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Sorry, Shazia, You Are Absolutely Right

14 October 2008

What’s wrong with the media?  They totally missed the real racism in the commentary by the McCain Campaign around the Arab remark from a supporter at a rally Friday.

For those of you who are looking at my headline and wondering, “Who is Shazia, and how does she fit into this topic,” I offer this explanation.  Yesterday, when visiting one of my favorite sites, Margaret and Helen, a young seemingly Arab-American woman wrote a comment about the racism being spread against her fellow Arab-Americans by the McCain/Palin ticket and how nobody is picking up on it.  I think she makes a very valid point.

Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin

Wolf Blitzer

Wolf Blitzer

Sometimes those of us who are political partisans only see the insult being hurled at our candidate by the other side and fail to see the over-all picture.  Shazia, having a personal interest and perspective on this, pointed out the obvious that most all of us, as well as the media, failed to see.  John McCain and Sarah Palin, while directing their fire at Barack Obama, are actually stirring up hatred against those of Arab descent who have come to our country legally and are participating, tax-paying citizens of good standing.  McCain’s quick defense of Obama as not being Arab and being a “decent family man,” while admirable on one level, was insulting to Arab-Americans.  It implied that Arabs could not be “decent family men, or women for that matter.”  Shazia reports that only Wolf Blitzer on CNN pointed this out, and I feel he should be given credit for it.

Irish Immigrants

Irish Immigrants

I also think the same thing applies to us out here in the blogosphere.  In attacking the racism that is apparent in the McCain/Palin campaign, we need to be sure that we are not adding to the anti-Arab sentiment in our citizenry.  Racism is racism and prejudice is prejudice. What many Americans fail to recognize is that most of us come from “unacceptable” immigrant stock that came here well after the Mayflower landed at Plymouth Rock.  The Irish were treated terribly on their arrival, as were the Italians and Eastern European Jews.  And don’t forget the Chinese workers who were imported to build our railroad who were also the object of hatred.  Then we had the Puerto Ricans followed by Cubans and other Latin Americans who came here to escape the life-threatening tyranny they were facing.  The Haitians were not exactly welcomed with open arms to Miami when they straggled onto our shores.  And don’t even get me started on the hatred heaped upon gays in America who had the nerve to ask to be treated like anybody else.

The unimaginable enslavement of Africans by our ancestors, including some of my forebears, is an easy piece of history to grasp and condemn.  But they have not been alone in their struggles; although, they have had the highest hill to climb into acceptance, taking hundreds of years after their arrival.  That is why the focus went there in the past several weeks.  It’s a brand of racism that we are all very familiar with.  But Shazia points out our short-sightedness.  We forget that these same hate mongers have targeted everybody who is different from them, whether it be race or religious differences or nationality of origin.  It is a BIG part of who we are, and we trip over the line easily and often.

I remember when I was in elementary school in Oklahoma City, how the protestants of Oklahoma launched a vicious anti-Catholic campaign against John F. Kennedy.  They claimed that if elected he would allow the Pope to dictate his every move and outlaw Protestantism in America.  What a crock!  But it worked in Oklahoma which went heavily for Nixon.

Joe Scarborough

Joe Scarborough

On Morning Joe today, Joe Scarborough once again launched into a shrill tirade against the liberal left-wing media for criticizing Republicans for their misbehavior on this point, claiming the media turn a blind eye to Democrats when they do the same.  Sorry, Joe, that gets a great big BULLSHIT from Jack.  Republicans, and especially John McCain, enjoyed the greatest love-fest ever from the “liberal left-wing” media while they led us into the insane war in Iraq.  The media bought the whole thing hook, line and sinker and never questioned a thing.  As for John McCain, no politician over the past ten years has enjoyed a more favorable press.  I would refer you back to my first posting in this blog – it’s what fired me up to write in the first place.  Every day for months the “liberal left-wing” media asked the question: What’s wrong with Barack Obama?  I reiterate for my new readers, doesn’t that question imply by its very nature that there IS something wrong with Barack Obama?  What Obama has gotten from the main-stream media is not exactly a love-fest.

So now, the Republicans, in their last desperate attempt to salvage the flagging bankrupt campaign of John McCain are resorting to their other tried and true tactic: blame the liberal left-wing media.  How pathetic you all have become.  You want to rule the world, but you can’t even find one positive message with which to lead.  Instead, the Republicans have adopted a default strategy, hoping to turn the people against Barack Obama.  What I see in the polling is that the American people have had enough of that kind of politics and have rejected it.  In the last debate I watched the CNN focus group needle sit in a neutral position through most of McCain’s presentation.  I think, just like George W. Bush, the American people are tuning out the chaotic, flip-flopping McCain.  Let’s face it, he hasn’t had anything new to say for weeks, and what he does say is exactly the same old thing in the same old words.  WE’VE HEARD IT, ALREADY, JOHN!  So keep on playing to that base.  You may just need those right-wing nuts again in four more years.  But, in the meantime, it is fun for us on the left to watch the rats desert the sinking ship three weeks before the election.  More on that tomorrow.

Keep up the good fight, Democrats and Independents for Change.  The polls keep sliding in our direction.

P.S.  For a good laugh, go to my friend Willpen’s site today, Willpen’s World.  She has a video and a poem for us.  It’s just the levity we all need to get through our days.  Thanks, Willpen!

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. 14 October 2008 1:32 pm

    Jack,

    You bring up some valid points about racism in this country. In your previous post, you mentioned the bravery and determination that Barack Obama exhibits everyday as he steps out into an environment that is most likely filled with people who just hate him for the color of his skin. Where is this being discussed by the media? Who has ever mentioned this? Good call Jack. Maybe someone will read these pages and get the ball rolling.

    We are so close, yet so far, from where we need to be as a country pertaining to race. We have done a good job, on the most part, by helping to eradicate racial hatred in our children’s generation. Maybe they will be able to continue this by teaching their children to do the same.

    Let’s keep up the good work. Thanks for the heads up…

  2. soulaz permalink
    14 October 2008 1:55 pm

    The whole issue of racism within the McCain campaign has been eating away at me for weeks now. As an American citizen I am appalled that the abominable remarks made by the Republican candidates, their talking heads, and their supporters, have not been condemned in the harshest language possible by mainstream media. As a resident of Arizona, I am more than just appalled. I am deeply ashamed that a man who represents my state, would so cavalierly risk the safety of his opponent by invoking the basest of fears and hatred. We know for a fact that bigots in this country have committed acts of violence against people, just because they are different in some way.

    I noticed the hidden slur against Arab Americans in John McCain’s reply in his rally. While I am not completely willing to give him a pass on it, I will give him the tiniest benefit of the doubt in that one situation. Perhaps, in the heat of the moment, he just chose his words unwisely.

    I was more offended by his well-thought out response to Rep. John Lewis’ scathing criticism, in which he recalled the hateful campaign of George Wallace. McCain’s response, in the form of a press release, which I assume was written with much fore-thought, and was proof-read for accuracy and tone, demands an apology and repudiation from Barack Obama. Seriously? Why does Barack Obama have any moral imperative to apologize for the words of another man? A man who is not affiliated with the Obama campaign, but who merely exercised his right of free speech, much in the same way the hate-mongerers exercise theirs, at McCain rallies.

    As there has not really been a bold condemnation of remarks made by white people at McCain’s rallies, I would take it to mean that John McCain is not personally responsible as a white man, for the words of other white people. But, apparently, at least according to John McCain and his campaign, Barack Obama is personally responsible for the words of another African American. One of the most ignorant tactics of a bigot is to lump all people of a particular race, creed, gender or sexual orientation into one large homogeneous lump of humanity. It’s so much easier to hate a faceless group than to hate an individual.

    The media plays into this whole idea of idea of categorizing people into little demographic boxes of like-mindedness all the time. How many times a day do we need to hear about the “black vote” and the “latino vote” and the “women vote” and the “young vote” and the “senior vote and the “jewish vote” and the “evangelical vote?” I honestly do not care what color the votes are, whether the votes are young or old, or if they go to church or synogogue.

    Our next president will be inheriting a huge mess that has hurt us all. And he will have to lead all of us through troubled times, regardless of which box we live in. I am voting for the man who looks at me and sees beyond the box I live in, to the individual I really am. I think we need to stick John McCain into whatever box he thinks he lives in, and ship him back to Arizona. The only problem with that, is that I live here too. Bummer for me . . .

  3. Left-Eyed Jack permalink*
    14 October 2008 2:39 pm

    @Soulaz

    I get back George W. Bush, and hopefully you get back McCain. I feel your pain.

  4. fingerstx permalink*
    14 October 2008 3:12 pm

    @Soulaz

    I live in Houston, and I am not looking forward to January. You’ll probably get McCain back, but I’m going to get two Bushes. Yuuucky!

    Every time Daddy Bush sallies forth from his Tanglewood area mansion, he creates traffic tie-ups for the rest of us. Me: “Officer, the road is blocked off, but I need to go that way.” Officer: “You’ll just have to wait until the former president’s motorcade passes.” Gee, thanks! Mrs. Bush must be going shopping at the Galleria today. Why couldn’t he retire to a ranch in the middle of nowhere?

    I agree with you about racism and putting people into little boxes. I hate that, too.

  5. 14 October 2008 3:17 pm

    Well… I seem to be sitting pretty here…:)

  6. morelightthanheat permalink
    14 October 2008 11:31 pm

    Jack, a big tip of the hat to you. Many of us have been horrified at the recent tone of the McCain campaign and at the potentially catastrophic consequences. I’ve blogged on the topic several times during the past week or so.

    Some years ago, during or immediately following the Achille Lauro hijacking, friend of mine was interviewed on a Los Angeles TV station. My friend was the spokesperson for the local chapter of the Arab-American Anti-discrimination Committee (at least I think that was its name). I saw the interview as it was broadcast and realized immediately that it had been edited in such a way as to mis-represent his true views. The following morning, a pipe bomb exploded as he unlocked his office door, and he was killed, leaving a wife and family and devastating them and his many friends. It was an example of how words can be twisted, either intentionally or otherwise, to deadly ends. I’m embarrassed that I failed to catch the undercurrent in McCain’s response in my relief that FINALLY he had at least spoken up.

    Soulaz, I think McCain’s response regarding Rep. Lewis’ remarks was completely cynical. I’m not inclined to give him a pass. Lewis in no way implied that McCain was a segregationist but that his tone could lead others to violence in the same way as did that of Wallace and others during that time. Lewis is right. McCain and Palin are playing with fire. McCain should know better if for no other reason than he was of age during those turbulent years.

  7. Left-Eyed Jack permalink*
    15 October 2008 12:38 pm

    @Morelightthanheat

    The story of your friend should be read by everyone in this country. It should especially be read by Joe Scarborough and others who don’t want to admit there is any harm in the shameful McCain/Palin attack on innocent Arab-Americans not to mention the inference about Barack Obama.

    I, like Representative Lewis, remember Governor George Wallace of Alabama and his shameful behavior. I find it frightening as well as discouraging to see a couple of politicians in a new century stooping to such tactics.

    Senator McCain can protest his innocence and express his phony outrage against Representative Lewis all he wants, but he is still GUILTY of racism. Unfortunately, I don’t expect much more from Sarah the Impaler. But as for McCain, I expected a great deal more. He should be ashamed!

  8. rippost permalink
    3 November 2008 6:38 pm

    Thanks for pointing out the Joe Scarbrough thing so I didn’t have to write about it. LOL. He’s full of shit. Really.

  9. Left-Eyed Jack permalink*
    3 November 2008 7:45 pm

    Dear Rippost:

    My pleasure.

    Thanks for stopping by.

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