Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Mixed success for Affirmative Action in 2008 election

Affirmative Action ban rejected in Colorado-passed in Nebraska

By 51 percent to 49 percent, Coloradans rejected a proposed constitutional ban on considering race or gender in state hiring, contracting and college admissions. The Election Night tally showed voters about evenly divided, and The Associated Press didn't declare a winner until Friday, when more votes had been counted.

In neighboring Nebraska, 58 percent of voters approved an affirmative action ban this week. Despite a legal challenge by opponents there, Nebraska college and municipal officials are already examining their programs to see if they violate the new ban.

Initially, it looked as though Colorado would follow the lead of California, Michigan and Washington in banning affirmative action. Polls showed the measure had support among Republicans and Democrats and men and women.

We not only still need Affirmative Action, we need to expand it beyond race and gender. The principle we should try to vindicate is that every American should be encouraged to reach their God given potential in the area of their choosing.

In our highly polarized society there are too many people are effectively prevented from reaching their dreams for a variety of reasons. Whether it's economics, cultural barriers, bias, or just lack of interest; we as an American people are missing out on the best and the brightest because many people waste away their potential.

Issues such as :
geography (especially downtrodden areas in West Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, or out west in Wyoming and Utah);

body type (especially grossly overweight people who are prejudged negatively without regard to merit)

ideology (especially in the university setting, conservatives of all types are rare and apparently not welcome)

as well as economic status....

While it is hard to prove in a legal sense, we are certainly not reaching a potential as nation and excluding many people from many positions.

For example look at how many people from the Ivy League (both parties) populate high government positions. Yet, many of them are not from rural, western, and poorer areas of the country. We should have preferences to change this situation.


We should still have preferences based on race so long as race matters. It is obviously not mattering as much if at all in much of American life. We clearly are heading downhill, but we are not there yet.

When we can ask random people to list the top ten most powerful people in America according to them and that list is not affected by race then Affirmative Action should be obsolete.

It is clear that some people in every race are capable of tremendous good, and that should be reflected throughout all levels of our society.

I do note however, that this country has demonstrated that we are the greatest nation for people of all races. The problems that there might be associated with any group pale in comparison with the opportunities and blessings that abound.

As Democrats, left-leaning liberals, newliberals we should be careful to present an accurate and balanced view of America. Affirmative Action has worked well over the past generation. It is clearly getting close to being unnecssary. Right now it should be narrowly targeted where it is needed to promote good purposes. We should be honest about any negative costs associated with it, and be mindful to end it as soon as possible because our dream should be to have it not be necessary.

Craig Farmer
making the word "liberal" safe again!

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