It saddens me as we proceed into the US elections of 2008 at the number of times I hear people clamoring over Hillary Clinton because she would be the first woman president and Barak Obama because he would be the first African American president.
Since when did we vote for people based on such issues? I can almost see how that might be one of the criteria for choosing a candidate with all else being equal, but I cannot understand why it is, for some people, the deciding issue.
After Super Tuesday, I was listening to news and commentary as votes were tallied. A couple of people in the exit polls mentioned voting for Hillary because she was a woman. One even said something like, "If a woman's available, why not?"
Uh, why not? Well, for one thing, gender and skin color tell you nothing at all about a candidates ability to act as president of the United States. That is the most important job we have in the US, and when people take it so lightly that they vote based on trivial issues, they are trivializing the job and our electoral process.
How about the economy or national security? Do these issues not matter to some voters? How about the illegal alien issues and the problems with health care and Social Security? When people draw up their list of qualifications for their candidate of choice, can they really put race, gender or skin color at the top of that list? I stand amazed.
If you want to vote for Obama, Hillary, or even one of the Republican candidates, do so, but do it for the right reasons. In our increasingly diverse and global world, it doesn't make sense to make so much over trivial issues at the expense of the weightier matters.
Even when adding the racism and sexism of the past we cannot go there. Two wrongs do not make a right, and voting for someone for these reasons makes that voter no better than anyone who has done so in reverse in the past. When will we get past looking at a persons skin color or gender, or even their religious preference in favor of integrity, honesty and qualifications for the job at hand?
I urge you all to vote your conscience in the upcoming presidential race. Vote for the person you think will do the best job and lead the US in the right direction. Even if you refrain from voting on certain issues, that is better than casting your vote for the wrong reasons.
It is time for US citizens to wise up and grow up and consider the enormity of their task in choosing who will lead our country for the next four years. Make your choice as you will, but make it based on issues that matter. Only then can your vote really count.