A changing America

Though the United States was founded on the ideals that all men were created equal and freedom of religion was the status quo, our presidential frontrunners and winners have not exemplified anything of the sort. In fact, with two exceptions, all of the presidents have been white, Protestant men. Elected in 1960, John F. Kennedy was the only president who was not Protestant; he was a Roman Catholic. President Barack Obama was the first president of color.
Nearly 230 years since the election of George Washington, however, the 2016 presidential election finally better reflects the populace. While the race is dominated by Christians, Bernie Sanders is Jewish. While it is also dominated by men, Hillary Clinton stands a pretty good chance of not only becoming the presidential nominee but also the president. On race, while the majority of the candidates are white, two frontrunners — Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio — are Latino, with Cruz leading the Republican pack in Iowa during the recent caucuses.
While President Barack Obama’s campaign on hope and change and his undeniable charisma helped him win, his election in 2008 set a precedent for newcomers; race is and should continue to be a nonissue. We can also see that now gender and religion are becoming less important issues when it comes to selecting a leader.
What is even more interesting than the changing demographic of our candidates as well as their supporters, is the extreme polarity of two popular candidates. For the GOP, a hotheaded billionaire with no political experience and no moral qualms about using divisive and even possibly dangerous tactics to rally supporters. For the Democrats, a middle-class 25-year veteran politician with meager assets in comparison to several other candidates who has had enough of the richest 1 percent of the population taking advantage of the 99 percent and is making promises of free college for all. For many in our country, it has boiled down to a fascist or a socialist. It’s clear that, for the most part, there is no status quo for president any more. It seems that voters just want to hear a message that resonates with them. While race, gender and religion still play a role in how voters choose their leaders, selecting the white Protestant man because he is just that doesn’t seem to be the default mechanism any more.
It is certain that many voters are experiencing campaign fatigue, with most candidates on the road and on the trail since spring 2015, but what is happening and how our presidential election is morphing is truly fascinating. While it may be hard to see past all the nonsense and rhetoric, it’s important to recognize that who we see running for president is probably closer to our county’s makeup than it has been at any time in the past.

A changing America

A changing America

 

Though the United States was founded on the ideals that all men were created equal and freedom of religion was the status quo, our presidential frontrunners and winners have not exemplified anything of the sort. In fact, with two exceptions, all of the presidents have been white, Protestant men. Elected in 1960, John F. Kennedy was the only president who was not Protestant; he was a Roman Catholic. President Barack Obama was the first president of color.

Nearly 230 years since the election of George Washington, however, the 2016 presidential election finally better reflects the populace. While the race is dominated by Christians, Bernie Sanders is Jewish. While it is also dominated by men, Hillary Clinton stands a pretty good chance of not only becoming the presidential nominee but also the president. On race, while the majority of the candidates are white, two frontrunners — Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio — are Latino, with Cruz leading the Republican pack in Iowa during the recent caucuses.

While President Barack Obama’s campaign on hope and change and his undeniable charisma helped him win, his election in 2008 set a precedent for newcomers; race is and should continue to be a nonissue. We can also see that now gender and religion are becoming less important issues when it comes to selecting a leader.

What is even more interesting than the changing demographic of our candidates as well as their supporters, is the extreme polarity of two popular candidates. For the GOP, a hotheaded billionaire with no political experience and no moral qualms about using divisive and even possibly dangerous tactics to rally supporters. For the Democrats, a middle-class 25-year veteran politician with meager assets in comparison to several other candidates who has had enough of the richest 1 percent of the population taking advantage of the 99 percent and is making promises of free college for all. For many in our country, it has boiled down to a fascist or a socialist. It’s clear that, for the most part, there is no status quo for president any more. It seems that voters just want to hear a message that resonates with them. While race, gender and religion still play a role in how voters choose their leaders, selecting the white Protestant man because he is just that doesn’t seem to be the default mechanism any more.

It is certain that many voters are experiencing campaign fatigue, with most candidates on the road and on the trail since spring 2015, but what is happening and how our presidential election is morphing is truly fascinating. While it may be hard to see past all the nonsense and rhetoric, it’s important to recognize that who we see running for president is probably closer to our county’s makeup than it has been at any time in the past.

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UPCOMING COMMUNITY EVENTS

  1. Kyle Irwin Design and East/West Gallery Present Group f/64: Legacy & Influence

    April 5 @ 10:00 am - May 31 @ 5:00 pm
  2. Exciting Dance and Drum Classes

    April 9 - June 30
  3. The Baby Dance: Mixed (Extended Run!)

    May 5 @ 7:00 pm - May 26 @ 8:00 pm
  4. Bruce Tomkinson Ceramics

    May 12 @ 12:00 pm - May 30 @ 4:00 pm
  5. PACC: The Arts Festival

    May 25 @ 6:00 pm - May 27 @ 6:00 pm
  6. Free Arts Alive Festival at Studio Channel Islands

    May 26 - May 27
  7. Rev. Karen’s Monthly Devotional Retreat

    May 26 @ 10:30 am - 1:00 pm
  8. Veteran Picnic in the Park

    May 26 @ 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm
  9. Footworks Youth Ballet presents Giselle June 2 at the Oxnard Performing Arts Center 2pm and 7pm

    June 2
  10. OAC Third Annual Blues Fest

    June 2 @ 1:00 pm - 10:00 pm

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