Friday, July 11, 2008

It's not a race issue.

It's not. For me it never was. I don't care what race, sex, or religion you are - that does not influence my vote. What does influence me are your ideas, your platform, your plan.

When Obama made the comment a couple months ago that his grandmother was a 'typical white person,' no one flinched. Why? Because it's okay to be racist against the majority, not the minority. And, if you share some blood of the minority, you are allowed to say non-PC things. Imagine if McCain had said, 'typical black person?' His campaign and political career would be over. And, that is stupid. There need not be a double standard.

Then, if that weren't enough, to pre-empt future racist commentaries from McCain's campaign, Obama made a statement more recently saying that racism would be used to defeat him. He said that before a single race-charged comment had been made by the other camp! He thinks he cleverly brought racism to the forefront while denouncing it. He made it an issue when it was not one. Why? Because if he can paint McCain as intolerant before he makes any intolerant remarks he is setting McCain on a pedestal - and everyone will watch for even the slightest non-PC falter. And, that's cheap politics. Why has no one pointed out Obama's racist comments, demeaning blacks, and even his own white grandmother? Oh, that's right, it's okay because he's part black. Justice never was a part of politics, just a bothersome nuisance.


Von Taylor said...

This is a very over-looked point which you bring up, but at the same time, Barack has come under criticism from the black community for his citing absentee fathers as a major issue among blacks. Rev. Jessie Jackson went off on him on a recording which he later apologized like crazy for when it reached the surface. While I support Barack's ideals and his ability to lead this country more so than I do McCain's, I have been disappointed to see him resort to similar political double-talk and maneuvering as every other politician I have encountered. Given, words and statements can be construed almost any way to suit one's purpose, I'm still disconcerted to see such flagrant wordplay in use to win political battles. What it comes down to though, is simply that it works.. Whose fault is it - the elected, or the electors? We get what we pay for due to our ignorance and apathy towards politics. Perhaps we'd be better off actually being informed on the issues, and actually researching candidates instead of relying on the opinions of acquaintances, family, friends or what political affiliation we've been born into by family, religion or demographic-

Michael Powers said...

Yes, I was aware of Rev. Jackson's comments, but of course his are the exception. I don't think he or Obama get along particularly well, and he gives Obama reluctant support. Part of that may be due to his failed bids at the Presidency. Either way, I'm happy to put a very under-discussed point out there.

I, however, will most likely not vote for Barack. His ideas are very left of center and call for more expansion of government and government controls. He paints himself as a middle candidate because he needs the votes, but the truth is, he is farther left than most (and has the most liberal voting record in the Senate). But, that doesn't mean that I am a McCain fan. I think McCain has some good ideas, and in my view, has a better shot of winning even though people are writing him off. He also strikes me as someone with far more foreign policy experience, and that is critical nowadays. Interestingly enough, what bothers me and attracts me to McCain is his ability to find middle ground and reach across the aisle. Compromise is never win-win, but he does a decent job of it.

Anonymous said...

I am so glad that I was not the only one offended by Barack's comments about his white grandmother. In that speech he chose to throw her under the bus instead of Revered Wright. Unbelievable. What is even more unbelievable is that in his newest political ad (which tries to paint him as a family oriented man) he shows a shot with him and his white grandparents. I am sure that they are rolling in their graves.
These double standards that you refer to, along with affirmitive action only create resentment in the white community rather than relieve it. If these types of double standards are to presist the race issue will never truly be over.

Anonymous said...

A lot of right-wing talking points here (for instance, only in Provo could someone think being described as a 'typical white person' constitutes racism; that whole slavery thing matters, you know), but to brush away a bit of the thick layers of BS here, Obama's point was that in the Sixties, many white people who were good and decent and whom he loved, like his grandmother, also held racist opinions. To describe this as somehow equivalent to Strom Thurmond (which party hosted him again?) is simply daft.

Moreover, racism really _has_, and will, be used to attack Obama. See Fox News' description of Mrs. Obama as his "baby momma"; surely no racism there, right? Or what percentage of voters in WV, KY, and elsewhere, admitted to pollsters they would never vote for a black man? No racism there either, eh, Monsieur Powers? What manner of casuistry will you use to explain this away?

You're right though -- if wishing death upon innocent civillians, whether through bombs or cigarettes, counts as foreign policy experience, John McCain certainly has more. For which we should pray for deliverance.

Michael Powers said...

Of course I'm fairly certain I know who Mr. Adams is, and so his candor and response do not surprise me.

In response I must say, of course slavery happened. No one denies that. But none...and I mean NONE of Obama's ancestors were American slaves. His father is Kenyan, not African-American. That is an important point you have failed to notice.

And in response to you believing that 'typical white person' is not racist, yet 'typical black person' is, I think you may have fell upon some hypocrisy. In the world there are far more people of Asian, African and Hispanic descent than there are of European descent. And guess what? That makes us the world's REAL minority. However, by some grace of God we have managed to become industrious and prosperous in most of the western world (and I know full well that you'll bring up the Crusades, the inquisition, and horrible conquering and death brought upon the world by the west). However, we are westerners, like it or not.

Those of all nationalities and races consider themselves westernized, and we welcome them. And it is not a bad way to live. It is the only culture that allows itself, and is even founded upon the pretext that it can and should criticize and restructure itself and its world view. It is the only culture that allows for people to think they can strive for multiculturalism without being tainted by innate biases. It is western culture that allows us to be tolerant.

Now I can put up with being called a 'typical white person,' but I still recognize it as racist. However, if we say 'typical black person' it is just as racist, but not so easily taken.

These talking points have little to do with being right of center by the way, but show evidence of coming from commonly educated liberal westerners from all over. Not just Provo. And I do not claim Provo as my homeland anyway. I was born in California and raised in Boston and DC.

Another thing you may have noticed is that my argument did not delve into personal attacks. Those are folly. I'm sticking with the cerebral logic that appeals to most people.

Michael Powers said...

Oh, and your trite and non-descript characterization of McCain's foreign experience doesn't lead me to believe he is any less qualified. On the contrary, your adamant belief that he is a war-mongerer leads me to believe his stance is far more moderate than that, knowing your position.

What I do know about McCain is that he understands the big picture, and that we should not shirk from our responsibilities at the least sign of instability. We caused the mess there in Iraq and in Afganistan, and we sure as hell better fix it and not back out, doing a half-assed job. And if we got some well-patterned, qualitiy diplomacy to help the political side we'd do a whole lot better.

And with that you might say Barack is a much better diplomat...except that he has flopped from unconditional Presidential visits to Iran, North Korea, and Cuba, to having some sort of conditions. The reason he flopped? Because the press, McCain, and most people thought that giving that high level diplomacy for nothing was folly. And it still is. The Iranians are months away from nukes. We cannot expect them to cow tow with an unconditional presidential visit. Come on now.

Von Taylor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Von Taylor said...

Well said Mr. Powers, Bravo! What a wonderful way of raising yourself to a higher pedestal through emphasizing personal attacks against you and exclaiming moral superiority for not stooping to such levels, only to surreptitiously do so in your very next unsolicited post - Bravissimo! Have you ever considered politics?

forgive the deletion of the previous post - my comments were excessively crass...

Michael Powers said...

I did not claim moral superiority. And I don't think the points I made were bad. But I'm glad that we've a had a rather full discussion.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Powers is right; I've been watching too much Prime Minister's Questions on the Internet, and the style of British politics has seeped into my brain, and it's a bit more rough and tumble than American; for any offense caused, apologies.

What I meant by the Provo remark is that, just as Berkeley, Ann Arbor or Cambridge are rightly thought of as far to the left of the American mainstream, so is Provo -- or Sugarland, TX, or Orange Co., CA -- far to the right. I think it's fair to say that the author of this blog, whose thoughts I always enjoy reading and sparring with, is fairly to the right of the American center. That is all I meant.

As far as John McCain's foreign policy goes, it's distinguished primarily by being more neocon than the neocons. Moreover, Iran, according to our own intelligence, is still several years away from a bomb. Any war with Iran would be foolish if not criminally reckless, and our troops in Iraq would quickly turn into hostages to the enraged Shiite population of Iraq. It would be our Dien Bien Phu. On the larger issue of the bomb in the greater Mid-East, I think that a nuclear free zone in the whole region, including Israel, is extremely desirable.

And w/ regard to race, what I meant is not that Obama is himself the descendant of slaves, but rhater that the legacy of three hundred plus years of chattel slavery, followed by a century of debt peonage, has indelibly colored racial understanding in this country; the herrenvolk democracy of the Jim Crow era is still within living memory, for instance. So calling a white person "typical" I don't find particularly meaningful in this context.

Finally, if I say an idea is daft, it does not mean that I think the holder of it so. And yes, Powers would be good in politics -- now if he'd only see the light and vote Labour or for the Democrats....

Michael Powers said...

Haha. We'll see. I doubt I'll be entirely happy with my options until the Libertarian party gains more prowess and the two party system stops being so over-archingly shoddy. The reality is, neither party adheres to what I believe is first and foremost: constitutionalism and western liberalism. But I pick whichever draws closer to that.

squirrelyearl said...

Interesting post, more interesting conversation. I think the crux of the post and really what the ensuing discussion is (or maybe more accurately, should be) about is the appropriateness of Obama's comment. Frankly, I think it's accurate to say, irrespective of Obama's "intentions", it's not an appropriate comment to refer to his grandmother in such a way. Not because of the fact that it's his grandmother (of course it seems like she deserves a little more respect from him because of that), but because it's not appropriate for candidates to be speaking in such general terms, especially about something such as race. I'm not foolish enough to pretend race isn't part of the human identity, but then again I do believe, like is often eschewed by those who try to look past the limitations of race, that it does not have to define us. Race is impossible to completely ignore, but we certainly can learn to not make it divisive and, frankly, it seems like that's all Obama's comments did was pertpetuate an "us versus them" mentality.

Anonymous said...

I'd really disagree that it perpetuated an "us" vs. "them" attitude; if anhything, by aknowledging the resentments of the white working class, Obama went beyond the current paradigm.

As far as his grandmother went, two thoughts: first, it's simply undeniable that most of our grandparents, and great-grandparents and so forth, were racists; it's simply part of the fabric of our history. Secondly, it's weird for me that suddenly Republicans have become so solicitous for the honor and delicacy of Democratic candidates' family members; that certainly wasn't the case with Teresa Heinz Kerry, or Chelsea Clinton (John McCain made the following joke in 1998, publicly, when Chelsea was 17: "Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly? Because her father's Janet Reno." Stay classy, John!)

But I guess we just fundamentally disagree about the speech. I also think this has been a good conversation, and look forward to more.