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The first presidential election in a post-racial America

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney
Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney
AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt

With the election of Barack Obama to the White House in 2008, many asserted that the United States of America had turned a corner. The country had finally fulfilled its promise of equality for all of its citizens. Indeed, some proclaimed that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream had been realized. There were even some sanctimonious foreign governments, with long histories of inequities of their own, that nevertheless thunderously applauded America’s courage and Obama’s victory. But, nearly four years later, in this supposedly post-racial nation, a baseless accusation of racism has become an acceptable talking point-cum-political strategy in the 2012 presidential election.

The economic crisis that is currently engulfing the United States is devastating, demoralizing, and seemingly endless, yet select individuals have the energy to whip themselves into a frenzy over an imaginary sighting of racism. In January, on the campaign trail, Mitt Romney helped an elderly woman that happened to be black with her utility bill. Shortly after that, Joy-Ann Reid, managing editor of and MSNBC contributor, accused him of racism, “As an African-American woman, it galls me. I don’t even like to watch it. I felt like it plays into every sort of patronizing stereotype of black people. Oh, here’s this little lady, let me give her 50 bucks.”

Since then, charges of racism against the presumptive Republican presidential nominee have multiplied. Many progressives are even attacking Mitt Romney’s faith as incontrovertible proof that he is a bred-in-the-bone bigot. As a child, however, he watched his father take a stand against racism, in addition to anti-Semitism, at an extremely difficult time in this country’s history. As an adult, Mitt Romney has demonstrated that he has learned those childhood lessons well. He has a strong record of respecting others and acknowledging their needs and concerns as a businessman, a politician, and a man, as shown by numerous testimonials.

Our country finds itself at a critical juncture in a number of respects, so this presidential election is especially important. Questions about the economy merit serious answers from both candidates; persistent cries of racism serve only to draw the focus away from this issue when we can ill-afford to do so. To ignore racism is unacceptable, but to inject it into a discussion where it has no place is equally reprehensible. Mitt Romney deserves the chance to make an argument for his vision of America to the American people. Accordingly, he should not have to devote his resources to defending himself against accusations of racism from self-appointed guardians of justice and equality. In other words, Mitt Romney is worthy of the same opportunity that President Obama currently enjoys. Über alles, this is what one should be able to expect in a society that is presumably post-racial.