Column: Issues, Not Skin Color, Should Guide Voters

This story was written by Kyle Citta, Daily Nebraskan

In the immortal words of one of today's greatest philosophers: You cannot be serious!This is the most appropriate response to one of the most unbelievable comments on today's campaign trail, a phrase so laced in stupidity and ignorance that the people who utter it make Jessica Simpson look like Stephen Hawking by comparison: "I can't vote for Barack Obama because he's a black man."I'm embarrassed that this issue needs to be addressed. This is 2008: We've had the struggle for civil rights, we've abolished Jim Crow laws and we've risen above seeing the color of someone's skin as a corollary to their personal disposition.Or so I thought.CNN profiled Obama supporters who campaigned for their presidential nominee, and when asked what kind of responses they got on the street, one supporter recounted how a man flat-out said, "I can't vote for that black boy."A CNN research corporation opinion poll stated that 36 percent of voters would take race into account when choosing the next president. This is for voters rejecting Obama because he is black, but also those giving him their vote solely because of it, or at least thinking about it along the way.Further, there are still people claiming that Obama is "an Arab." By now, most of us have seen the video where a frizzy-haired woman at a McCain rally calls Obama "an Arab." McCain, ever the cool character, manages to wrestle the microphone away and correct her.For McCain, this is a damaging blow. It shows just how ignorant some of his supporters are and forces him to spend time building up Obama when he should be tearing him down.Obama is a Christian and an American. Those who still identify him as an Arab also likely believe that an old, decrepit, raging alcoholic built a giant wooden ark to survive a worldwide flood and that Fred Flintstone worked as a Brontosaurus operator 6,000 years ago.As reporter Campbell Brown pointed out during a CNN commentary, so what if Obama was of Arab descent?

Many people in the American society seem to form a link from Arab to Muslim to terrorist. That is, all Arabs are Muslims, and all Muslims are terrorists.Which makes perfect sense if you're on crack.There have been many well known Arab-Americans within the U.S. political system. John Abizaid is a retired four-star general from the United States Army. John Sununu was a former White House Chief of Staff during George H.W. Bush's years. Spencer Abraham was the Secretary of Energy for George W. Bush.Is their master plan to infiltrate some the highest offices of government for 60 or so years until they strike? Unlikely.Article two, section one of the United States Constitution states that "no person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States."There's absolutely nothing about being a Christian in those qualifications. Even a Rastafarian like myself could attain the nation's highest office.I would run on a harsh rigatoni reform platform.Being an Arab or a Muslim shouldn't preclude anyone from becoming president of the United States -- even the constitution says it's so. America doesn't recognize a dominant religion-and it shouldn't. People said a Catholic could never be president, and John F. Kennedy proved them wrong. Mitt Romney, a Mormon, made a serious bid for the Republican presidential nomination.It shouldn't matter if Obama or McCain were Arab or Muslim. It also shouldn't matter that Obama is black. Withholding your vote because of race or giving it away for the same reason is based on ignorance, not on the issues.This racism is a two-way street. In a McCain rally a few days ago, conservative radio talk show host Jmes T. Harris pleaded with the Arizona senator to "bring the fight to Obama."He got a resounding cheer from the crowd, but he incited rage in many watching at home because James T. Harris is black.Following the rally, Harris's inbox was flooded with messages. He eagerly read one which said: "Hey, Sambo, maybe Master McCain will let you shine his shoes since you did such a good job licking his boots, boy."I think I just threw up in my mouth.Obama supporters accosted Harris because he has pledged his vote to the candidate who is more closely aligned with his personal ideology. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that how this whole democratic system works?Or did I miss the memo about blacks voting for blacks and whites voting for whites?Pick a candidate because you agree with the issues they raise and the solutions they propose. Your vote shouldn't be based on skin tones.