Today on Twitter, a photo is circulating around the social media website. The photo, shown below, is a microcosm of the heated political dialogue that is polluting our nation and airwaves to this very date.
The photo, taken by Twitter user tdiggy (and uploaded with his permission) showcases the phrases “VOTE CHARACTER NOT COLOR” right next to a “VOTE ROMNEY – RYAN…THE “BETTER” CHOICE”. This picture was taken at an early-voting center in Colombus, Ohio.
Let’s address the issues with this photo, besides the obvious. Ever since Colin Powell’s endorsement of Barack Obama, Republicans have openly tried to spin Powell’s endorsement as racially motivated. The takeaway of course, isn’t that Powell truly feels that President Obama is best equipped to handle national security related issues…no, no, no….it’s the fact that Powell only likes Obama because they are both black.
That viewpoint alone has circulated around the right-wing blogosphere and the fact that it is even rather mainstream is deplorable within itself. Of course, conservatism (as I have to remind people frequently) is a political thought, it’s not racist itself. In fact conservatism SHOULD mean that the government shouldn’t discriminate against anyone because it’s not government’s business.
Yet we still see signs like this in public spaces.
Then again, what is the problem with Obama and Biden’s character? Oh the questions, I wish I could ask the people who were responsible for that sign.
Anyway, an even more interesting takeaway is the fact that the word better is in quotation marks. It’s not saying Romney and Ryan are BETTER, it’s saying they are….”better”. Of course the possibility remains that the reason better is in quotes is to draw emphasis on the word as opposed to using italics or underlines. However, if you are going to bring race into this, we should examine why it’s stylized like that.
What does better mean? Character is a word that is rarely brought up when it comes to fiscal responsibility or topics concerning social issues. If you support equal rights, it shouldn’t be because you have “better character”, it should just because you are a reasonable person. Character is a phrase people use to showcase excellent leadership or personal likability.
Yet when it’s next to a racially motivated slogan, better might very well mean something colder.