“Not tonight. I have a headache.” That’s what I felt like telling Dan Abrams. And Keith Olbermann. And Glenn Beck, and Mr. O’Reilly too. I’m just not in the mood. And it’s not their fault – well, except in O’Reilly’s case. It’s just politics in general. I knew they were nasty, treacherous waters. But I didn’t know they were nasty, treacherous, petty, overtly racist, sexist, ageist waters.
Oops, almost forgot. This is supposed to be a hopeful blog. And it is. But today the hope has been bludgeoned a bit. It came to my attention that a presidential candidate and Senator, Mr. John McCain, used the terms “tar baby” and “gook”. Oh yes, America, he did. Being of Black and Thai descent, I guess I’m not someone the good Senator would hold in very high regard.
So I suppose my gall and my disappointment don’t register with him. Mr. McCain knew he wasn’t getting my young, liberal, female, multiracial, educated, middle-class vote anyway. As for his party, the Right has no remaining Presidential contender save McCain. And the supposedly liberated Left? How can they weigh in when the “race cards” are being shuffled, cut, dealt and played to astonishing effect by … who, exactly?
Is it Bill Clinton, hot-headed stump surrogate, taking shots at the Obama campaign by comparing it to Jesse Jackson’s candidacy? Is it Geraldine Ferraro, rogue HRC finance chair, likening Barack Obama to some kind of affirmative action candidate, then casting herself as the victim of reverse racism? Is it H to the C herself, who has by and large given up on the Black vote and now feels free to pander away to her base?
Who, Hillary? Pander?
In my opinion, the Clinton campaign didn’t accidentally make headlines with a racially controversial statement from its topmost tiers. Dear, sweet Geraldine Ferraro wasn’t stricken with a sudden case of verbal diarrhea when quoted in the media as saying Barack Obama was “lucky” to be Black right now.
And what to make of Hillary’s anemic denial of the statement? Perhaps we should consider what would have motivated her to take a stronger stance: votes, plain and simple. Since Black voters are no longer turning out for her, she needn’t actually stand on principle and, you know, reject and denounce the racist sentiment being flung back and forth like so many ping-pong balls.
And I can't bring up any of this without a nod to the fiery statements of Jeremiah Wright, Obama's former pastor with whom he has close ties. Currently circulating are video clips of his sermons in which racial issues are addressed and the Democratic candidates are called out by name. (He's off of Obama's campaign, and Ferraro has stepped down from Clinton's.)
But this is nothing new. Ferraro pretty much said the same thing when she was running for VP on the Mondale ticket against Jackson back in ‘88. Perhaps what she and the Clintons, and most of all McCain, must realize, is that this IT’S NOT 1988. And Obama is not your father’s Oldsmobile. He isn’t Jackson (though both men are clean and articulate, thank you very much Joe Biden).
While I realize I don’t have to tell any of you this much, why didn’t anyone brief the “Presidential” candidates?