Warehouse F

Equality Of All

The Unseen Enemy
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Obama Vs. McCain On Civil Rights

By James Donahue

The national media has been so caught up in the mud-slinging, the political accusations and other silly smoke screens spewing out of this year’s presidential campaign, the issues that really matter have been all but ignored.

For example, few Americans know how Democratic Candidate Barack Obama and Republican Candidate John McCain stand on the issue of Civil Rights.

Obama calls for new legislation to eliminate the disparity that still exists between races and between men and women over pay, court sentencing and the general treatment of blacks, Latinas and other minority groups in American society.

He says he promises to reverse a politicization that has occurred within the Department of Justice since George Bush took office, will work to overturn the Supreme Court’s recent ruling that curtails racial minorities and women’s ability to challenge pay discrimination, will promote the Fair Pay Act that assures equal pay for equal work by all people, wants to end deceptive voting practices that prevent minorities from having their votes counted and expand laws against hate crimes.

When asked about California’s proposed ban on same sex marriage, McCain said he supported it while Obama said he was opposed. Yet McCain once voted against a proposed bill that would have created a constitutional ban on same sex marriage.

McCain has never published a platform on civil rights, but in public debate, interviews and his voting record he has addressed various aspects of this issue. He appears to flip-flop all over the place when it comes to taking a stand.

He voted against a bill that would have cut special funding for businesses owned by minorities and women, he voted against prohibiting job discrimination by sexual orientation and he voted in favor of banning affirmative action hiring with federal money.

McCain’s vice-presidential pick, Sarah Palin, has a more clear-cut record on the matter of same sex marriage. She opposes it and opposes benefits for same sex couples.

In contrast, Obama has worked to promote civil rights and fairness in the criminal justice system. As a community organizer in Chicago he helped 150,000 African Americans register to vote. As a civil rights lawyer, he litigated employment discrimination, housing discrimination and voting rights cases.

As a state senator, Obama sponsored one of the nation’s first racial profiling laws and helped reform a broken death penalty system. In the U.S. Senate, Obama has been an advocate for protecting the right to vote. He helped to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act and worked to oppose discriminatory barriers to voters.