There are only two rules you need to remember about minefields:
1. Never knowingly walk into one; and; 2. If you do, walk softly because mines can really hurt when they go off.
In the current run up to the presidential election, the Clintons seem to have forgotten both rules.
Here’s where I’m going with this:
If there's anything that's been made resoundingly clear to everyone over the past umpteen years, it's that when you start messing around with race in any way - words, phrases, speeches, e-mails, jokes, expressions, shrugs, winks, nods, or whatever - you've basically walked into a minefield.
I don't know nor do I care about what resides in the hearts and minds of Bill and Hillary Clinton. I do know that, in their all-out, take no prisoners, and anything goes pursuit of the White House, they've recently - wittingly or unwittingly - injected race into this election. And that's something we really didn't need.
Just now, we face a litany of problems that could curl just about any one into the fetal position were we told to go out and fix them.
Our bridges and highways aren’t what they should be. An unplanned visit to the emergency room could bankrupt many. Social Security isn’t secure. Math and science seem to have slipped by many of our high school graduates. Our borders exist only as lines on maps. Our budget isn't worthy of the name. Our tax code is written in hieroglyphs. Gangs are everywhere. Predators are a mouse click away from our kids. Britney’s lost it. Rosie’s nuts. And there are many who'd like nothing better than to plant a nuke under our national doorstep and watch us all go up in a plume of radioactive smoke.
With all of this, even a casual observer would think that there's more than enough material available for any presidential candidate to capture our attention by offering well (or even ill) conceived ideas to solve any or all of the above.
I think it'd be refreshing to hear detailed proposals and counter proposals focused on these problems rather than 30-second, focus-group-tested statements designed to rake an opponent over the coals. It'd even be nicer to have an election wherein the candidates skip taking quotes out of context, playing fast and loose with the truth, and playing “gotcha” at every opportunity.
Alas such isn't to be and now we've been dragged into the morass of race by having our attention called to the fact that Senator Obama is black.
We've had it pointed out to us that the blacks in South Carolina voted overwhelmingly for Senator Obama and that Jesse Jackson won there too when he ran.
And the point is?
We've been nudged toward the idea that if blacks are likely to vote as a bloc maybe that might not be a bad idea for whites too.
I’m not liking that one at all.
Come election day, I won’t be voting for Senator Obama should he be the Democratic candidate for president. I won’t be voting for him because his beliefs on everything from taxes and abortion to gun control and illegal immigration differ so widely from mine that there's no way on this good green earth that I could support him.
That said, the one thing that won't matter a whit to me - or to many millions of other voters - is the color of his skin. In fact, I'd wager these many millions of us would vote for a three-eyed, foul-smelling, green-skinned Martian (who happened to be a natural born citizen) if his, hers or its positions were honestly presented, fair, sensible, and sound.
Given that simple fact, I'd truly prefer that such things as race not be waved in my face in the hope of eliciting some sort of knee-jerk response and I resent those who'd do such a thing in the hopes of capturing a few more votes.
As noted, they're tough to get out of once you've wandered into them. The really dumb thing, though, is to wander into one that's been clearly marked for years.
I won't feel sorry for the Clintons if they lose this election partly because of all of this foolishness.
You'd think this pair would know better by now but, then again, arrogance has a long history of trumping good sense in presidential wannabes.