
supporters have criticized Mrs. Clinton of denigrating the 
contributions of Dr. King and accuse the New York Senator 
of "racism." Firing back, Clinton supporters argue that her 
critics in the Obama camp are guilty of "sexism." Blatant 
appeals have been made to the voters on the basis of race 
and sex. Former Secretary of State Madeline Albright has 
gone so far as to declare that "there is a special place 
in hell for women who don't help each other." Some Obama 
proponents have suggested that the black community should 
support the Illinois senator's candidacy precisely because 
of his race. Others have asked whether the Senator is 
"black enough." 

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Appeals for preferential treatment on the basis of race 
or sex undercut the progress made by the civil rights 
movement. America has made substantial progress toward 
the creation of a color blind society. The advances in 
the area of women's rights have been dramatic. While we 
have not altogether eliminated discrimination on the basis 
of race or sex, Americans have made great strides. We will 
not end discrimination by advocating reverse discrimination.
Imagine the howls of indignation that would rightly arise 
if a candidate advocated that he be elected because he was 
white and male. 

Americans have done well in paving the way for a woman and 
an African-American to run for president. They will do 
better by ignoring the race and gender of the candidates 
and judging all of the presidential hopefuls on the basis 
of the content of their character and their qualifications 
to serve. 

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