The upcoming presidential election has made big news as primaries sweep across the nation, and in my lifetime I cannot recall a more exciting or hotly-contested race. The field of candidates is the most diverse in U.S. history, and the primary and general election season will be one of the first in many years when the views of new voters and independents weigh so heavily upon the outcome.
Even as we see evidence of the diversity of our nation reflected in the political arena, it seems that political pundits and other members of the media are intent on defining each of us through categories and stereotypes. They pretend to understand the “women’s vote.” They make broad predictions that pit “African Americans” versus “Hispanics.” They feign expertise regarding “evangelical Christians.” And, in many cases, much of what they assert they “know” is based upon experiences and approaches of two or three decades ago. In my opinion, the media and pundits have fallen out of step with today’s reality.
If being an observer of the political debate has taught me anything, it is that our nation has evolved. It is virtually impossible to predict where any one of us will stand on a particular issue, because our political views are as diverse as our demographic make-up. It’s exciting that, within our lifetime, America is starting to live up to its promise as the “great melting pot.” DB
Veta T. Richardson
From the March/April 2008 issue of Diversity & The Bar®