Rush Limbaugh has said the so-called dream ticket featuring Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton doesnâ€™t stand a chance because it would include both an African American and a woman. Letâ€™s set aside the gut instinct to call Limbaugh a class A bigot and ask, does he have a point? America might be ready for a black president and it might be ready for a woman president but is it ready for a ticket completely absent of a white male?
The answer: it doesnâ€™t matter. Sexism and racism still exist in this country both in the overt and latent forms. But, in my mind, there would be no greater act of bigotry than for the Democrats to run away from their dream ticket because they feel they need a white male VP to win. What does that say to the rest of the country â€“ that even the party that claims the mantra of progressiveness is, at its core, frightened to disrupt the status quo? That even years after the civil rights movement and the womenâ€™s liberation movement, white men still get an automatic seat at the table because of their race and gender?
One could make the argument that there are politicians who happen to be white men that are more qualified for the VP slot than either Clinton or Obama. In Clintonâ€™s case, she might prefer to reach for someone with greater economic experience. Obama might prefer someone with a longer history of foreign policy experience or someone with strong executive experience. But those would be decisions based on policy and governance needs. Choosing a white male simply to appease the nationâ€™s bigots would not only be useless (bigots arenâ€™t going to vote for Clinton or Obama regardless of whoâ€™s #2) it would be a betrayal of the very principles for which the Democrats claim to stand.
Limbaughâ€™s assertion is worthy of debate but itâ€™s not worthy of action. I may not be planning on supporting either Obama or Clinton but I reject the idea that they should be afraid to team up on a ticket. Iâ€™m glad to live in a country where a great many people can rise to the highest levels. The only way to continue increasing opportunities is to continue shattering the softly bigoted preconceptions of people like Limbaugh.