Robinson: This Election Is About More Than Policy; It’s About Our Identity
Eugene Robinson in the Washington Post:
This election is only tangentially a fight over policy. It is also a fight about meaning and identity — and that’s one reason voters are so polarized. It’s about who we are and who we aspire to be.
President Obama enters the final days of the campaign with a substantial lead among women — about 11 points, according to the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll — and enormous leads among Latinos and African Americans, the nation’s two largest minority groups. Mitt Romney leads among white voters, with an incredible 2-to-1 advantage among white men…
The intensity of the opposition to Obama has less to do with who he is than with the changes in U.S. society he not only represents but incarnates. Citing his race as a factor in the way some of his opponents have bitterly resisted his policies immediately draws an outraged cry: “You’re saying that just because I oppose Obama, I’m a racist.” No, I’m not saying that at all.
What I’m saying is that Obama’s racial identity is a constant reminder of how much the nation has changed in a relatively short time… Within a few decades, there will be no white majority in this country — no majority of any kind, in fact. We will be a nation of racial and ethnic minorities, and we will only prosper if everyone learns to give and take…
Some of Obama’s opponents have tried to delegitimize his presidency because he doesn’t embody the America they once knew. He embodies the America of now.