By Mark David Blum, Esq.
Affirmatively taking action to equal social access for all races, colors, creeds, religions, sexual preference, genetics, age or better stated, affirmatively acting for the benefit of everyone is a national nuance unique to Americans. We start with the proposition that each of us is equal and each of us should have equal access and opportunity. No guarantees are made on outcome. All we concern ourselves with is assuring that everybody has the same chance at the start. Beyond that, each will achieve that which they create and subjugate.
It is indeed a rare event that I would find myself on the same side of an argument with one of the nation’s current sitting right wing activist Supreme Court Justices. Hon. Clarence Thomas has brought to the table a well deserved national discussion on the subject of Affirmative Action as State Action. The Justice flatly stated, “African-Americans are better served by colorblind programs than affirmative action.”
Even a broken clock is correct twice a day. From that I can take some comfort that this singular confluence of opinions is not the beginning of a transformation on my part.
No longer can we Americans ignore the concept that Affirmative Action as a State mandate has perhaps run its’ course. We as Americans are poised at the precipice of another milestone in the advancement of our society. It is normal and accepted now that a Vagino-American or an African-American are major party candidates for President of the United States.
Our nation seems to have reached its tolerance crescendo. We no longer judge the candidate by their genitals or melanin. It would appear there is a seismic shift in our perception of political discourse. Demand is made that we look at the candidate as a person and what is it they bring to the table. Unfortunately genetic throwbacks exist and a few will vote based solely on race and gender. I still believe that the nation is not looking at the candidates for what is in their pants or pants suits but rather what is in their hearts.
The candidacies of Senator Clinton and Governor Palin, and the election of President Obama (along with that white guy from Delaware) seem to prove another rethink of a national policy should start inching its’ way into our discourse. There is a valid argument to be made that once and for all, we should be moving to end our addiction to programs of Affirmative Action and quotas. The elevation of Senator Obama to ‘Presidential Rock Star’, brings to light proof that Affirmative Action had its place in our history. Query whether that place is indeed in history and should be no more.
Affirmative Action laid the groundwork for the achievements seen in this year's Presidential candidates. Whether they individually benefitted is unknown and I do not seek to diminish by an iota their achievements. Instead, I point out that nationally and over time, our Affirmative Action programs were a monumental success. They opened doors and ended segregation such that ‘Black’ and ‘White’ are labels remaining only in the minds of a few ignorant Neo Cons and racists. For the overwhelming majority of Americans of all political stripes, Affirmative Action in its day brought us into contact with each other. We learned that we all bleed red.
But today, the glass ceiling is shattered. The drinking fountains are replaced with bottled water dispensers. Nobody bats an eyelash at the race or gender of a Presidential candidate. To me, this proves that Affirmative Action has done its job. It also signals that it is time to reach back to more equality of opportunity and end Affirmative Action programs.
If a Black man can be President of the United States, what more proof do you need that Affirmative Action worked … and is no longer necessary?
"If there ever are great revolutions there, they will be caused by the presence of the blacks upon American soil. That is to say, it will not be the equality of social conditions but rather their inequality which may give rise thereto." (Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, 1835).