Great American Myths, Debunked

I was in Los Angeles on Election Night - 3000 miles from my home in Miami. I did early voting in Florida and then headed out west to spend some time with family, filled with anticipation of what was to come. You see, unlike some, I had fully and completely tossed my hand in with the fates (as documented here for the record). Sure, I felt Obama had a chance to cross over the 400 EV mark, but I was immanently satisfied with the 365-received (I covered my bet with that minimum of 331 EV). So at 8 PM PST, when they declared California for Obama and put him over the demarcation line of 270 EV into the winner's circle as the 44th President of the United States of America; the room, the house and the neighborhood around me erupted into joyous celebration. All around me - and in all communities across the country - Americans were triumphantly passing the torch from the old to the new.

And yet, what began as a whisper on that night ("did you hear? Prop 8 passed. I think it was the black vote that did it"), has since turned into a tsunami of recriminations and remonstrations all with the common theme of - "sigh, well we should have anticipated that black people would bring their prejudices with them to the polls."


Just what made anyone believe that this particular exit poll was any more accurate than all of the previous pre- and post-election polls across this campaign season? From New Hampshire in January through California in November, polls had consistently misunderestimated how to properly model both the overall wave of voters who were heading to the polls as well as the demographic breakdowns of those voters. But when you live in a country with a media as dedicated to removing daily reports from any historical context, each and every story is reported as though each day begins anew, with no context of what happened yesterday or - God forbid - six months ago.

And so we were treated to a parade of talking heads, each with their own rationale for why black folks behaved so trenchantly, truculently and - okay, I am out of appropriate adjectives that start with the letter "t" - and just what could be done to rectify this terrible, horrible very bad deed? Now, we have two university professors who have conducted a precinct-level statistical analysis of voting data; their results show that - oh, the horror! - black voters were pretty much like everyone else who entered the voting booth.

Here is a little tip, for those of you new to the country: America is a homophobic society. I know, I know, it doesn't say that in the vacation travel logs or the real estate brochures, but its true.

As a country, we put sexual orientation above national security!

So no, black voters don't need special outreach programs, black churches don't need special envoys from the gay community (as if they are not already represented) and we don't need guest spots on "black radio" (as if the commercialized community exploitation devices have any relationship with black radio that was once organically part of the community) offering to tell listeners the way, the truth and the light.

As a country, we need to wake up and let people be people. It is our society - along with many others around the world, to be fair - that has an issue with homosexual behavior. To say it plainly: this is the last area in which discrimination is accepted publicly. One can be the lead pastor of a megachurch, as well as the author of best-selling books and feel free to go on television and say something beyond nonsensical, merely because the object of the sentence is gay people.

Although the press fails to consider history as a component of their responsibilities, we are all swimming together in the same tide. Dr. King used to say that the arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice. I would hope, that in the same year in which we all witnessed the election of the first black president of the United States of America, we could all have just a little faith in the words of Dr. King.

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