Monday, November 03, 2008

Gas, and also hot air

Gas is $1.99 outside work. The gas in my tank is $0.49 per gallon more expensive, and I bought it a week ago. Wow.

I remember the first time I bought gas for over $2 per gallon. It was in Dayton, so no later than 2004, and I was driving to Columbus to catch a plane for work early the next day so I didn't want to take the chance on finding something cheaper on the way. I found a receipt in my car for $4.07 per gallon gas from July. These are funny times.

I'm anticipating that very late tomorrow people will start talking about "our first black president," so I shall say now how much that annoys me and get it over with. Unless he identifies completely with black people, Obama will not be our first black president. He'll be our first mixed-race, partly-black president (or at least I hope he will).

I do realize that to most people in this country, any black means black. He's not white enough for most white people. I also strongly suspect that at least when he was growing up, he wasn't black enough for black people, either. I have a book at home that examines mixed-race children in America. It's mostly on black/white mixes, since that's the major, and most emotionally charged, mix around here. At the time I was vaguely annoyed by that because I was looking for something that related to me, and that doesn't. But now that I live in a city that concerns itself with this kind of thing, and hope to shortly live under a mixed-race president, I'm glad I read it. And it says that a mixed-race child is too white for the blacks, and too black for the whites, and generally only finds refuge in the people who actually see him or her as an actual person. I've long since forgotten the race issue except when reminded because I know enough about Obama now to consider him as a person. I wish more people could do the same.

Eric and I talked recently about how his dad routinely talks about his black students and his white students and how that bothers me, and Eric's stance is that though he personally doesn't use the same language, he doesn't see his dad as wrong because, statistically speaking, there are differences in the two groups. --But then he went on to discuss theories of teaching, and how there are theories that a group of mostly females should be taught differently from a group of mostly males, and he doesn't believe in that either. We were also talking about how I grew up always believing that "liberal" was a good thing, and that Republicans were mostly wrong, while he grew up thinking "conservative" was a good thing, and that Democrats were mostly wrong. "It's like we lived in different countries," he said. There are no black-white issues in Seattle as there are Toledo. The major minority (hmm) there is Asian, and there isn't as much tension, or the same kind of stereotypes, so it's a different dynamic--and as far as I ever noticed, a nonissue.

People who say they're afraid that Obama will "take care of his own people first" don't know what they're talking about. They're trying to say, "He's black, so he'll give special favors to the black people." Presumably they believe the same is true of McCain but in reverse, but that doesn't bother them because they'll be the ones being taken care of. Maybe they assume the candidates would act as they themselves would--or implicitly realize that that actually is what already happens, with the people in power--mostly white people--taking care of their own.

Probably there are lots of people in the country about whom that would be a reasonable fear, but none of them would become the likely winner in the American presidential election. There's an old saying that women have to be excellent just to be recognized as competent, and I expect the same is true for black, or partially-black, people. I'm hopeful about having Obama as president because he's had to do very well in everything else in his life to get where he is, and he has the intelligence and capacity to keep on doing it. I'm not very hopeful that America's race issues will get significantly better anytime soon, which depresses me very much. "Maybe when that generation is dead," I think, but then I assume that people my age--or even most intelligent people--are like me, and that's not true either. Eric's mom says, "Obama scares the shit out of me, and I don't know why. There's just something about him." I think I know what the something is, but it's something about her, not him.

I'm glad I can cast a vote in a swing state, but I wish I didn't live in a city with such a divisive attitude. Alternately, I could wish I had a "people," but I don't, other than the friends I choose and the family I love. I'd have to ask him to be sure, but I don't think Obama has a "people" either, any more than I do, or than most people do. (If I am ever elected president, all left-handed half-Asian non-high-school-diploma-possessing master's-degree-bearing vegetarians named Jennifer shall get preferential treatment. I don't think this will tie up much of my presidential time.) He has a family, and a hometown, and a country, and so do we all. And I hope that in January he has a presidency.

(With that said, I am not voting tomorrow. I voted two weeks ago. Eric voted yesterday and the line was three hours long.)


Anonymous said...

Most American's don't care about race, and it annoys me when people think that if you don't vote for Obama that you must be racist. He scares me, not because of race, but because he is so inexperienced. Would you hire a likable kid fresh out of college to run a company? I believe in voting for the most qualified candidate. I don't care if they are black, white, purple, or striped. I am voting for McCain, not because he is white, but he represents my beliefs and values better than Obama. It has nothing to do with race.

Jenny said...

If you're saying I'm calling you racist because you're not voting for Obama, I'm not. It annoys me when people say that, too. I think everyone believes in voting for the most qualified candidate. I don't think Obama is any less experienced than the other candidate. Neither of them have a lot of directly applicable experience; but, like in any other position, a person's background and character can make up for it. I think he can.