Monday, October 20, 2008

A National Conversation About Race

Tell me again why anyone thinks it would be a good idea to embark on a national conversation about race. The NYT turned over that stone last week and I yelped as though I'd seen a cockamouse. NYMag has done it; Time has done it. And, of course, there's that widely circulating story: a volunteer approaches a house in a swing state and asks the woman at the door for whom she's voting. Her husband answers from within the house, "We're voting for the nigger!" "We're voting for the nigger," she repeats politely.

Today this "conversation," or "horror show," continues. On Sunday, Colin Powell gave a stirring, pointed denouncement of John McCain's campaign and endorsed Barack Obama as a "transformational figure." Democrats high-fived and Republicans signaled the bartender for another round. And then it turned ugly.

The charming cartoonist who depicted our former Secretary of State as a black Benedict Arnold also said the following:
"The only reasonable explanation for such a public political "about-face" in the midst of this important election is that Colin Powell, perhaps understandably, wishes to see someone who looks like himself in the White House.

"It's my opinion that General Powell has based his endorsement of Barack Obama on the color of his skin, not his qualifications, his experience or the content of his character."
Neither is he the only one to jump to that particular conclusion. Rush Limbaugh expressed his disappointment in similar terms:
"Secretary Powell says his endorsement is not about race. OK, fine. I am now researching his past endorsements to see if I can find all the inexperienced, very liberal, white candidates he has endorsed. I'll let you know what I come up with.

"I was also unaware of his dislike for John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy and Antonin Scalia. I guess he also regrets Reagan and Bush making him a four-star and secretary of state and appointing his son to head the FCC. Yes, let's hear it for transformational figures."
Wonkette also published highlights from the wingnut response, including the following:
-- I’m not surprised that Powell has endorsed a Chicago street thug over a real American hero either. “How ‘bout some ‘blow’ General? Then we’ll go help ACORN register some more ‘voters’.”
-- This is why you don’t let traitors in your midst. They are capable of doing far more harm than good.
-- Clown Powell showed us his true colors with his endorsement of this communist weasel. He just spit in the face of the military he supposedly cares about.
-- Oh please….he’s black and he is endorsing one of his brothers…just too obvious. It’s not hard for the everyday American to understand.
-- Planet of the APes mentality..”Monkey supports monkey”..
All this despite the fact that Powell contributed the maximum allowable, $2,300, to McCain's campaign last year and only recently came around to Obama.

Colin Powell worked so hard for so long to transcend his skin color and be seen as a person. By and large, he succeeded: if he wanted, he could probably have been our first black president. At the end of an illustrious career, he's been reduced to just another brother. And you know how brothers get treated, especially when they try to vote.


nathan said...

15 more days. That seems waaaaay too long for this. Like telling somebody: just listen to this screeching siren in your ear for only 15 more days.

ester said...

WAY TOO LONG. i was reading a blog where someone complained about the whirlwind cleaning she was doing to get her house ready to try to sell it, and i had a moment of jealousy because all that stress must be really good distraction from all of this.