This maybe has nothing to do with anything but as I was laying in bed last night this thought occurred.

Hope and change.  Something we all strive for.  To better ourselves.  Something our president got elected on last time.  Something he just won four more years based on, more than likely.  What's wrong with hope and change?  Why do the republicans and our country as a whole, seem so opposed to it.  Hope and change empowers someone like Barack Obama to run and get elected.  Let's face it, the powers that be in our country are rich white men.  They are the only ones who could possibly be threatened.  Hope and change enables a black man to run for president or a gay woman to run for the Senate and win.  Hope and change is why people came to this country in the 1700's.  Hope and change are why immigrants flock here.  It's what makes this country great.  Old rich white men are threatened by it because it means they have to share the country and the power with blacks, asians, europeans, women, gays, hispanics, and anyone who ISN'T a rich white man.  The balance is already shifting, before we know it, this country won't be run by rich white men.  It will be run by a true blend of what this country is, and who this country is.  Because America isn't a rich white asshole.  America isn't the tea party.  America isn't the 99%.  America is the woman who moved here from mexico, works as a property manager to feed her family.  America is the Mormon missionary riding his bike down the street, doing what his faith calls him to do.  America is the college student, working a part time job to pay his or her way through (insanely expensive) college.  America is opportunity.  For everyone.  So yes, I welcome hope and change.  I welcome four more years.  Because everyone deserves the opportunity to better themselves.  EVERYONE.  Not just the privileged few who were born with a silver spoon.

To be clear.  I'm a white man.  I'm a christian.  And I'm a libertarian.  Who I voted for doesn't really matter, but what happened 2 nights ago, to me, is a sign that there is still hope for this country.  Anything really is possible. 

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Comment by Will on November 9, 2012 at 3:32pm

Old rich white men are threatened by it...

This is what's called "projection."  Unless you've surveyed old white men, and I doubt that's the case, you're not describing what old rich white men think, but what you imagine you would think if you were an old rich white man.  And maybe you would think that.  But that's what you would think, not what they think.  It's OK to think that, I believe, as long as you own it.

So what do they think?  An opinion pollster might know.

Comment by Liam S. on November 9, 2012 at 3:15pm

I agree that we need to revisit the systems - they are not fair (to anyone) as they are currently implemented.

I disagree that they are not necessary, or that their existence perpetuates "racial wounds".

 

Comment by SB on November 9, 2012 at 3:09pm

But is that a reason to set up a nationwide program, or programs, to preferentially assist all members of a certain race, whether they individually have been discriminated against or not? Or to systematically discriminate against every member of a different race, based on the actions of a few?  Because that is what we are doing.  And in doing so we keep the racial issue an open wound that will continue divide us. 

Comment by Liam S. on November 9, 2012 at 2:53pm

SB - we'll probably just have to agree to disagree. Here in Chicago (and many major cities), up until very recently (sub 20 years) there have been active actions to restrict housing options, food and transportation options, and education options to african american neighborhoods. This means we are only now getting kids out of some of those neighborhoods who can even think about getting through high-school, much less past it - and they are having to overcome quite a lot to do it. 

 

This is not a matter of a hypothetically in the past there were wrongs committed argument. This is a "we are still dealing with the ramifications" argument. Some groups actually are, demonstrably, measurably, disadvantaged. 

 

I'm not proposing that coming from such a circumstance is a ticket to ride or a reason on its own for preferential treatment. But I do think it should be a factor in some kinds of assessments.

Comment by SB on November 9, 2012 at 2:27pm

@Liam--

it is by our actions and our history that we have forced large segments of the population into a position where they must now overcome greater challenges

My forefathers came to this country as peasants from Ireland.  We were treated like serfs for many years.  The Irish Catholic community in New York was routinely discriminated against in the 1800's.  Does this mean that I can demand government sponsored help because of something my great grandfather suffered?  Of course not!  That is a crazy idea.  It is crazy because every racial/political/gender group, somewhere along the line has suffered an injustice at the hands of the government. From this line of thinking we can all be considered 'disadvantaged'.

Look, we are all masters of our own fate.  We progress from where we start.  I will never be a millionaire, but that does not mean I look to the government to fulfill my wishes, or that I tear down the rich because I cannot join them.  And yet that is what some are suggesting.  "Redistribution of wealth", "Leveling the playing field" these are all strategies for doing just that. 

@Victor--

Because everyone deserves the opportunity to better themselves.  EVERYONE.  Not just the privileged few who were born with a silver spoon.

Everyone has this opportunity.  Enough said.

Comment by Victor Franklin on November 9, 2012 at 1:43pm

I agree there is still plenty of opportunity, but what bothers me is all the rhetoric.  "The Middle class is dying" is a really inflammatory statement.  This statement spreads fear into the middle class, taking away opportunity by use of fear.  The middle class is and can still be a good life.  Because opportunity does exist here, in spite of those who fear-monger and try to convince people that they are stuck.

Comment by Liam S. on November 9, 2012 at 1:42pm

And by "some of this is racial" I mean to say that our actions on them were as a result of their race. Not that there are inherent factors of their race involved.

Comment by Liam S. on November 9, 2012 at 1:41pm

You misunderstand me - it is by our actions and our history that we have forced large segments of the population into a position where they must now overcome greater challenges than other segments of the population. Some of that is racial, but not all, and is not by virtue of the race itself but rather the society around it.

I think some consideration of that fact as one factor, is relevant. Undoing what we have done, if you will, because the after effects of our previous actions and policies (it has only been 50 years, afterall) are still very much present. 

If we, as a nation, decide that certain individuals need help to be competitive  then we should work to develop realistic, fair mechanisms, not simply a tweaking of the old discrimination policies.

 

This I certainly agree with. 

Comment by SB on November 9, 2012 at 1:29pm

Liam-I'm sorry, but I cannot agree with you.  Where you start in life is were you start.  That is fate, or the will of the gods, or whatever.  Some people will always be ahead of others in any given aspect of life, be it financial, happiness, good looks, whatever..  That's not wrong, that's reality.  

Even if I did agree that those that start 'behind' others should be helped along, basing this help along racial lines is absurd.  In a very real sense, the government is saying "Look, we know that certain races are inferior and we need to give them a hand so they can be competitive".  That is a philosophy that I cannot, and will not, embrace.  

If we, as a nation, decide that certain individuals need help to be competitive  then we should work to develop realistic, fair mechanisms, not simply a tweaking of the old discrimination policies.

 

Comment by Liam S. on November 9, 2012 at 12:43pm

SB - by and large, I agree with you. 

This statement: 
Anyone can go to college—anyone! Anyone can rise to whatever height they want, socially, economically, or whatever.  They may have to work for it.

Is particularly true. We are seeing though, is - if we take a race as a metaphor, two kids are timed for when they cross a finish line - one of them ran 100 meters, and the other 115 meters... we are asking only that the judging (lets say for college admissions) take into account the extra distance ran. That extra distance can be any number of factors - it may be a kid who didn't have the benefit of tutors, involved parents, had to work while in school, and learn english at a more advanced age, or be judged based on tests that were written making assumptions about a persons background and familiarity with concepts that are not universal  -  just to get to the same starting point. 

Should those factors trump final performance and be the sole measure by which someone is judged (or before they succeed or fail)? No. But they do need to be a factor. That's the liberal/democrat position. Lets make sure the whole picture is taken into account, not just the time they cross the finish line. 

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