The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Leave race and gender aside when casting your presidential vote

It’s an exciting time for politics. For our generation in this up and coming presidential election, there is a real chance of history being made.

The United States is a nation hungry for change: Democratic, Republican, or otherwise, it seems people are looking for the big issues (The Middle East, health care, tax cuts that bring about noticeable change, whatever you like) to be handled not only with conviction, but in, perhaps, ways all together different from how the current administration is handling them.

America is diverse, there are minorities, no doubt, but it’s a diverse country.

It was only a matter of time before this country offered its first legitimate black and female candidates for the presidency of the United States.

If you take the Iowa Democratic caucus (January 3, 2008) as any indication, you have to accept this as fact. Clinton placed third with 29 percent of the state delegate selections, to Obama’s first place with 38 percent (Edwards’ netted 30 percent).

Less than a week later, Clinton earned a “surprise” win (according to polls prior) in the New Hampshire primary on January 8, topping Obama 39 percent to 37. That made her the first woman to win a presidential party primary in United States history.

It’s hard to knock this sort of historical significance, and it’s exciting to think about what may be possible in the year to come.

But it presents a subtle sort of danger too.

There should be a degree of caution. Simply put, a woman president for the sake of a woman president-a black president for the sake of a black one-isn’t progress at all.

Don’t mistake this for veiled racism or sexism. Instead, take it as encouragement to make the most educated decision possible.

There is a certain pull, a desire to make history, to be a part of something special. But if you vote for Clinton, vote for her because she’s pro-environment or pro-choice. If you’re going to vote for Obama, do it because you back his ideas for a “dynamic free market and widespread economic security”.

In the same vain, obviously, don’t not vote for Clinton because she’s a woman, or for Obama because he’s black. If you’re intelligent enough to read that last sentence, it probably didn’t need writing in the first place. Maybe Obama doesn’t have enough foreign affairs experience for your liking. Maybe you disagree with Clinton’s immigration stance, or if you’re a member of the National Rifle Association perhaps you aren’t too fond of her take on Second Amendment issues.

The point is, yes, legitimate female and black candidates winning primaries, and placing high in initial caucuses is significant. If this turns into a presidency for either, it’ll be downright groundbreaking.

They’ll go into history books, and years from now when middle school students give their class presentations on perspective President Obama or Clinton, they will mention how they were the “first”.

And hopefully, though it’ll be worth mentioning, it won’t be because he was black, or because she was a woman. And if they lose, it’ll because the candidate lost, not the race, or the sex.

It would be easy to end this with something about “letting the best man win” but even that seems inappropriate, Sen. Clinton considered. Instead, just do your research. Don’t let any piece of media tell you how to think (yes, the irony is obvious). Don’t’ feed into celebrity endorsements. Don’t bother with stories about “Clinton’s emotional instability”.

Think. Question. Read. Don’t forget to think some more. Vote – intelligently.

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