My late mom (Katie) was a dyed-in-the-wool Republican (party originating 1854-56), who voted in every election come rain, sleet, snow or heat. Many black Americans became/were/are loyal to the Republican Party because it was the party that first embraced black people – “the party of emancipation.”

Katie was loyal to ex-President Nixon to the very end, believing Nixon’s plight to be the result of an underhanded Democratic plot. (Sigh!) Need I say that my mom and a brother-in-law had many a heated political discussion, since he was a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat. However, my mom pointed out to any- and everybody that she did not vote for ultraconservative Republican Presidential Candidate Barry Goldwater (1964), who was (among other negatives) against the Civil Rights Act.

By revealing this, my mom showed that she was not a straight party voter; she could think, assess a candidate’s character and make an enlightened decision. (Right on!) I would like to think that my mom would assess the qualifications and character of the candidates in this year’s presidential election and make “an enlightened decision” and vote for the candidate who will make the best president for the U.S.A., domestically and globally – a candidate who is intelligent, well-educated, articulate, enlightened, compassionate, experienced and tolerant. Obama! Who else?

In a recent column, Mary Mitchell (Chicago Sun Times, Sept. 23) comments on the probability of racism playing a part in the presidential election. Of course it will. Racism is endemic in the United States and raises its ugly head in every facet of American life – the government, the justice system, housing, education, medical care, restaurants, stores, social clubs, not-for-profits, religion, employment (“last hired, first fired”), politics, etc. Racists/bigots come in all colors, and the outstanding qualifications of a candidate will mean very little to racists who judge a person’s worth and potential by the color of his/her skin.

An article on Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin in the Sept. 23 Evanston Sentinel – reprinted from Charley James’ story in The Nation (“Alaskans Speak in a Frightened Whisper: Palin Is Racist, Sexist, Vindictive, and Mean” – left me speechless (well … speechless for a minute).

My stomach dropped. I wished what I read was the script for a fabricated soap opera, but it wasn’t. This was real – Soap Opera 2008.

I can only hope that voters will be enlightened and vote for the better candidate in November, making this election a marker for ushering in political change rather than perpetuating the same old woeful scripts of the current political U.S. soap.

“…The flowers must be buried in darkness

Before they can bud and bloom,

And the sweetest, warmest sunshine
Comes after the storm and gloom.”
— Anonymous

“Hope springs eternal.”