For minority and women supplier diversity business entrepreneurs

Ginger Conrad

A few weeks ago, a business acquaintance asked this question: “Do you think the people are ready for a black president?” My immediate reaction was thinking: What does that have to do with anything? After a moment’s pause, I said, “I think they’d rather have a male president, regardless of color, than a female president.” Obviously that turned out to be the case when selecting the Democratic candidate.

Then, the entire process got turned on its head when McCain selected Sarah Palin as his running mate. Rumors abound that she was not his first choice, that it was a strategic political move to counter the Democratic choice of a minority, and so on.

As a matter of fact, the press (MBE magazine not included) doesn’t seem to really know who thinks what, but they keep on reporting what they think the candidates are thinking. The same goes for the television newscasters, pundits, and just about everyone else who has an opinion.

So we decided to ask them ourselves. Statements from both candidates are presented in this issue, starting on page 46. As a magazine concerned with contracting, business to business affirmative action, the Small Business Administration, and other issues affecting minority and women business owners, we restricted our questions to those topics. And in spite of the dire news about the economy, which seems to become more distressing day by day, we still believe we are covering issues of utmost importance to our readers.

Of course, when banks fail and venerable houses like Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers are sold for pennies on the dollar or file for bankruptcy, and the assets of our government, at almost every level, are shrinking, it makes us worry if we too can survive.

So tighten your seat belts. It’s going to be a long, bumpy ride. It’s a ride I never wanted to get on—but I have ridden this bus on several occasions, beginning with a childhood in Oklahoma where long lines at soup kitchens were a familiar sight. We survived because my grandmother was a farmer. She managed to make it work with 10 children whose father had died and she didn’t even own the land. That farm supported an extended family of probably 30 or more. Times were hard, but the memories are sweet.

Now we are facing an economic crisis that threatens not only our economy, but that of many of our trading partners around the world. I urge you to carefully assess the candidates, not just those running for the top office, but your representatives at every level of government. This is the time to work together, regardless of political affiliation. We are ready for a president who can bring this nation together. Adversity is a challenge, a challenge that can make us stronger. We need legislators who can put partisanship aside in order to collectively address the larger interest—that of saving the economy of what I still believe is the greatest nation in the world.

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MBE's Business Opportunities resource covers business-related financing, consulting, and programs available for the Supplier Diversity community and M/WBEs. Updated monthly.

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