by Lauren Anderson
In less than two hundred years, both women and blacks have won the right to vote. In just the past century, both groups have led powerful movements to push for equal rights. In many ways, the current presidential campaign appears to be the fruit of those labors. Two strong, intelligent people, one a woman and the other half-black, are competing for the Democratic nomination. Many people predicted that women would align behind Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY), while blacks would align behind Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL), but that has not been the case at all.
According to The New York Times, black voters will make up at least 50 percent of the Democratic voters in the South Carolina primary (on Jan. 26), a number which could make or break it for Clinton and Obama. Many people initially expected Obama to carry the state with ease, but polls have shown otherwise. (A Reuters-Zogby Poll from Jan. 17 shows both candidates statistically tied for the lead in South Carolina.) Some significant black leaders and organizations have endorsed Obama's closest competitor, Hillary Clinton. Similarly, many women have shown their support for Obama, not Clinton. The polling of CNN and other media outlets showed 35 percent of female caucusgoers in Iowa voted for Obama, while only 30 percent voted for Clinton.
In this case, there is no greater achievement for women or African-Americans than the division among them. It proves people are voting based on issues, not just on race or gender. In an election that has commanded so much attention concerning these issues, it’s reassuring to know that voters remember that they are, in terms of qualifications to be president, insignificant. Voters are willing and able to look past skin color and sex, something that many in this country have been fighting for since before its inception. Whether Clinton, Obama, or neither win the election, this country has gained something more important than four years in office. We have reached an unprecedented level of tolerance, hopefully opening the door for the advancement of diversity across the nation.
Editor's Note: This is the last posting on this blog for Lauren Anderson who now moves on to other pursuits. And we wish her well. To see some of her other commentary on the campaign, please read: "Mitt Romney: Faith in Politics 2008" and "The Polarizing Senator Hillary Clinton."
(Vote sticker photo by CAVE CANEM of Detroit via Flickr, using a Creative Commons License.)
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by Lauren Anderson