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A New Era?

The Wall Street Journal editors note the two race preference measures on state ballots in Colorado and Nebraska (it looks like a split decision). They then implore Barack Obama to reconsider the use of race-based preferences:

As President, Mr. Obama will have to meet the expectations of millions of voters, including minorities. Symbolism can only go so far. He could make a major contribution to American society — and help his own popularity — if he used his bully pulpit to facilitate minority advancement without resorting to discriminating against others.

If we could recommend a single policy as an example, it would be education choice, including school vouchers. Today’s economy places a higher premium on education than ever before. And choice would help black students escape from the worst public schools and attend private institutions like the one to which the Obamas send their own children.

This would certainly endear Obama to Republicans. But more than that, it would be the natural fufilment of his own rhetoric, which has counseled against pitting one group of Americans against another. Is it possible? If you view Obama as a timid politician who has rarely challenged party orthodoxy, you think the chances are slight that he will venture into this trecherous territory.

But his supporters insist we underestimate his capacity for reconciliation and his brilliant mind. He must, then, realize the futility and destructive impact of perpetuating state discrimination, right? Put this on the list of mysteries we hope to see addressed in the Obama administration. In the spirit of his great victory, I hold out some hope. It would be the change I’ve been waiting for.



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