Race & Yesterday

A vigorous debate took place this morning among the cable news
squawkers about whether the results of yesterday’s election signal a sea-change in America’s attitudes toward race. Tucker Carlson claimed on MSNBC that it was "insulting" to suggest that America passed a moral test by voting for Obama, it being implied, he thought, that we would have failed that test if McCain had won.

Tucker’s logic is flawed. If America had voted for McCain, it may not have been because of Obama’s race, but it would have been hard to know. What we know with certainty this morning is that Obama’s race did not stand in the way and in that sense America did pass an important moral test. Racism is the besetting sin of American history. Perversely enshrined in our founding documents, it bedeviiied the early progress of the nation and brought about a bloody civil war, which spawned a legacy of hate that reached its climax just forty years ago. One could argue that Obama was the wrong choice for any number of reasons. But in making that choice Americans revealed themselves to be a people who have come to terms with their distinctly original sin and made possible a new moment of reconciliation.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
10 years 2 months ago
Matt, We do not know what was in the hearts of the voters. The speculation from exit polls and other flawed information only leads to an uninformed analysis. The question of racism is inexplicable. It cuts both ways. Do we vote for competence and skill or the sense of affirmation for the historically challenged? It is too easy to suggest that we know why people made thier decisions. Mike
10 years 2 months ago
It strikes me that by continuing to employ Tucker Carlson, MSNBC is insulting the intelligence of the American electorate.

Advertisement
Advertisement

The latest from america

Native American protestors hold hands with parishioner Nathanial Hall, right, during a group prayer outside the Catholic Diocese of Covington on Jan. 22, 2019, in Covington, Ky. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
The furor over a chance meeting between Catholic high school students and Native American protesters underscores the need to listen and learn from indigenous voices.
Marlene LangJanuary 23, 2019
The staggering parliamentary defeat for Prime Minister Theresa May, seen here leaving 10 Downing Street on Jan. 23, pushed the country even further from safe dry land. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
After the stunning defeat of Theresa May's exit deal, Scotland is looking anew at independence, and the U.K. government fears economic disaster.
David StewartJanuary 23, 2019
Michael Osborne, a film director, documents the damage from a mud slide next to his home in Los Angeles on Jan. 18, after three days of heavy rain. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
The conceit of California-as-disaster-movie is ridiculous. But maybe watching our fires and mudslides helps other states consider both their own fragility and their underlying strength.
Jim McDermottJanuary 23, 2019
A commitment to religious liberty demands that effort be devoted to resolving, rather than exacerbating, any real or apparent tension between religious obligation and civil duty.
The EditorsJanuary 23, 2019