Assuming a presidential candidate agrees with you on most issues, a recent Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll asked, which of the following types of candidate would you not vote for? Respondents were given several choices, including: "Woman," "African-American," "Mormon" and "72 years old." The result? Only 4 percent of registered voters ruled out voting for a woman, while 3 percent of voters said they would not vote for an "African-American" candidate. Almost five times as many registered voters -- 14 percent -- said they could not vote for a Mormon or a 72-year-old.
We live in an age where mega-golfer Tiger Woods stands as the world's most recognizable athlete. Hollywood's current box-office leader is black actor Will Smith. Oprah Winfrey, a black woman -- and television's most powerful personality -- earns an estimated $260 million a year, with a $2.5 billion net worth as that medium's most powerful force.
Winfrey, publicly endorsing a presidential candidate for the first time, traveled to Iowa to stump for Obama. There on the stage sat Winfrey, Obama's Harvard Law-educated wife and Obama, himself, who became the first black to head the Harvard Law Review. Surrounded by a sea of mostly white Iowans, Winfrey and Obama spoke to an affectionate crowd that hung on every word.
Did state Sen. Ford reconsider his position after Obama won the Iowa caucus? Ford remains unmoved. "Of course you're going to have white liberals in a Democratic primary vote for Obama," said Ford. "That's why I'm concerned. You've got people in this country who wouldn't even vote for a black for dogcatcher, and now you want to ask them to vote for one for president of the United States?"
After Obama's Iowa victory, a smiling Jesse Jackson appeared on television. This is reminiscent of boxing promoter Don King, who enters the ring with his arm around "his guy." Then "his guy" loses, and Don King exits the ring with his arm around "his guy's" vanquisher. But Jackson came late to the party. Obama reflects a refreshing departure from the politics of black anger/white guilt that Jackson and Sharpton revel in. It's not 1954 anymore -- and most Americans consider this good news. But the firm of Jackson & Sharpton fights battles long since won, committed to viewing the world through race-tinted glasses.
Time for a new pair of specs.