Monday, January 28, 2008

Time for No Tolerance

I've had two emails in the last 24 hours, one from an old friend, the other from a new interlocutor.

Fergus says,
OK, so the media lied their butts off about what Bill Clinton said or did. The impression is what matters. I came from a blog thread where a few people were making statements barely within the boundaries of civil discourse about black voters. I dont' even want to repeat the words, they made me so pissed off. What can be done about the way black (and female and gay and Latino and poor)voices are being stigmatized? What's old Big Dog going to do about that?
Francis Holland, in a comment to an earlier post, says,

I still strongly support the Hillary Clinton/Barack Obama presidential/vice presidential ticket, but there is only so much I can do for Hillary in the Black community if her campaign continues to engage in stereotypical color-associated attacks that denigrate ALL Black people.

She should also consider the fact that Blacks are inseparably associated with the public identity of the Democratic Party. To the extent that Blacks are besmirched, the Party itself loses popularity with the public. That makes it harder for Hillary Clinton to be elected in the fall.

If this seems ethereal, just remember how stereoypical portrayals of Blacks (Willie Horton) helped to doom Mike Dukakis' 1988 campaign. Fanning the flames of those stereotypes ultimately makes the Democratic Party less acceptable to white voters.

A word to the wise is sufficient. But a word to the wilfully deaf and ignorant is a waste of time. Let's see what whether the wise or the wilfully deaf will prevail.

I've spent a good amount of time here on this blog defending HRC against bogus claims of racism, and I've smacked The Golden One around for engaging in his own race-baiting, trying to milk liberal white guilt for all it is worth. But the fact is that when racism enters the conversation and settles its stinking, rotted carcass on the couch, it takes some ordinary extermination efforts to excise it from the body politic. I was particularly disturbed to read in more blogs and threads than I want to think about the number of people who talked about AA voters as having been "duped" (to either vote for or against HRC) or as "stupid" (for the same reason).

Paul Krugman, in The Conscience of a Liberal, speaks extensively about the way in which the Republican Party has made racism the foundation of their electoral success. There is no advantage to Democrats in touching this crap except to renounce it and denounce it in the most unequivocal terms. There is no ethical, legal, or electoral advantage to our party to engage in any kind of racial demagoguery.

To stigmatize or marginalize any constituency within our party makes the party weaker, and that is the way the Republicans continually try to portray Democrats - every Democrat is in the pocket of some "special interest." What is a "special interest"? Anyone who is not a wealthy WASP male and all groups such people belong to. The key point of congruence between New Hampshire and South Carolina was not the top two candidates - it was the derogatory way in which the media treated the winner's chief voting group. All the boo-hoo weepy, weak, wimmin for Hillary the Bitch and all those race-obsessed Black people voting for their homey Obama.

The media narrative was "Oh, man, neither of these candidates really appeal to white men all that much," as though this is A) true or B) meaningful. But this is how the media narative is shaping up. Hillary is the female candidate, Obama is the Black candidate and the lame-ass Republican who manages to stagger through to the nomination is going to be the "American" candidate.

Let's understand Krugman carefully: as he warns us, the Movement Conservatives want to roll back America to the 19th century. They want to destroy the economic gains and social equality that was a direct result of FDR's New Deal, and they are going to do this by racial and gendered attacks on our candidates, our policies and our governance. They want to eliminate equal rights and have no problem with apartheid. They want to roll back sexual equality. They are for eliminating rights to manage our own affairs, such as birth control and marriage, and want to remove the safety nets and legal safeguards that protect us from the selfish whims of the mega-rich.

The recent who's calling whom a racist shit has to stop.

I'm calling on the candidate I support, Hillary, to make it clear she will not tolerate any more questionable statements from anyone associated with her campaign, from Bill right down to the lowliest volunteer. She should refuse to answer race-baiting questions from assholes like Russert, and instead ask why the media is so determined to inject race into the campaign. And she has to make it clear who is and is not speaking for her campaign.

There is no person, no campaign, no victory that can justify deliberate use of racial divisions. Leave it to the Republicans to immolate themselves on the pyre of racism come November.



Anonymous said...

I agree Anglachel. I admit to being sucked into this race-baiting this which is exactly what the media wants Clinton and Obama supporters to do. I've been trying to stick up for the Clinton camp because I honestly do not believe the Clintons meant to start all of this race talk. HRC made a stupid comment about LBJ/MLK and Bill used the term "fairy tale" but in no way was that supposed to be racist. After that everything basically blew up and the media was hellbent to start WWIII between Obama and Hillary supporters.
I agree that HRC needs to just say "enough" to all of this and plead that we all move on and focus on the issues. This is getting ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

Thats right, Blame the media.

the media made Billy Shaheen talk about whether or not Obama sold drugs or used them.

Then the media made Mark Penn say cocaine twice.

Then the media told Hillary that the ideal man to speak for her campaign at a women's college in Columbia South Carolina was....BET Founder Robert Johnson.

You dont wanna believe The Clintons played the race card to win, thats cool with me, I wouldnt believe it either If I didnt see it play out right in front of me.

Do I think the Clintons are racist? Nope. Its pretty clear they Love Black folk, so long as they dont get in the way of their power.

I believe St. Albert of Nashville said it was about the People, not the Powerful. So much for that.

Pretty sad when the pre coronated Queen of the Donkey Nation cant beat a snot nosed kid without reverting to dirty tricks.

Makes you wonder if she deserved the crown in the first place.

Francis Holland said...

"Hillary is the female candidate, Obama is the Black candidate and the lame-ass Republican who manages to stagger through to the nomination is going to be the "American" candidate."

I wouldn't be surprised if this is the media frame come November. It's about the white male supremacy paradigm. White men are presumed to be more important than all of the rest of us combined, even when they are a minority of the electorate. White women alone account for 53-60% of the November electorate. Black people account for another 13% of the population, 90% of whom will vote Democratic. At least 40% of the nation's white men will vote Democratic, even on the worst kind of bad day. White males are less than 35% of the electorate and half of them agree with Clinton and Obama's platforms and are sick and tired of the Republicans.

And still, for some reason, there is the assumption that everybody except white WASPS are members of "special interests groups" and white male WASPS interests are "American" interests.

The media has treated Clinton and Obama pretty well so far and has pretty much ignored the Republican party, from what I can see. If Clinton and Obama are both on the Democratic ticket, then this will continue into the fall. However, if Clinton nominates some boring white bread guy candidate whom nobody has ever heard of, then she will simultaneously turn down the energy now focused on the Democratic side of the election while offending the 45-50% of the party who voted for Obama in the primaries and who don't want a decision about the vice presidency to be made on the basis of appeasing white men. Among those offended will be many white men.

Anglachel said...

Hi Francis,

I can guarantee it will be the media frame in the general.

The presumption that white WASP male is the "norm" and that the rest of us are deviant in some way (unclean, untrustworthy, lesser, undeserving) is become a disease. Look at the news reporting this evening. All attention on the losers floundering for the Republican nomination. What little is granted to the totally energized Democrats is all on the most stupid points of division between the candidates - like "The Snub" - rather than real issues like just whose health care plan is best, or who has the best approach to foreign policy?

As for the VP slot, I agree 100%. Clinton/Obama will be unbeatable. Will Obama accept? I really think that's a question. Idon't want HRC as a VP because I don't think she can be effective in that office. Too many negatives. It is a win, or a gracious bow-out to go rule the Senate.