Monday, January 14, 2008

Democrats, Gender and Race - Oh my!

Once again reading the New York Times, I find myself completely befuddled. I really thought that popular Democrat opinion was that Republicans were racist and sexist and Democrats were the "big tent" people. But now it appears that Democrats, when there's a contest to be won, are equally distrusting of one another. 

Yes, Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are tussling with one another over race and gender issues and the politics of personal destruction. What a hoot...

So, for anyone who doesn't know recent history: Senator Obama is the product of an African father and a white American mother. And there has actually been talk in the media that while Obama has black skin, he may not be black enough to be really, truly black. The LA Times had an op-ed piece (written by a black author) in March of 2007 which suggested that Obama is a "Magic Negro," a term used to explain a cultural figure who emerged in the wake of Brown vs. Board of Education "who has no past, he simply appears one day to help the white protagonist." The article states that, "Like a comic-book superhero, Obama is there to help, out of the sheer goodness of a heart we need not know or understand. For as with all Magic Negroes, the less real he seems, the more desirable he becomes. If he were real, white America couldn't project all its fantasies of curative black benevolence on him." (Realize, please, that in order for Obama to technically be a "Magic Negro" he would actually have to be running for the office of Vice President in an effort to help a white Presidential nominee, not running for President.) 

Then, in a recent Debate, Hillary Clinton suggested that her opponents (Obama and Edwards) are a lot of talk on change but with no action. She then went on to say, "Making change is not about what you believe, it's not about a speech you make - it is about working hard... ...what we need is somebody who can deliver change. We don't need to be raising the false hopes of our country about what can be delivered..." Hillary Clinton also made a reference to Martin Luther King's beliefs in regards to change saying, "Dr. King's dream began to be realized when President Lyndon Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It took a president to get it done." Well, garsh!! It was a mistake to let that one slip out... suggesting that Martin Luther King's beliefs weren't enough, and that he needed the help of Lyndon Johnson in order to effect change was probably not the best political move she could have made, though the meat of her statement may be somewhat true. After all, there is a Martin Luther King day, and not a Lyndon Johnson day for which my children get to stay home from school. 

Now the Clinton camp is accusing the Obama camp of injecting race into the contest by supposedly distorting the remarks that Clinton wishes she hadn't made. Obama, of course, is accusing Clinton of injecting race into the contest as well and it boils down to "Ya-huh!" "Nu-uh!" "Ya-huh!" "Nu-uh!" Then, the supporters of both sides feel "apprehension" according to the NYT article -- because they view this moment as "divisive for Democrats." 

Obama made a speech at a black church in Vegas in which he said, "We're on the brink or cusp of doing something important; we can make history. I  know everybody is focused on racial history. That's not what I'm talking about. We can make history by being, the first time in a very long time, a grass-roots movement of people of all colors." Oookaaaay - I need to point out here that Obama is still talking about making supposed racial history here, since he's focused on a "first time in a long time grass-roots movement of people of all colors." He's also full of HOOEY, since the conservative movement has people of all colors and is a grass-roots movement. The only difference is that the black people in the conservative movement are criticized by their Democrat counterparts as being "sell-outs" and "Uncle Toms." 

But it's not all about race... oh, no. Hillary has definitely been playing the gender card as well. Welling up with tears over the heartache of it all, saying in her speech to a black church in South Carolina, "I never thought we would see the day when an African-American and a woman were competing for the presidency of the United States." ...Well, that's true, I suppose. She's thought her whole life that she would see a woman competing for the presidency. It just threw a wrench in her plans that a black man thought to compete for it the same election cycle. And just for the record, I don't think that Hillary is racist, or that she is upset that there's a black man running for the presidency. I think she's upset that there's somebody running against her with an equally valid card in his pocket to play. In 2004, Hillary really thought that she was the next inevitable president because of the ace in her pocket. She certainly didn't expect to get to 2008 and find that another ace would appear and threaten her position as The Candidate of Historical Importance. 

And then Obama is quoted in the article as saying something so fundamentally true it bears repeating: "I think they (the Clinton campaign) have decided to run a relentlessly negative campaign, and I don't think anybody who's watching would deny that. I gather that she's determined that instead of trying to sell herself on why she would be the best president, she's trying to convince folks that I wouldn't be a good one." 

So after reading about all this, I have decided one thing. Race and gender politics are all a game. And as far as the Democrats are concerned, the game is all about winning -- so play the race and gender cards no matter whom you are running against. But mark my words, when the race and/or gender cards come out after the primaries, the Republicans will be the ones painted as racist, sexist homophobes throughout the campaign... no matter who starts the negative race/gender talk -- and probably whether talk of homosexuals enters the contest on the campaign trail or not. 


bj said...

I am very impressed with your writings! I just read them all.

Anonymous said...

You go, Jodi... I love reading your postings - WHEN are you running? You have my vote!