*Disclaimer* I am not a fan of any of the three main political candidates still a part of this race and I dislike them all very much and equally.
That being said, here are some thoughts: Barack Obama recently parted ways with his old pastor and the man he has claimed as his "mentor" for the last 15 years. Obama has claimed to be a regular member of this church for the past 15 years of his life, but recently also claimed that had he heard the anti-American statements made by his pastor in many of his sermons, he would have spoken up and said something to him. This tells me two things; first of all that Obama is lying about something - either he was NOT a regular attender of this church, or he heard the things that were stated and did NOT speak up and say something, and secondly, even if he did not regularly attend this church, if this man was actually his mentor, there is no way that the things he stated from the pulpit would not have come out in one on one conversation, meaning that Obama would have had to have been aware of this man's beliefs, and continued to closely associate himself with him. Obama used this pastor to make himself more palatable to conservative Democrats, and this early in his campaign is already showing his willingness to change his beliefs and opinions with the vagaries of public opinion. In addition, his mentor made the following statements regarding the US government's treatment of African-Americans; "The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing 'God Bless America.' No, no, no, God damn America, that's in the Bible for killing innocent people. God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human. God damn America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme." He also gave a sermon last December comparing Obama to Jesus. While I understand that a political candidate should not be held responsible for statements that supporters make, it still concerns me that Obama has repeatedly associated himself closely with this man. I also find it disturbing that so many people intend to vote for this man simply because he is black. My 16 year old sophomore students can see the idiocy of that plan, and yet so many people in this country do not. I would not object to voting for Barack Obama if he was truly the man most suited for the job, but I do not in any way support voting for ANYONE based on the way that they look, because that would mean that our political process has degenerated to the level of a popularity contest - and that is an incredibly dangerous position for this country to be in. There is no doubt in my mind that the economy will get worse, the danger of terrorist (or other) attack will get worse, and the instability of our entire social structure will get worse. Choosing a leader based on their looks, simply as a way of "evening the score" from past offenses committed two or three generations ago is unbelievably stupid and obtuse. It makes me almost agree with Voltaire, who distrusted democracy because it would give the uneducated masses control of the government.