U.S. Presidential race

Hey guys, I am curious about something. In my eyes, all people are the same. They just happen to look different and talk differently in different parts of the world. The only thing that truly seperates them from one another is culture.

So why would it help if McCain was a black guy? What’s with the obsession with skin colour? The main problem with western culture, as I see it, is the encouragement of division, otherwise known as multi-culturalism. I know it’s a very Christian point of view for me which tends to enrage the liberals but why not promote this novel ideal that humanity is in actual fact, one race and not a mix of separate races? Stop promoting segregation by obssessing over skin colour, and start focusing on actual policies to improve the overall quality of life instead?

I don’t think it will matter who wins this race in the end because U.S. troops will be remaining in the Middle East to secure future client states regardless, so the left wingers still “lose”.

Yeah I’m pretty bitter when it comes to politics. I would like to think things might change soon but I don’t have too much faith in either candidate.

The big thing Obama has going for him is not his skin color (there have been black candidates before who have never gotten past the primaries) but rather his youthfulness and apparent desire to make things DIFFERENT. “Different” is not really well defined and arguably one would never become a presidential candidate in the first place if their politics were TOO different but he offers the appearance, if nothing else, of having nothing in common with the current president. That’s why Dennis Kucinich will never be president.

Obama claims to have a plan to get troops out of Iraq within a year of entering office. I’m sure he does. I could not say if he would actually GO THROUGH with the plan or just toss it in the garbage once elected.

I have not yet decided on who to vote for. I’m thinking of Mickey Mouse? Or do I dare bring myself to vote for Obama? (Last election I wrote in the candidate of the Socialist party.)

MCcain doesn’t impress me as a potential leader either. I just don’t understand why it’s so impossible just to find smart leaders, or maybe I am getting the wrong impression here.

I’m not sure I understand your question actually Geoffrey, since I’m not sure of who thinks it would help if McCain was black and how…

It sure as hell wouldn’t help get him many votes from members of the party who are already supposed to vote for him. But if you’re simply saying it shouldn’t matter what tint either candidate’s skin has, then absolutely, like duh. But racism is still currently a fact of life, and it’s a particularly nuanced yet also volatile fact of American life. Obama would represent a precedent, the importance of which cannot be overstated. Whereas McCain, regardless of his other merits, would fit right into a long line of well vested old Caucasian males.

I am NOT implying any sort of qualitative parallel here… but would you ever ask why the color of Nelson Mandela’s skin matters?

At any rate, in my estimation the very last thing my nation needs is another warmonger in office right now. And that’s absolutely what John McCain is representing anymore. So the reason I myself won’t be voting for him has nothing whatsoever do with breed or culture.

If I were a Yankie I would be voting for Obama. McCain is just more of the same that we’ve had under Bush. Likewise in this country, the Labour party leadership has become stale and has run out of ideas for change. This is also the story for the Republican party.

Obama to me represents the drastic need for change that America has so desperately been calling out for for six years or so. Yes he is black, but they only thing that might have to do with anything is how his upbringing has affected who he is and his policies.

The one thing I fear though is that he is at risk from assasination more than any other (potential) President. Oh well.

I’m just saying, this notion of a “black vote” or “white vote” skews politics to the point of ridiculousness. So some would sooner vote for a black or white guy over a smart person which just defies reason. Instead of trying to appease every single little or large group, find something everyone can agree on.

Image seems more important than policies.

I don’t think highly of McCain. He strikes me as dumbfounded and has no real grasp of the current situation as a whole. It’s almost as if he has to prepare for every question rather than have some general even vague idea already.

I just wonder where all the smart leaders went.

To stress my point, how many “African Americans” do you see voting for Obama merely because he’s black or vice versa? It really should not be the motivator. Either you like the person’s policies or you do not. End of story.

I’m kind of wondering what Obama’s stance toward the resurgent Russia is actually. America doesn’t really “need” NATO at all.

I think it might seem more like that simple in the filtering outside the country, because it’s obviously something everyone can understand without needing to know much else about American politics. But in the scheme of things it mostly goes without saying here, or at least most intelligent dialog rejects the way in which the “race card” gets spoken of otherwise.

But in a nation where most people have carried an assumption that a black (or otherwise egregiously complected) person, would simply never get elected to the highest office in the foreseeable future… the fact Obama has that chance is a freaking big deal. To reduce that aspect of this campaign to an “image” issue is almost trite; when social inequities that consistently follow ethnic lines are a chronic concern, then the ethnic image of our president becomes very much a reflection of our policies.

I’ll borrow a metaphor from South Park here… when people are resigned to politics as being a choice between a Giant Douche or a Turd Sandwich anyway, then why wouldn’t the color of the candidate’s skin become reason enough to vote for them?

While it may seem a little pointless or nitpicky of me to mention it , just a little correction about your first "race"statement, geoffrey.
Strictly biologically speaking , we are one species , and there are indeed different races. And i would never opt to change the vocabulary about this just for reasons of political correctness.
Also i think that you confused multiethnicism with multiculturalism.(correct me if i am wrong)

Overall the whole election is a very complicated thing with so many factors that i could fill 3 pages with a giant textwall and still only scratch the surface.
I’ll briefly fly over the few things that bother me the most at the moment:

I love the metaphor from South Park btw because imo it is precisely the sitation we have here.

While you can focus on the factor of skin-color, you may be blind to the fact that people overall vote for superficial reasons, which is not only limited to race.
Want examples?
nemoide mentioned what some people seem to think: Obama=younger=change , which imo isn’t true.That guy got where he is now by playing strictly by the rules , he won’t bring anything new to the table at all.
He is more charismatic than McCain so automatically by looking better , people see him as a nicer person. Charisma is much more important than
qualification. Or why would Obama-followers doubt Palin’s qualification?

iirc, she is more experienced than Obama which would make the whole argumentation ironic.(I am aware that her nomination alone was for specific strategic reasons and there were perhaps otherwise better suited candidates for that role)

Isn’t this in truth a symptom of man>woman , or attractive woman=stupid?
(Not being pro-palin, i abhor her and her views on so many subjects, just criticizing the argumentation in the media)

What also makes me sad is all the focus on racism, while the issue of sexism still exists. How many people didn’t vote for Hillary “because” she’s a woman?

There is also the issue about religion.
You mentioned “black” and “white” votes, but how about religious groups
voting because of their minor agendas?
I saw very interesting results from a study. The U.S. may be a secular state, but nevertheless an overwhelming majority of people said that the religious belief of a politician is important and (here comes the shocking part) that his religious convictions SHOULD influence his political decisions.
Furthermore, people would strictly refuse to vote for certain candidates if those candidates would be atheists.

I won’t even start to complain about the problems that the mass media or the internet bring to the table…or lobbyism…geez…or the controversial irak-issues.
my opinion: they shouldn’t have started that war, but in the current situation, leaving this region quickly would be the worst thing they can do.

There is more difference between races than mere color alone, genetically each race has it’s own tendencies behaviorally and health related,

Some health related issues are:
Far East Asians are more prone to Paranoia, Asians in general have lower immune systems, for example. Asians are also at much more danger from diabetes from bad diet/unhealthy life style than a white person or black person would be.

White people are more resistant to Alcohol than others due to an extra enzyme. Scottish people have a gene that makes them more prone to be asthmatic.

Black people are more prone to strokes (maybe).

Etc the list goes on.

Eventually, through interbreeding, we will arrive at a unified stage where everyone has a similar colour/characteristics, presumably the most dominant genes will survive, as is the process of natural selection.

Although as far as a presidential election goes it doesn’t really matter, as long as the person has the people of the country’s best interests at heart (and when do they ever do?).

“behavioural tendencies” ? that’s very thin ice you’re walking on there…
i think they are rather associated with memes than genes, while
certain behavioural tendencies can indeed be linked to genes for the individual, the genetic pool of a “race” is so vast that you can’t really generalize like that.
metabolistic differences are indeed statistically proven.
Reminds me of the stories when populace X apparently has an unpleasant smell for populace Y …
Another example that comes to my mind is the higher percentages of lactose-intolerance among asians.
However , such things are not race-related per se, but rather certain mutations that just happen to be present more often in certain regions.
It’s like you said it: natural selection on a genetic scale , which affects millions and millions of genes in billions of individuals , which is not linked to race at all but independant of it.
Gogo Dawkins!

I agree that you can’t generalize (Although I really enjoy generalizations, they are beyond awesome), but really, it is obvious that many people living in China are going to have, say, more similar DNA to each other than a random Chinese person selected at random compared with a random Zimbabwean. It’s reasons like this that in a hospital they prefer not to just take bone marrow from an Afro-American and slab it into an Asian for transplants.

I am Chinese, and every Chinese person I know has a pretty low tolerance for getting drunk… and I mean ridiculously low.

But you could say that there are no such things as a “Race” either if we look at it that way, as Race itself is defined by different genetic combination and mutations that originated from different regions of the Earth, however they only seem to be defined by* appearance*. Where do we draw the line for one “Race” to end and another to begin if we really look at all of the genetic data? The lines are heavily blurred…

I know that you’re saying the genetics that control the colour of your skin aren’t related to the the ones that control your behavior, but even metabolic differences aren’t necessarily directly linked to “race” even though statistically proven.

Let’s say that (for the sake of arguement) all Asians are violent, if a mutation that causes violent behavior has become prevalent throughout the majority of Asian’s, I’d say it’s quite safe to say that “Most Asians are Violent”.

I fully consider humans to be an animal, and in dogs, it is ok to say that “An Akita is a High Energy Breed of Dog” so I feel quite comfortable saying that “Asians get pissed out of their face very easily”, even though I’m well aware that not all Akita’s are that energetic.

We can’t let genetic variations within races get in the way of making enjoyably gross generalizations of entire continents. Unless of course they are willing to throw the book down and come out and tell everyone that not all Akita’s are energetic after-all…

The term “race” means what it means, it’s not technical anyway. But in practice it’s got a blurry connotation, hence my use of “breed” sometimes since that’s truly what it amounts to. The classic idea of race carries an implication of archetypal purity, and that’s why it really is archaic, since there is no true archetype for any “race” only a median for the current stage of adaptation.

Even aside from the fundamental nature vs nurture debate, I do believe there’s a mainstream tunnel-vision about genetics at the moment. The genetic template is still very mutable, and will certainly compensate for extreme biochemical deficiencies, so even minor developmental influences must be reflected, if in very subtle ways. And one factor seemingly often marginalized is how much of that influence happens before birth, making even anecdotal evidence from twins for instance, very complicated to interpret.

All kind of irrelevant I suppose, but it’s clear enough that all the ‘facts’ which seem to speak for themselves are all quite innocuous and irrelevant when it comes to any attempted argument against a “race”. Every clear ‘deficiency’ of an ethnic group has an adaptive reinforcement which is just as clear. Like lactose intolerance… which you might expect to be more common in the population of a region where most cultures didn’t drink livestock milk!

But to the main topic… I don’t see any way Obama could radically change Washington, but at this stage that’s largely irrelevant. I don’t care about the Democrats at all, but things are so critical right now that even a vote for the lesser of two evils is starting to feel like life or death. It’s time to start thinking about simply stemming the bleeding… Yes they’re all politicians, but the Democrats still seem to wrestle with their collective conscience. at least occasionally, and often to their own detriment. The Republican (Neo-Con) machine made it absolutely clear long ago that they’re willing to molest every last shred of their souls to win.

The campaign the candidate runs has to count for something, and if this reheated stew of Right Wing opportunism and cynicism is capable of winning again, in the middle of this calamitous period… then we may as well just turn out the lights, it’s freaking OVER.

I am rather amazed how many people seem to distrust Obama, but to me it speaks to how unnerving a campaign of relatively novel integrity may be, and thus it speaks to the average integrity of the people who find it so.

I also notice that from a european point of view the U.S. are often seen in a very generalized way without considering the regional differences in mentality.
It was a shock when i first read about theories (ofc it’s only speculation but the mere thought seemed impossible to me a few years ago) that the U.S as a whole would probably not exist anymore in 50 years but that at one point a “split” between 2 camps would be inevitable.
I would love to hear (preferrably from a resident of the U.S) what this is about.
Is it the “Liberal States” vs. “Bible Belt” conflict ?

[quote=“Heretic Agnostic”]The term “race” means what it means, it’s not technical anyway. But in practice it’s got a blurry connotation, hence my use of “breed” sometimes since that’s truly what it amounts to. The classic idea of race carries an implication of archetypal purity, and that’s why it really is archaic, since there is no true archetype for any “race” only a median for the current stage of adaptation.

Although it wouldn’t be archetypal,
doesn’t breed also carry that type of “purity” connotation, possibly even more so than Race?
In paint you have your primary colours, they are what they are, but secondary colours are intentionally mixed a specific way and must be mixed that way every time to be the same colour.

Dog breeders get very snooty about dogs that belong to a particular “breed” that doesn’t fit all of the characteristics.

For example, my West Highland Terrier is about 6 inches taller than a normal Westie and has curly hair, even though he is a pedigree. This is frowned upon by breeders as it means he is a deviation from the “correct” genetic path of that “breed”.

Wikipedia’s definition of Race goes as follows:
*In biology, a race is any inbreeding group, including taxonomic subgroups such as subspecies, taxonomically subordinate to a species and superordinate to a subrace and marked by a pre-determined profile of latent factors of hereditary traits. *

The vague descriptor of Traits would imply that many factors amongst a race are common. It is no coincidence that the majority of Chinese people have eyesight problems…

And Breed:
A breed is a homogeneous group of animals within a species that have been deliberately selected and developed by humans for their similar appearance. For a type to be recognised as a breed, there should be a viable true-breeding population.

Appearance alone was not the sole reason for creating breeds though - Humans selectively chose races with specific behavioral and health characteristics to create breeds.

Terriers were given more “hunting instinct” and often used for things such as Rat/Mice killing.
Other dogs were given characteristics such as being playful, or being relaxed to suit different potential pet markets.

Unless people are willing to drop their bullshit double standards for Animals and Humans (Dogs are allowed to be classed behaviorally by breed) I don’t see how it’s going to be possible to persuade people to drop their generalizations.

Keeping the blood lines pure though is essentially anti-evolution (Although some seem to enjoy this concept).

As even in the Dog breeders world, there are people who will tell you that a Dog’s behavior is instinctual (genetic) and others that will tell you it’s all about how you raise the dog (memetic).

A dramatic overhaul in the way people view the world is needed.

As even in the Dog breeders world, there are people who will tell you that a Dog’s behavior is instinctual (genetic) and others that will tell you it’s all about how you raise the dog (memetic).

A dramatic overhaul in the way people view the world is needed.[/quote]

The whole racial discussion deserves it’s own thread because we drift away from the main-topic unfortunately.
I share your view about humans being animals, but dog races are a bad example for 2 reasons:

  1. All dog races being the result of a rather high amount of selectivity for very specific traits, which includes a high amount of inbreeding and also a low number (compared to that of the human species) of individual animals.
    2.The animal mind is less complex than that of the average human and influenced by fewer factors, take human “consciousness” into consideration (even if free will is an illusion , there still is the human “consciousness” setting it apart from other animals , see my P.S. mention about this)
    A person i know has a large amount of huskies (around 60), she is a breeder and you could see select personality traits of the animals being genetic, little quirks that set them apart of the youngster of other parents,but which only those sisters/brothers had in common.

What i am trying to illustrate for you is the following:
your example of dog races versus humans is not a good example.
not because of any political correctness or bullshit humans-are-more-than-animals idea.
The problem is that the 2 are incomparable because of the sheer difference in scale (and different breeding conditions)
If you take 5000 West Highland Terrier and let them wildly roam around and breed until they have reached a population of , lets say 10 millions,
the question is if you would still find the same specific traits that used to define them as race. You would probably witness a vast amount of variation concerning behaviour/bodysize/coloration.
You could take smaller populations of humans which have been more selectively bred. The Massai for example, which have certain characteristics which clearly set them apart from surrounding populations.
The list of what sets them apart is a short one though.

For animals and humans (have to set them apart here for the sake of the argument) alike , it’s a mix of memetics and genetics , just a different quota , with genes weighing in more for animals.

I understand your view and your preferrence to generalize and categorize , trying to fit everything into concepts as simplified as possible , i do this myself , but bear one very important thing in mind: Keep things as simple as possible, but not any simpler.

P.S. About consciousness/free will/religion , there is a book that i am reading atm , which i can only recommend to you , chizzles , it has dramatically changed my view of the human species , a true eye-opener
"the origin of consciousness in the breakdown of the bicameral mind" by julian jaynes.
while not being specifically about what we talked about here , it might help you accept the heightened level of complexity involving the human mind compared to that of other animals , all from a purely psychological/neurological perspective.

I have not thoroughly read the above posts but hopefully I can say something a little interesting to read?

It does not matter if humans are or are not technically many “races”. “Race” is just a label we use so we can explain things into neat compartments. ie “This person has different skin color than me because he is in a different race”. This really explains nothing but SOUNDS like it does. Compartments and labels do not matter nearly as much as actual experience. Instead of saying “Chinese people” it would be more accurate “Person from China(A)”, “Person from China(B)”, “Person from China©”, etc. After all, no race is absolutely homogeneous, I think there are pretty much always exceptions. And I think this is getting way off topic.

I’ll just say that I think there is indeed a very good chance that Obama indeed is just another typical candidate who worked his way up by being a slave to the greater machine. However he is also pretty much the last chance the current “machine” has to redeem itself. McCain sure as hell doesn’t represent anything different from the past. And if Obama is elected and acts as previous incompetent presidents have, there will be blood on the streets IMO. People won’t stand for it anymore.

A few years ago there was a massive schism in the country between liberals and conservatives. The funny thing is how incredibly centirst both parties really are, in essence. Still, conservatives were spreading hate all over the liberals who were spreading hate all over the conservatives. But now that is much less. In the northeast, where I live, I think the current thought is that something DIFFERENT needs to happen. A lot of people feel like America is the Roman Empire on the verge of collapse. I am personally hoping that there will be a sort of “revolution” along the lines of the industrial revolution. Tribalism became feudalism which became capitalism, which became consumerism, which will become “???”.
That “???” should prove to be interesting.

Chizzles, ouch you got me then, I guess race is technical. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: However, common usage of the word is not… others have essentially refined the point as well now, but my motivation was mainly that: as the very concept of race originated as a specific human delineation, it’s a little absurd to try to redefine humans as a single race. Again, it’s the classical sense of the term which is simply archaic.

And of course I wasn’t using “breed” as a technical term either, but since you brought up archetypes in dog breeds, even that serves the point indirectly. Those aesthetic standards are arbitrary and ultimately subjective, and as such loosely equivalent to comparing works of art from two renaissance masters and trying to argue that one was ‘perfect’ while the other is not. It’s all purely human conceit in the end.

And even looking at animal breeding alone may reveal just how insufficient those simplistic conceits can be. The best example I can think of for an objective measurement of the results of breeding, is in thoroughbred horses. They are bred for a very singular performance, even specialized for a small range of distances, and still the most ‘perfect’ specimens, the ones that every standard will say should be the fastest, aren’t necessarily going to be.

Sorry, I know this is a lot of rhetoric when there’s clearly not even any disagreement of substance about this subject. But it is an engaging topic! :anjou_happy:

Kheel, this is getting into kind of a scary can of worms territory for me actually, since you referenced the Bible-Belt as such. Also, as out-there as I’m sure I often come across already, even still I’m not nearly so grounded as that. It’s quite challenging for me to verbalize things that are more personal and important, at least it is when I don’t also have the luxury of vocalizing them in a more stream-of-consciousness form. Even in the midst of being simplistic about something, a part of my consciousness is always distracted by the totality of the subject… I am essentially incapable of thinking about one thing at a time. But I’ll try to get some of my own perspective across after a little break.

OK, the big problem with generalizing US politics now is that any genuine ‘values’ which may have once defined the two parties are inconsequential compared to the commercial culture. So any attempt at defining a rift in ideology is futile, at least as an illustration of our differences.

The de facto liberal party, the Democrats, have an identity crisis which I see as inescapable, because the sentimental power of their ideal must be betrayed by the reality of the status quo. As a party they are yet doomed to hypocrisy, because the only conceivable way to truly represent their ideals would be effective radicalism at this point. Which is reflected in how even the label of “liberal” is usually avoided like the plague… it’s evidently become synonymous with say “troublemaker” or “dissident”. (a mantle I do really respect Barack Obama for bucking lately)

Since actually dismantling legislation is all but impossible, the path of least resistance is to just add more layers in an attempt to bury what isn’t working; which aside from the sheer idiocy of it also seems to be funneling the party into the platform of being practical socialism. Which is probably an even more scary label to most right-wingers than liberalism anyway…

The Republicans, wholly co-opted by Neo-Conservatives, have no identity crisis because they have no identity. Or rather, they have abandoned all pretense of needing demonstrable principles, so they are whatever they want to say they are. Since they have no shame in the first place, they cannot be shamed… as such, even though they are the veritable party of hypocrisy, to those already indoctrinated into the delusion, the only true sin is that of admitting fault.

They are absolutely not “conservative” in any genuine sense, not as American conservatism, the party rhetoric is a pure smokescreen. If they have true principles they are the principles of entitlement and exploitation, the party represents the majority of vested wealth, so their practical platform may as well be imperialism. And in those terms, the reason they now control the Christian Evangelical base - and it is a recent phenomenon, purely the result of pandering to arbitrary moral outrage, the Democrats used to be more closely associated with ‘Christian’ values - is precisely because that population is predisposed to an authoritarian mindset. Ready made sheep as it were…

This really is some Dark Ages shit in my country, I’m not kidding. I usually avoid getting too deep into religious waters in this sort of forum, my nation’s political landscape is a scene of horror to me though. I’m basically anti-dogma by both nature and nurture, but actual christian values mean a lot to me. And whatever greatness my nation may claim as an example of cultural progress, it cannot either be disassociated from the altruistic social ideals propagated through western culture by the christian vehicle.

So the ultimate irony, and why the Republican party is defined by absolute hypocrisy, is because they represent the very definition of unchristian thinking.

hm, so here we have your can of worms.
Thanks for your elaborate report on the mentality of those 2 political camps, i
got a few new insights thanks to it.
It’s so sad to see that in all of the western world, we are losing all those values we acquired thanks to the age of enlightenment.
The problems that Europe is facing for the next decades come from the diametrically opposed direction , the Dark Ages are coming…for everyone.

So how many other Americans are still here on this board? I know I voted (for Barack Obama) and hopefully all the eligable folks did similar! (only for whichever candidate they liked).

I almost voted for Ralph Nadar out of pity but decided Obama has a lot more potential for awesome.