In his Washington Post column, Eugene Robinson says that issues of race, power and privilege are less explicit this year than they were in 2008, but in some ways they are even more relevant.
Four years ago, we asked ourselves whether the nation would ever elect a black president. The question was front and center. Every time we see the president and his family walk across the White House lawn to board Marine One, we're reminded of the answer.
The intensity of the opposition to Obama has less to do with who he is than with the changes in U.S. society he not only represents but incarnates. Citing his race as a factor in the way some of his opponents have bitterly resisted his policies immediately draws an outraged cry: “You're saying that just because I oppose Obama, I'm a racist.” No, I'm not saying that at all.
What I'm saying is that Obama's racial identity is a constant reminder of how much the nation has changed in a relatively short time. In my lifetime, we've experienced the civil rights movement, the countercultural explosion of the 1960s, the sexual revolution, the women's movement and an unprecedented wave of Latino immigration. Within a few decades, there will be no white majority in this country — no majority of any kind, in fact. We will be a nation of racial and ethnic minorities, and we will only prosper if everyone learns to give and take.
Some of Obama's opponents have tried to delegitimize his presidency because he doesn't embody the America they once knew. He embodies the America of now.
Read Eugene Robinson's entire piece at the Washington Post.
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