I recognize that black men have only voted for the past 140 years; that women have only voted for the past 90 years; and that it was the same 90 years ago that saw the first women politicians compete on a federal level for seats in congress; and I recognize that it is a miscarriage of justice on the most fundamental level that there are fewer than 10 black representatives and senators currently serving. I'm not saying that American politics are fair to women or minorities; I'm saying that they're unfair to everybody because they are bound up in a cult of appearance, and that, while it may be disingenuous to say "American politics are unfair to white men," it is a truth from which we would do well to learn.
In a world where people would vote for or against candidates like Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin, and Barack Obama based on their gender or apparent race (and I say apparent because Obama has white ancestors as well as black; but in America, half a century after the supposed death of Jim Crow, one drop of african ancestry is still all it takes to brand you with a black brand) it's easy to miss another way in which issues get side-tracked by appearances: When, in this century, except in the case of Dwight D. Eisenhower, have we elected a president who did not have a full head of hair? [keep in mind that Ford, who, to a lesser extent than Eisenhower, distinguished himself during WWII, was not elected]. That precedent alone is enough to call the election in favor of Obama.
Which is another means of side-tracking. This century, only one president has died of what can, even at a stretch, be called old age: Franklin Roosevelt. And that was only because he had an unofficial lifetime appointment. Two others--Wilson and Reagen--have been seen as too old or infirm to govern effectively--but only into their second terms. Strictly speaking, McCain isn't too old to run for president once, whatever a democrat may tell you. And since Ford and Eisenhower were also war heroes, he isn't too bald to run either. But that doesn't mean he would make a good president.
McCain the soldier and McCain the senator have fairly good records of which they should both be reasonably proud. But McCain the candidate has (I hope) doomed public opinion of his judgment irrevocably by choosing a bimbo to be his successor as leader of the free world, should he fall severely ill while serving. Say what you will, but I hold firm to this: baseball wasn't integrated by Jackie Robinson; it was integrated by the mediocre players who came after them and who make up the rank-and-file of times today, as once it was the privilege only of white players to do; and politics will not be integrated until an ugly but intelligent woman can run successfully for president, and a bald man with no military career can run successfully for president.
Thoughts like these make watching presidential and vice-presidential debates shameful to me as an American. But I would rather have these thoughts than be a proud American. So I won't watch them anymore. But I will vote, and I will read about politics in the newspaper--the latter only because the Yankees and Mets are out of the playoffs.