A mature nation, or at least a mature media, would not ask the following: "Are we ready for a woman president?"; "Are we ready for a black president?"; "Are we ready for a Hispanic president?" An advanced democracy would merely select its candidates and elect its leaders based on their qualifications and policy proposals without concerning itself with the superficial and the irrelevant. As it is, though, the political questions that are foisted on the public are insulting and undignified. Who are "we", and just what is meant by "ready"? Is there some special preparation ritual that the nation has missed?
Chile recently elected a female (Hispanic, of course!) president, and a few years earlier Canada had a female prime minister. Each of these countries today is in excellent shape. Meanwhile, the US struggles to sort out daunting foreign policy problems of its own making as it grapples with a potential financial meltdown stemming from a collapsing "sup-prime" mortgage sector, a looming pensions crisis and staggeringly high levels of public and private debt. Wages for most Americans have stagnated or fallen, and every day fewer people have health insurance.
Indeed, the question we citizens and our news media ought to be asking ourselves is, "Can we afford another white, male president?" The damage done to our country by the current one can hardly be quantified. The federal budget has swung from record surplus to deficit, adding trillions of dollars to the country's debt; the nation has plunged headlong into an illegal and murderous war, replete with official promotion of torture; and cherished domestic civil liberties and constitutional guarantees suffer constant assault by the White House. Incompetence and malevolence emanate from Washington, DC in waves previously unimaginable.
If white men are the guarantors of this status quo, as implied by the media's questions concerning the gender and race of certain presidential candidates, then the only rational response to prospective changes in the outward characteristics of our next president is, "Bring 'em on!"
Heterodox Views on Politics and Public Policy from Michael Blaine