April 23, 2024

Voting While Guilty

At Slate, Ron Rosenbaum says that it’s not wrong to vote for Barack Obama because of his race.  This is an assertion I’m highly resistant to.  I believe my vote ought to be for the candidate who is most likely to do the things I believe are right for the nation – the candidate who earns my vote, in other words.

Ron’s justification?  Guilt caused by men and women long dead, in an era filled with gross miscarriages of justice among which black slavery was arguably among the worst.

Not one of us is a slave owner today, segregation is no longer enshrined in law, and there are fewer overt racists than before, but if we want to praise America’s virtues, we have to concede—and feel guilty about—America’s sins

This is, of course, utter tripe.  I can no more feel genuine guilt for actions my ancestors might have taken 6 generations ago than I can foresee the effect my life may have on future generations so far removed from me.

I do regret that black American’s ancestors were brought here in chains and forced to work and live in slavery.  I truly do.  But that has no more to do with me than Ben Franklin flying his kite in a thunderstorm or Lewis and Clark exploring the American northwest.  I can learn from history, celebrate the great things that were done in America two centuries ago, and reject the bad.  But feel guilt, true heartbreaking guilt?  No.

Rosenbaum goes on the play amateur psychologist by disparaging Sigmund Freud, of all people, and conservatives alike.

Shouldn’t conservatives feel guilty about slavery and racism and the consequences thereof, or must they disdain such feelings, however moral, because they are associated with liberals? Do they choose their moral priorities because of their popularity among others?

Or could it be that conservatives disdain liberal guilt about race because they have historically more guilt to bear for the perpetuation of racism and segregation?

Talk about your unfounded ad hominem attacks!  This one is just sad, like the whole idea of voting a man into office to make amends for a historical wrong none of us were witness to.

To heck with guilt.  Let the best man – or woman – win.


Marc is a software developer, writer, and part-time political know-it-all who currently resides in Texas in the good ol' U.S.A.

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