In the abstract, given the long and terrible history of slavery and institutionalized racism in much of the country, it will be a wonderful and glorious thing when the citizens of the United States elect our first black president. For that reason, if I believed that the cases for two competing presidential candidates—one black, the other white—were reasonably close, I would eagerly vote for the black candidate. But one point on which ardent supporters of Barack Obama and I agree is that the cases for Obama and John McCain are not remotely close. Many of those who think otherwise, I suspect, just haven’t been paying enough attention.
If Barack Obama is elected next Tuesday, his election will be seen as a striking symbol of yet further progress towards respecting the American ideal that “all Men are created equal.” Insofar as our fellow citizens who have endured, and continue to endure, discrimination and other indignities because of the color of their skin would take special joy in that symbolic achievement, I would extend them my genuine congratulations and find some consolation in their joy.
Only consolation, though, for, alas, we do not live in the abstract, and symbols are no substitute for substance. As the ever-wise Thomas Sowell explains today, a President Obama may well be “catastrophic”. For all his many admirable gifts, Barack Obama gives ample evidence of being a hard-left ideologue who would pursue policies and make appointments, especially to the Supreme Court, that I believe would be very damaging to the country and unfaithful to American ideals. If Obama is elected, I will hope and pray that I am very wrong.