by Matt Saldaña
The Herald-Sun, in its front-page analysis (registration required) of the role race has played in the 2008 election, opens with a curiously misleading sentence:
When Barack Obama announced he was running for president nearly two years ago, he pushed race to the forefront of presidential politics in a way never done before.
The statement reflects the opinion of several commenters on the H-S site, who believe Obama has made race an issue in his campaign. In fact, he only fully addressed race after the controversy surrounding his pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr., had brought a pot of racial anxieties to a full boil. That was seven months ago, not two years ago. And it wasn't "pushed" by Obama. In that speech, Obama addressed "the kindness and cruelty, the fierce intelligence and shocking ignorance, the struggles and successes, the love and, yes, the bitterness and bias that makes up the black experience in America." He insisted, however, that his campaign would not heal racial wounds, and he asked voters not to judge him through a "purely racial lens."
Why, then, is the H-S insisting on treating Obama's race like a strategic advantage?
But Haynie believes Obama has something that may be more powerful than race working in his favor to defeat Republican John McCain -- the economy.
For some analysis with a bit more context, check out Hal Crowther's Indy cover story, "White Denial." (excerpt below)
Obama's election would be a stunning step forward. John McCain's election would be a stunning step backward, at a time when America can ill afford another false step. What's wrong with Obama? Not much that I can see, not compared to what's wrong with you if you think his election is a threatening proposition. His biggest problem is his father, that long-vanished African who left him nothing but obvious intelligence and some racial DNA that's never an asset in the Land of the Free. This obsession with race, which plays hell with so many societies and has been no less than a tragic curse for our own, is based on a genetic deviation so minute that it's virtually invisible to science. The difference between a black skin and a white one, according to a 2005 study by geneticists at Penn State, involves a change of one letter of DNA code out of 3.1 billion letters in the human genome. The divergence, they theorize, began with a mutation in one individual somewhere in Europe a few tens of thousands of years ago. Of course we—white people—are the mutants, along with our half-brothers like Barack Obama.