- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 10, 2008

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

One of the most inspirational quotes from Martin Luther King Jr. concerns his dream that his four children would one day “not be judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

Sadly, it appears that many voters, especially African Americans, are preparing to do just that: to judge a presidential candidate based on the color of his skin while neglecting to examine character. Make no mistake: Personal charisma is not necessarily indicative of character, as some previous presidents have amply demonstrated.

It is certainly a historic accomplishment and a testament to the struggles of the civil rights movement that Sen. Barack Obama should receive his party’s nomination. However, many Americans appear to be so enamored with the thought of a black president that they fail to ask the crucial question: Is Mr. Obama the most qualified candidate? This is what election to high office is supposed to be all about, and there is no higher office than the presidency of the United States.

They apparently believe that the history of the civil rights movement in general and Mr. Obama’s race in particular automatically make him the right choice. This mocks King’s dream. It also fails to encourage critical analysis of Mr. Obama’s proposals.

There are some in the civil rights movement who are implying that if you do not vote for Mr. Obama, it will mean the entire movement has failed. This is nothing but manipulation using race. The people who argue this way should simply admit that they want people to vote for Mr. Obama based on the color of his skin and on his liberal policies.

After all, I don’t recall any prominent blacks supporting Republican Michael Steele’s 2006 bid to become Maryland’s first black U.S. senator. Partisan politics anyone?

BRET PARIS

Annapolis

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