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Global: The art of gaining votes

Categories: East Asia, Eastern & Central Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa, Myanmar (Burma), Russia, Sierra Leone, Democratic Party, Republican Party, Civil Rights & Ethnicity, Government & Politics, Media & Internet, Religion

The War on Terror, the U.S. recession, health care and theories of global warming are just some of the issues that will play a factor in who becomes the 44th U.S. president. But, as the campaign plays out, will decisions be made on how the candidates treat or see each other?

Abdul Kargo, who is an American of Russian/Sierra Leonean descent, writes in his blog T’ings ‘n Times [1] about McCain’s ad showcasing Obama as a “celebrity candidate.” He states that the ad is hypocritical of McCain, who had a cameo in Wedding Crashers, and that being a “celebrity” isn’t necessarily a bad thing. He further addresses how the Republican candidate compared Obama to Paris Hilton and Britney Spears:

Why compare the presumptive Democratic nominee to a pair of celebutantes? It’s really quite simple. First off, we can be sure that education or educatedness—or whatever other qualities might prepare someone to lead a country—do not rank very high on the list of qualities people love in Paris or Britney. This is not to imply that Britney and Paris are unintelligent or uneducated. The point is only that these women are beloved not for their being qualified to lead the country. The Obama comparison thus implies that Obama, like Britney and Paris, is popular—because of his looks or some other quality—but not for his ability to lead. Ergo: Barack Obama is very popular but he’s not ready to lead.

Therefore, if Obama is a celebrity – he falls more in line with the entertainment industry. Kargo then analyzes this subject of Black people in the entertainment industry:

Black athletes, actors, and musicians have attained tremendous fame and secured professions for themselves by entertaining the American public. In my view, these accomplishments should be seen as a testament to the resilience of Black people in this country. Alas! No good deed goes unpunished so the Black community is repaid with binary stereotypes that place intelligence and athleticism/artistry/musical talent at opposite ends of a spectrum. “Sure,” the argument goes, “Black people are good entertainers but they’re not so smart. This is why there are so few Black directors, quarterbacks, or music executives.” In other words, talent and intelligence become mutually exclusive categories.

Kargo’s idea of mutually exclusive categories brings upon another issue: did McCain and Obama (or even Hilary Clinton, a few months ago) become potential candidates because of certain traits they possess – say another type of “mutually exclusive categories”?

Aung Kyaw, a Burmese-American college student, writes in her blog, a brain workout [2], that only those that qualify for the Christian “category” will ever have a chance for presidency.

Americans care oh-so-much about the religious preferences of McCain and Obama. For me, religion doesn’t matter. I think religion has little to do with how well someone performs as president. It’s irrelevant. In fact, it makes people do crazy things, like cut federal spending on stem cell research, especially when the stem cells are just thrown away instead of being put to scientific use.

In the last paragraph of her post, Kyaw writes:

Presidential campaigns are about being as narrow-minded as possible.