After reading an article about GOP Vice-Presidential candidate entitled, ‘Does Paul Ryan’s Black Ex-Girlfriend Matter?’, I asked myself the same question (Only after I first asked, “Is this what vetting a candidate is like?”). After some thought from all angles from both sides, I concluded that reality isn’t something that necessarily falls under the category of right or wrong. So the short answer for me would be, absolutely.
Now, should it matter? I’m sure we can all agree that, of course, it most definitely should not. Race, while a conversation taboo at the Thanksgiving table along with politics and religion, is a topic that everyone inescapably has an opinion about whether they decide to say it out loud or not. In a campaign with clearly much more important issues at stake such as unemployment, debt and deficit, taxes, housing and immigration, the pigmentation of Ryan’s dating experiences or in-laws shouldn’t even be on the radar.
But it is.
Racism comes in many forms and not all of which can be necessarily considered racist. Some people admittedly voted for Obama because he’s black. In this case, race by definition, was as much of an issue as another voter who did not vote for Obama for the same reason. A vote is a vote.
Interestingly, politics has its own bigotry not unlike racial bigotry. There are voters who categorically think you are a racist if you’re a Republican. They may know nothing else about you, but that’s that. So, is it relevant to the individual if a Republican candidate attempts to defend himself with real life examples? It might and it might not.
In an era where voters select candidates for the silliest of reasons (age, hair, articulation, physique, saw them in person, MTV told them to, an actor told them to, etc.), politicians must address all issues, no matter how trivial. And if a significant enough amount of people thinks an issue is relevant, it doesn’t matter that it shouldn’t matter.