Sometimes race is the only difference

By Philip Dalton

Not too long ago, a person ran for the office of president of the United States. The big question was whetehr or not he was qualified to hold that position. In my opinion, id depdned on the person who was voting.

See, this person was considered an outsider. He was not in with the Washington circles that dictated who got what, where, when and how. Many people felt he could offer an outsider’s insight into stale programs.

At the time, the United States was suffering from many problems, social and economic, and a lot of people felt that it was time for a change. This individual came up with some innovative solutions to these problems, that made some critics think twice about him, and whether or not people should vote for him.

But on the other hand there were people that said he didn’t have the experience. They questioned why a person who had never had any experience in government should hold the highest office in the land. See, many people subscribe to the theory that a candidate should hold at least one office and be somewhat brushed up on the magic of lying before they qualify for a position in the White House. This may be true but it also seems like a generic reason people use to disqualify people for offices, which by the way, have no set standards other than age in most cases.

This is why when most people look at candidates for any position and say, “He’s not qualified,” they look for a motive behind the statement.

The person I described above could have been one of two people. The two people are the Rev. Jesse Jackson and Ross Perot. I suppose there are other differences between these individuals that should not be ignored, such as party affiliation, motivations, and platforms.

I remember back in 1988 when Jackson was running, everybody was yelling, “He’s not qualified!!!” Some people said that about Ross Perot also, but most said he was an egotistical crackpot. I suppose, if he weren’t a crackpot, he would then be qualified. In the end, Perot had more support than Jackson ever had. That discrepancy in support, I feel, stems from one more fundamental difference. That difference is the color of their skin.

When Jackson was running for president, I was one of the people saying tha the never did anything in government before. He was an outsider who didn’t know the ins and outs of Washington, and didn’t have a clue as to how to govern. In 1992 all those negatives were suddenly transformed into positives for Ross Perot. He was the lovable outsider, who didn’t know the ins and outsof Washington, and didn’t have a clue as to how to govern. I believe there was racism involved in the dislike of Jackson and the support for Perot.

I don’t mean to indict Perot supporters, Jackson-haters or anyone in between of racism. Let’s face it, 1992 was a strange year in politics. But if one looks at the rhetoric used in both elections, one finds the same words but different conclusions.

I don’t want to draw any conclusions from this. I think racism is an overworked club which has been used to beat too many horses, but it is something that exists and should be watched, even in America’s largest competitive arena: the presidential election.