The flap over Geraldine Ferraro's comments about Barack Obama has me mystified. Why is it inappropriate to say that he wouldn't be in the position he's in were he not a black man? It's actually rather wonderful that his race has offered him this opportunity after the disgraceful history in the United States of people being denied opportunities by virtue of race. Are we now not allowed to state either opinion or fact if the statement will hint that race is an issue? Is there anyone who sincerely thinks race is not an issue relative to opportunity?
This whole business of pretending we're all one happy family where race is concerned is political correctness taken to an absurd and dangerous extreme. Problems don't get solved when we sweep them under the rug and pretend they don't exist. And any disparity between what we say and what we do is at best wishful thinking and at worst a slimy lack of integrity. (Think about this week's other big news story: New York's crusading Mr. Clean toppled by an $80,000 involvement with hookers.)
Geraldine Ferraro included in her comments that she was on the 1984 ticket as VP because she was a woman, and she's right about that, too. Obama's comeback that her comments are "divisive" is ridiculous. There is undeniably a racial divide where opportunity is concerned in this country, and it wasn't created by Geraldine Ferraro. Much as he downplays his race, Obama is indeed benefiting from it - and that's a good thing. I don't know personally what it's like to be black in America, but I do know what it's like to be female, and I loved having Ferraro on the ticket in 1984, just as I love Clinton's run for the presidency this go-round. I think it says an incredibly positive thing about the United States that our two serious Democratic contenders are a black man and a woman. We need to build on that cultural progress, not let it get missed or ignored in a flurry of politically correct silence.