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THE VICE PRESIDENCY AND THE POLITICS OF RACE

April 26, 2012

 

THE VICE PRESIDENCY AND THE POLITICS OF RACE

Four days ago I emailed a friend and old classmate (a retired PhD professor living in New Mexico) about the availability of his governor (Governor Susanna Martinez) for the vice presidency should Romney come calling. Our interchange (as edited for clarity) went as follows:

MY EMAIL – I understand your governor has turned down the idea that she could be a candidate for the vice presidency. Has anyone ever looked seriously into the proposition that it just as racist to pick candidates because of race as it is to exclude them because of their race? For instance, Rubio is a red hot choice for vice president. I wonder how he would be faring if his parents had come to this country from Haiti. Or Egypt? We (the majority white folks) have got to quit bitching about racial inequality and simultaneously play the stereotype for political purposes. I am not so sure we are not still racist so long as we can imprint our design on its uses. There are plenty of other prospective republican candidates for that job who are not hispanic. Whoever Romney picks, hispanic or whatever, I will not be voting for them, and it has nothing to do with race. It rather has to do with Romney’s unstinting approval of the House budget bill (Ryan’s monstrosity) which will do great damage to minorities, among others. As thus juxtaposed, I will have voted FOR the minorities and the minority Romney selects to run with him, if they are elected, will be helping the vote AGAINST minorities. It seems that the old saying that politics makes strange bedfellows may be true.

HIS RESPONSE – Her Majesty Susanna Martinez has stated publicly that she is not interested in the VP job, which, of course is a bald-faced lie. However, having some very savvy political advisers/puppeteers, she may not fall into the “Palin trap,” will finish her term, and will be ready for come-what-may in 2016. Of course it is just as racist to include for a purpose as it is to exclude for it. . . . .  .

MY ANSWER – O.K., do we label Romney a racist if he chooses Martinez or Rubio, or a racist for not choosing a minority V.P.? Or are inclusion and exclusion of the same weight? I think he may well choose Rubio, and it isn’t going to work. Polls among minorities here in Florida show that Obama will win by the same margin if Romney chooses Rubio. It appears poor minorities are less racist than we are. You can’t fool those folks! When you are getting hosed, it doesn’t make much difference where the hoser goes to church or what language he speaks. A hosing is a hosing. I suppose Marie Antoinette could have made a similar observation about the guy who dropped the blade on her cake-eating throat. Her throat couldn’t tell whether the executioner was from Calais or Bordeaux. (End of exchange)

Of course a minority could and should be chosen for office if otherwise qualified, but I submit that the choice of a candidate of questionable credentials for the office because of his/her race for political purposes is likely to be in itself a racist exercise. Whether the purpose is to include or exclude, so long as it is based upon a racist choice for political advantage and little else, it is a wrong choice for voters and America. GERALD E

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