I used to be much more informed on politics. Before I had children, I had more time and inclination to follow things closely. Now, don’t misunderstand, I still pay attention to the political process. I just don’t devote as much time and energy to it.
But, I must admit, there are some things that I find interesting about this primary. As I listened to some of the talking heads today (Monday, still, as I am typing), they were commenting on Bill Clinton’s remarks that he had always looked forward to the time when he would be voting for a black president, but is now faced with the “choice” between a black candidate and a female candidate (let’s face it, he’s not really got much of a choice going on). They discussed this issue of picking between minorities in regards to both of the Democrat candidates. It really is a historic election.
Of course, that isn’t a decision that I will have to make. I am a Republican. I’m also not in a Super Tuesday state, so tomorrow is just another day for me. But, as all of the minority discussions occur on the Democratic side of the aisle, I have been really interested in some of the comments I have heard on the Republican side. I have been truly amazed at how well McCain is doing, considering how many people seem to truly despise him.
On Friday, I happened to be in the car at the right time to hear the end of Sean Hannity’s radio show. One of his callers called asking for his advice. Her concern? She didn’t know who to vote for in the Republican primary because she felt that her candidate of choice had no chance of winning, she would never vote for John McCain, and she wasn’t comfortable with Romney because of differences in religious beliefs. She identified herself as “Christian” and felt that the fact that Mitt Romney is LDS excluded him from that category. I was really pleased that Hannity started his response by pointing out that the official name of the church is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In other words, members of the church are Christian. And he did specifically point out that we believe in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. Incidentally, Hannity did not tell this woman who to vote for–just that he firmly believed that this was now a two person race. The woman made her own decision based on that fact–and her decision was to overlook her religious concerns and vote for Romney.
Why am I talking about this? Because this is a primary where minorities are at the forefront. I can’t imagine people so openly saying that they wouldn’t vote for Obama because he is black. Or Hillary Clinton because she is a woman (although I know that there are plenty of people who feel that way on both accounts). The point is, neither is a valid reason. And I’m having a hard time understanding why someone would vote for a candidate that they truly dislike based on personality and political views just because the other candidate belongs to a religious minority. And I’m beginning to think that this genuinely has something to do with the current standings in this primary.
Of course, this is the point where I have to admit to some hypocrisy. You see, when the candidates were first throwing their hats into the ring, I did not intend to vote for Mitt Romney. Why? Because he is LDS. Pretty shocking to hear from the Mormon girl, I know. The thing is, I figured that he wouldn’t have a prayer based on his religious beliefs. Shows how much I know–the candidate I originally thought I would support is now out of the race and supporting John McCain (and, yes, I am among those who really think that having McCain on the Republican ticket would be horrible).
I have been amazed at how far Romney has come, and how many big names in the Republican party have supported him. And, from a personal standpoint, I have been pretty impressed with our country based on this. I have spent my life defending my religious beliefs against people who really didn’t have a clue as to what they are. I have been amazed at how many times people have told me what I believe, and refused to listen when I told them they were wrong. I can even remember having a preacher from another church put his arm around me and say “We have to save you before you go to hell.” I was in the seventh grade at the time.
This primary is very much about minorities–on both sides of the aisle. Don’t believe me? When was the last time that a President was elected that was “The First…” To the best of my knowledge, it was John F. Kennedy. He was the first Catholic elected to be the President of the United States. And it was historic.
But, really, should it have been? And if our next President is black, female, Mormon, or a POW, is that what will really matter? Or should we stop worrying about the minorities, and just focus on the issues? Because, honestly, I really hope that by the time a person reaches an accomplishment like being in the running for “leader of the free world,” that their decisions will be based on something much deeper than what makes them different from the majorities that they represent.