Friday, October 31, 2008

Speak For Yourself III: More McCain/Palin Rally Insanity

This time, McCain-Palin supporters at a rally in Ohio express their views.

Again, one must ask, what is it about these rallies that attracts this element? Why would people who think like this also support John McCain? What does that say about McCain and Palin? What does it say that these people support McCain's policies?

Apparently, I Will be a Deadbeat Dad

That's right, according to Bill Cunningham, if I should father any children, I will promptly abandon them, on account of my blackness, because "that's what black fathers do." Yeah, it sounded unbelievable to me, too, until I played the Media Matters audio clip, and heard it for myself.

Oh, and since I made it to age 18 without being abandoned by my father (thanks, Dad!) I guess that means my dad isn't black. WOW! And all these years, he thought he was a brotha. Maybe one day Mr. Cunningham will come out with some theory that my mom is an alien from Jupiter.

By the way, this is the same Bill Cunningham that was given the privilege (if you can call it that) of introducing John McCain before one of his rallies. He took this opportunity as a prime moment to repeatedly, and in a malicious way, mention and disparage Barack Obama's middle name (in case you didn't know, that name - Hussein - has been in Obama's family for a long time, probably since before Saddam Hussein was born in a country far away from Obama's family). Here's the obligatory video clip:

One more thing on Mr. Cunningham. He was gracious enough to warn us that black people, regardless of the result of the election, will create mischief and mayhem in the streets.

Now, aside from the fact that he attributed comments to police chiefs that no police chiefs ever made, this is just racist. Yes, hateful fear-mongers like Cunningham should be afraid of what will happen if this election is stolen, because we will make our voices heard, just as we did in the 1960s when our right to vote was being compromised. This issue may come up again, because this idiotic mess probably deserves its own, more detailed post.

Speak for Yourself II: Obama the Father and Baby Killer?

Because, as Rachel Maddow points out in this clip, being a father of two and wanting to see infants run over by a train aren't exactly congruent characteristics, this right-wing mailing is just insane.

Is this racism? Maybe. But it's probably more just bitter partisan hatred mixed in with a healthy dose of hopeless stupidity.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Growing up, I was always taught that three things would never happen. Well, we're now two for three:

#1: The American economy won't crash because regulations put in place in th 1930s during the Great Depression by Franklin Roosevelt would prevent it.
Well, while we're not near the devastation of the great depression - yet - we're inching closer, and we're facing possibly the worst financial crisis since the '30s due to deregulation. What, again, was the point of American History class?

#2: Philadelphia major pro sports teams don't win championships. Period.
Well, the Phillies just won. It took them three days to play the last game, but they won. Does that mean we can replace "Joe the Plumber" with "Ryan the Champion"? I mean, for variety's sake.

And then there's #3 - A black man can't become president.


Speak For Yourself I: Racism in Pottsville, PA

I'm starting a new series, entitled "Speak For Yourself," in which I will offer minimal commentary and allow the words of others to speak for themselves. This first installment is a video featuring a slew of persons outside a McCain rally in Pottsville, PA, making racist comments about Senator Obama and even blacks in general.

Now, some of the comments are obviously racist, like "I'll never vote for a black man." But go back and ask yourself this: how does race factor in the views of those who want to "bomb Obama," or think that his "associations and judgment" are "un-American," or who insist that he was "born in Kenya" and demand to see his birth certificate (in case your wondering, actually did see and examine his birth certificate, and have proven, as most sane individuals already knew, that Obama was born in Hawaii, and we should all know by now that Hawaii is part of the United States).

Final question: Why are McCain/Palin rallies attracting so much of this element?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Apparently, I hate Real Americans

Yes, it was revealed at a John McCain rally that liberals, like me "hate real Americans that work hard and achieve and believe in God." This is in spite of the fact that I am a real American that works hard and achieves and believes in God. I guess this makes me a self-hater.

You can read about my self hatred here:

I have go to class, more righteous indignation to come.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Why Can't Barack Be Black?

My question is simple.

Why do so man people - mostly whites, but some blacks - have such a problem with the idea of Barack Obama being black?

I hear so much, "He's half white," "His ancestors weren't slaves," "Why do we talk about him as a black man, not as a white man?" Before he called him an Arab, Rush Limbaugh called Obama (and Halley Berry) "Halfrican" in reference to their mixed heritage.

Why is it that, in a country where it is a fact of life that many, if not most, African Americans have some non-African ancestry, so many are obsessed with Obama's non-Africanness? Why are people so uncomfortable with him being black?

I have my on hypothesis in answer to this question, but I'm interrested in what others think. Leave your answers by commenting on this post, and then I'll be back with a follow-up post.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Respect the Truth of Lewis's Statement

The latest distractions in this year's presidential election revolve around race. The mess started as V.P. Candidate Sarah Palin made it a point to attack Barack Obama on his non-relationship with William Ayers. Palin also suggested that it might be a good idea to attack Obama on the issue of his former paster, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Now, if you've been reading this blog for long enough, you know that my immediate response to this was that such a line of attack – depicting Obama as scary and anti-American – only has the possibility of being effective because of Obama's race.

Well, this increasingly negative tone was effective in inciting increased fear and hatred at least among John McCain's base. Before we knew what was happening, McCain-Palin rallies turned into places for almost all white crowds to vent their hates and their fears (are they synonyms?) in increasingly disturbing ways. When McCain sought to conjure up the image of Obama as a scary unknown by asking “Who is the real Barack Obama,” someone in the crowd yelled out, “Terrorist!” While Palin was speaking of Obama and Ayers, a supporter cried “Kill him.” Someone even yelled, “Off with his head.” There was booing at the mere mention of Obama's name. Those allowed to pose questions at McCain's “town hall” style events were noticeably angry and expressed fear of Obama. One lady even said, incorrectly, that Obama is Arab, and even McCain had to correct her on that one. After some bad press, McCain decided that he needed to urge his audiences to tone down the hate. This was, of course, received with a chorus of boos.

It's also worth pointing out that McCain had, at first, criticized Obama for attacking those in attendance at McCain-Palin rallies.

This all led up to this weekend, when civil rights legend and Georgia Congressman John Lewis took McCain to task. Although this post is already getting long, I think it's worthwhile to post Lewis's comments in their entirety.

As one who was a victim of violence and hate during the height of the Civil Rights Movement, I am deeply disturbed by the negative tone of the McCain-Palin campaign. What I am seeing reminds me too much of another destructive period in American history. Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin are sowing the seeds of hatred and division, and there is no need for this hostility in our political discourse.

During another period, in the not too distant past, there was a governor of the state of Alabama named George Wallace who also became a presidential candidate. George Wallace never threw a bomb. He never fired a gun, but he created the climate and the conditions that encouraged vicious attacks against innocent Americans who were simply trying to exercise their constitutional rights. Because of this atmosphere of hate, four little girls were killed on Sunday morning when a church was bombed in Birmingham, Alabama.

As public figures with the power to influence and persuade, Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin are playing with fire, and if they are not careful, that fire will consume us all. They are playing a very dangerous game that disregards the value of the political process and cheapens our entire democracy. We can do better. The American people deserve better.

In case you don't know, George Wallace was a racist who ran for president on a segregationist platform.

Of course, John McCain was quick to issue a response:

Congressman John Lewis' comments represent a character attack against Governor Sarah Palin and me that is shocking and beyond the pale. The notion that legitimate criticism of Senator Obama's record and positions could be compared to Governor George Wallace, his segregationist policies and the violence he provoked is unacceptable and has no place in this campaign. I am saddened that John Lewis, a man I've always admired, would make such a brazen and baseless attack on my character and the character of the thousands of hardworking Americans who come to our events to cheer for the kind of reform that will put America on the right track.

For his part, Senator Obama's campaign issued the following statement:

Senator Obama does not believe that John McCain or his policy criticism is in any way comparable to George Wallace or his segregationist policies. But John Lewis was right to condemn some of the hateful rhetoric that John McCain himself personally rebuked just last night, as well as the baseless and profoundly irresponsible charges from his own running mate that the Democratic nominee for President of the United States ‘pals around with terrorists.’ As Barack Obama has said himself, the last thing we need from either party is the kind of angry, divisive rhetoric that tears us apart at a time of crisis when we desperately need to come together. That is the kind of campaign Senator Obama will continue to run in the weeks ahead.

So, after all this, the question is, was Lewis right for saying what he did? I say no. And yes.

Let's deal with the no first. New Jersey Governor Jim Corzine said today on Meet the Press that Lewis's comments showed poor timing, serving as a distraction from the real issues. I agree in that, strategically, this is not good for Obama in that it allows McCain to paint him as a race-baiter who wants to distract voters from the real issues at a time when McCain has been the one truly guilty of distracting.

However, since Lewis did make the comments, I must say I agree with what he said. The statement from the Obama campaign first points out that McCain's policies are not pro-segregation, as were Wallace's. With this I must also agree. While McCain's policies will have a disproportionately negative impact on African Americans, they are not unapologetically racist. John McCain is no George Wallace.

Here's the thing: No one accused McCain of sharing policies similar to those of Wallace. Lewis only accused McCain and Palin of creating an atmosphere that breeds hatred and, potentially, violence. Are we really going to argue that this isn't true? Sarah Palin all but calls Obama a terrorist, John McCain ask, “who is Barack Obama,” and we really don' think that contributes to a hateful and divisive atmosphere? Although we can't read their minds to prove it, we essentially know that part of the McCain-Palin strategy was to remind easily swayed voters that Obama is a scare/shadowy/creepy/unknown young black guy with ties to terrorists and angry black men. He's “not one of us.”

Palin complained that Obama saw America as “imperfect enough” to be friends with a domestic terrorist. When I heard this it made me sick, because I immediately recognized it as the argument that blacks complain too much and are ungrateful to this country. It echoed her low blow at Michelle Obama, and was an attack on every black person who has ever dared to point out the flaws of their country. This was a divisive statement if ever there was one, and it was a dog whistle to her supporters, reminding them, “we can't let this ungrateful, America-hating black man win.”

What kind of response did John McCain expect when he described Obama as a vague and unknown figure? Did he really not expect people to respond by being afraid of Obama? Did he really think that he could paint Obama as a danger to America and not incite anger and violence? At a debate for senate in Georgia, a woman in the crowd cried out, “bomb Obama.” Given the tone of his rallies – a tone he helped to create – is McCain really surprised at such comments?

Let's look at Lewis's words one more time:

He never fired a gun, but he created the climate and the conditions that encouraged vicious attacks against innocent Americans who were simply trying to exercise their constitutional rights.

While Lewis here was speaking of Wallace, such words could soon come to describe the reckless and repulsive actions of McCain and Palin. Judging from the atmosphere of their rallies, violent encounters at polling places wouldn't surprise me. Barack Obama already received Secret Service protection earlier than any candidate ever (other than those who already had it, like V.P.s or first ladies) because of racial tensions. There was already a poorly planned assassination attempt during the Democratic National Convention in Denver. And now we hear threats of violence as McCain and Palin stoke the worst fears of their supporters.

If anyone would know about such a thing, it would be John Lewis. He's not a professional race-baiter. He doesn't go around crying “racism” just to get attention from the media. When someone who lived through racial violence just because he tried to exercise his legal rights tells you that the potential for such a thing to happen again exists, you listen! I dare anyone to show me what, exactly, Lewis said that was untrue. As far as political strategy is concerned, I question the timing of Lewis's comments. Still, we must respect the truth and wisdom within his statements, or we risk allowing our already struggling democracy to slip into a fear- and hate-fueled chaos.

Food For Though:

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Even Little Kids Know We're Racist

A new study shows that children are well aware that we have never had an African American, Latino, or female president.

Calling into question the idea children live in a color- and gender-blind world, researchers at the University of Texas, Austin, reveal "most elementary-school-aged children are aware there has been no female, African-American, or Hispanic President."
What's even scarier is the way they children explain this phenomenon:

A third of the children said the white male monopoly was due to "racial and gender bias," and another third believed members of the excluded groups "lacked the skills to hold the position," according to the study.

One in four participants told researchers they thought it was "illegal for women and minorities to hold the office of president."

So, let's review. 1/3 of children believe that only white men are skilled enough to be president. 1/4 believe that the law prevents women and minorities from being president.

No wonder kids are lazy. They're already being told they can't achieve, even if they try hard.

Palin's Low Blow on Michelle Obama

Unless they do something so deplorable that they raise reasonable doubt about the judgment of the candidate, the candidate's spouse should be off-limits in political contests. Apparently, Sarah Palin doesn't abide by this standard.

This was a clear and direct attack on Michelle Obama's much noted comments about not being proud of being an American. For Palin to take such a shot during the Vice Presidential debate showed a complete lack of integrity on her part, and a lack of respect for the Obama family. How would she like it if Barack Obama or Joe Biden took cheap shots at her husband?

But, beyone violating rules of politeness and respecfulness, Palin showed a complete lack of consideration for the black experience. Her remark suggest that black do not have a reason to be disapointed in the United States. How is it that black are wrong for criticizing the United States? And what, exactly, is it that we ought to be proud for? Many of the good things about this country that are supposed to stir patriotism don't apply to whites the same as they do to blacks. Let's look at a few:

Democracy & Voting - While African American men were given the right to vote soon after the Civil War, many blacks did not actually get to vote for 100 years, due to racist state laws, acts of violence and intimidation, barrires to registration, and a lack of intervention by the federal government. Today, black and other minorities are still subjected to underhanded attempts to rob them of their votes. Names are unjustly removed from voter rolls, illegal "caging" practicies abound, and intimidation still occurs. Depending on who controlls the White House, the Justice Department may show little if any interest in investigating such injustices.

Economic Opportunity & Social Mobility - Again, this nation has a long history of denying equal economic opportunity to blacks. This can be traced back to slavery. Even after slavery, the premature end of Reconstruction left many blacks in an economic position as close to slavery as one could be without being a slave. Piled on to this disadvantage was the fact that many African Americans were barred from participating in labor unions, and many would argue that labor unions are still hotile to minorities. Research even shows that a black man with no criminal record is less likely to get a job than a white man with a criminal record. We also know that, no matter who you blame, black and brown children just don't get the same quality education as whites. While there are some exceptions to this rule, I can make this broad generalization because our public schools are growing more and more segregated by the day.

We Live in a Land of Justice - Let me remind you of the "Jena 6" incident, in which 6 African American boys were charged with second degree murder for a school fight. While the were wrong and deserved some form of punishment, the excessivly harsh charge was issued by a District Attorney who showed an inability to take any action when African Americans were the victim. He even went as far as to threaten blacks who protested the haning of a nuse on school property - an act that qualifies, by law, as a hate crime. During the fallout from this incident, the U.S. Department of Justice did nothing. This is just one example of the people who's salary we pay through taxes to protect us - police, district attornies, justice departments, and judges - have become the enemy of the black community.

We're the Melting Pot - Often time, that melting pot ask African Americans to forsake their own culture in order to take up the cloak of Eurocentric culture. Our music, speech, clothing, family structure, religious practice, and other aspects of our culture are deemed as inferior.

I could go on with this, but I think you get the point. While I'm glad to live in this country, I and other persons of my hue have some legitimate complaints. We are taught as small children about how wonderful this country is, but as we grow older, we encounter a very different world. We learn that all the great features of this country don't always apply to us. For the Sarah Palins of the world to ignore thsee very real and legitimate feelings shows an utter disregard for the experiences of the African American community, and provides chilling insight on they way a Palin (or McCain-Palin) administration would impact blacks and other minorities.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Here We Go

Finally, we've reached the beginning of the end of the 2008 presidential campaign, and this beginning is marked by a new line of attack from John McCain and his campaign. Finally, they are beginning to unleash the below-the-belt, outlandish and baseless attacks that many feared would come at some point in the election

With McCain's numbers slipping both nationally and in key battleground states, and Sarah Palin's not harmful but also not overwhelmingly great debate performance, the desperation within the McCain camp is so thick you could cut it with a knife. So, they've decided to attack Barack Obama by linking him with William Ayers, a man who has been labeled as a domestic terrorist for actions he participated in back in the 1960s - when Obama was a whopping eight years old! Just as there is no real substantive link between Obama and Franklin Rains (the sinister looking black former Freddy Mac executive) the Obama-Ayers connection doesn't extend beyond living in the same neighborhood and serving on a charitable board together.

Way back during the primary election pointed out that there is no substantive link between Obama and Ayers. I expect that they will be ripping this new McCain line of attack to shreds in the coming days.

Of course, in this morally deficiant society of ours, lies have become par for the course in high stakes elections. However, this particular lie reeks of an attempt to paint Senator Obama as a terrorist himself. It conjures up those nasty e-mail smears that are going around, spewing some hate-filled version of: "Barack Obama is a secret Islamic terrorist who is infiltrating the country by running for president so that he can destroy it from the inside out." This is code language, a dog whistle intended to appeal to the worst aspects of American society by sending the message that "he's not one of us, be scared of him."

Expect McCain campaign surrogates and Conservative commentators to began questioning Senator Obama's Christian faith within the next few days. This will probably be followed by a renewed bashing of his former mega-church Christian pastor. And if Obama tries to respond with that annoying little thing we know as the truth, expect the right-wing fanatics to accuse him of playing the race card.

Those of us who actually pay attention to the world around us, watch with a critical eye, and aren't fooled by such shenanigans know exactly what this is. We know that Republicans couldn't get away with this against a white candidate (although the fact that Obama is a Democrat and that Democrats are often portrayed by Republicans as weak does help some). We recognize this as an attempt to paint Obama as one of those crazy, unpatriotic, radical, angry black people who we must all fear and hate because he has the nerve to speak up when our nation does something wrong.

We must also know that there is more to come. It remains to be seen how close the Republicans will come to using overt racism to scrape together votes. The more desperate the become, the more likely it is. As their poll numbers slip, they will have less to loose by using race as a tool to create fear of an Obama administration. We should expect to see more ads that depict Obama as a sinister black man, soft on crime, wanting to give handouts to lazy welfare queens, and willing to sacrifice the safety of the nation to meet his own personal ambitions. Expect that the Republicans to be reckless in their lies (as they already have been). Be prepared for the possibility that [publicly] independent organizations will be overtly racist, especially in ad campaigns targeted as specific media markets.

This is the test of America's morality that we all knew would come if we nominated a black man. Now it's time for us to see if we pass the test, and to respond appropriately to the results. The next 30+ days are not for the faint of heart.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Is John McCain Racist?

It's been about a week that I've been debating doing this post. Throughout this entire presidential campaign, I've maintained that I don't think John McCain is racist, and I think it's a just wrong to accuse him of being so without any type of proof. So, one can imagine the internal conflict I felt when I found reason to believe that John McCain's views of other races are less than acceptable.

I've decided to simply present the information that I have found. Before I do, let me say that I am not fully convinced concerning the credibility of the source. Personally, I think it's likely true, but this evidence is in no way definitive. That's why this post is titled "Is John McCain Racist?" and not "John McCain is Racist!"

At you will find a list of questionable actions by Senator McCain. These are mostly first hand accounts from Doug Thompson, a former Capitol Hill staffer who interacted with McCain over the years. Here is one of the less vulgar comments that Thompson reports:

Question: Why does Mexican beer have two "X's" on the label?
Answer: Because wetbacks always need a co-signer.
Thompson also adds,

McCain loved to tell jokes about lesbians, blacks, Hispanics and the Vietnamese community that occupied a large section of Arlington County, Virginia, just south of the District of Columbia.

Of course, McCain didn't use polite language in the jokes: He used names like "fags" or "queers" or "dykes" or "niggers" or "spics" or "wetbacks" or "gooks."


McCain's collection of off-color jokes are riddled with racist words and sentiments. Advisors have toned down the raunchy rhetoric of his early years in Congress but close aides say his attitudes have not changed.

McCain opposed making the birthday of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King a national holiday. During his 2000 campaign for President, he told reporters on his "Straight Talk Express: "I hated the gooks (North Vietnamese). I will hate them as long as I live."

Finally, I want to point out one more of Thompson's many disturbing claims. He sites the book Gook: John McCain's Racism, written by Irwin A. Tank, stating that McCain once endorsed a frequent speaker at white supremacist rallies, and that "in answering a question about divorced fathers and child support, McCain called the children 'tar babies.'"

If these claims are true (and McCain's opposition to the MLK holiday and his use of the anti-Asian slur "gook" are known to be true) it should be quite alarming to all Americans. We must be concerned and ask ourselves if a person who believes and behaves in this way is the best choice to lead our nation.