As the Democratic primary grinds on, I find myself a little worn down by the whole process.

Cable news networks, broadcast TV newscasters, radio commentators of all flavors and the print media bombard us with information. Everything the candidates say is dissected and looked at under a magnifying glass from every conceivable angle. We get a view from the right, the left and then somewhere around the middle. In the end, we are supposed to make a good choice — a choice free of bias, a sound intelligent choice, based solely on the facts. I am beginning to question whether I, or anybody else, can make a choice solely on merit.

I can find a lot of reasons not to support Barack Obama. While he is obviously very intelligent, I don’t feel he has near enough experience to be President. Unlike many others, I surely don’t see him as this generation’s Jack Kennedy. I must admit that the thought of a president with any ties to Islam makes me a bit uncomfortable. Obama is an eloquent speaker. He talks a lot about change.

Advocating change has always been a favorite topic for politicians. The question is what is he going to change and will it be a change for the better? I think he has a tendency to promise things that are not realistic. Although that seems to be a common trait among politicians.

I don’t think we can be out of Iraq in short order, no matter who makes the promise.

The question weighing on my mind is whether I might be against Obama because he is black. I certainly don’t consider myself a racist. And it troubles me to think that I might oppose someone because of their color. I feel certain that I wouldn’t make my choice based solely on color, but would it be enough, if I was on the fence, to push me in one direction or another? I wonder to myself, that if Obama was white would I be more willing to overlook his shortcomings and climb on the euphoric bandwagon.I’m sure I’m not the only one who has questioned their reasoning.

I can’t say I have a lot of experience, good or bad, with black people. I grew up in a white middle class neighborhood. My parents were not prejudiced people. They taught us to respect others. Admittedly, I can’t imagine my father would have ever voted for a black President. He was a product of a different time. I have never lived or worked in a racist environment. So, I don’t have a bad experience or a tainted upbringing to effect my opinion of a black candidate. But I do wonder if I am capable of letting race influence my decision.

I’m smart enough to know that not voting for Obama because he is black is shallow at best. One could easily make the argument that people who vote for him solely because he is black are not much better.

I don’t think that anyone, white or black, could honestly say that race doesn’t play a significant role in this election. If 20 years ago, you had predicted there would be a white woman and a young black man vying to be the Democratic candidate for the Presidency, most people would have thought you to be daft. No question, Obama will win the votes of some and lose the votes of others solely based on his color. The challenge is getting everyone, white and blacks alike, past race as a deciding factor in this or any election.

A lot of people have resented Oprah Winfrey’s support of Obama. The support of this multimedia star certainly has boosted his campaign. Without question, she certainly has the right to support anyone she chooses. The question is whether Oprah is supporting him because she believes he is good for America or simply because he is black. Only she will ever know. And she, like me, may not be able to answer the question with total honesty.

I would support Obama as Clinton’s vice presidential candidate. Not that I am advocating the need for a black man to take a back seat to a white woman. I just think he needs more experience and a chance to prove himself. If he can do that, his time will come.

I still can’t see myself voting for Barack Obama for President. But for what it’s worth, I genuinely hope I am making my choice for all the right reasons. Hopefully, we can all vote for or against the man, not the color.



Andrew J Albatys is a Henryville resident. He can be reached via e-mail at douglassloop@aol.com.

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