Tuesday, October 28, 2008

White Power

Is race an issue in the upcoming American Presidential election? You bet. It was clear to anyone who watched the two America's which appeared this summer at the Democratic and Republican conventions. While the media and pundits have focused on VP Pallin's success in appealing to the Republican base, that base is white. The sea of white faces during the republican convention was overwhelming. And it sends a message; Republican America is old rich white people. The amount of Afro-America, Latino, or Asian American faces in the crowds can be counted on one hand. Indeed during a recent McCain rally, the only African Americans present were his Secret Service detail.

A sea of white faces grey and blue rinse hair stared out at us from the floor of the Convention. Since then the sea of white faces that surrounds McCain and Pallin at rallies, may not be the core of the rich upper class white Republican party, but it is white none the less.

The messaging that Obama does not understand small town America, those who love their guns and bibles is aimed at this white base.

The result is that McCain and Pallin are addressing themselves to the issue of race, they speak for White America.

The Democratic convention by contrast was the real America, multiracial, young and old, women, men, gays and lesbians, latinos, blacks, asians, and yes even the forgotten Americans; those of the First Nations. Blue collar workers, students, professionals, and yes rich lawyers. But the overwhelming nature of the crowds that gather at Obama rallies, whether vote for him or not, is by contrast with the McCain crowd, the real America, a demographic diverse crowd.

In order to make himself appear popular amoung youth McCain and his handlers have been lining up young people behind him on the stage, many who are clearly not of voting age.

McCain and Pallins campaign to appeal to White America has resulted in the predicatable; White supremacist 'plot' to kill Barack Obama: A history of hatred

By claiming by inference that Obama is not American, not white, a terrorist sympathizer, a socialist and a Marxist, all the key words used by StormFront and other radical right wing conspiracy types to justify their hatred of America's diversity. McCain and Pallin launched their Nativist attack on Obama at the Republican Convention and the result has been to shore up their racist base and to appeal to those on the fringe of America who brought us Ruby Ridge and the Oklahoma Bombing.

I note that not one media pundit has pointed out that the Republican convention and the McCain rallies are overwhelimngly white. They are in fact White Power rallies.

While discussing supposeded white working class anathema to Obama, and the issue of race, these same pundits both liberal and conservative refer obliquely to 'ethnic' America. Now we in Canada would use that term differently, it would refer to our multicultural heritage. In American Speak it refers to white Americans an in particular those whose politics are reflective of American Nativism.

Will white Americans vote for Obama, of course, overwhelmingly. That is not the real question the pundits are asking, rather will white Nativist/racist Americans vote for Obama? And the anwser is they have their own party and candidate; the Republican Party and John McCain.

And with the recent attacks on Obama and the this latest assassination plot, Black America's very real fear is that once again a Black leader will be assasinated before he gains power, or in the immediate aftermath of his election. American history of the long march for Civil Rights proves this fear is valid.

The Republican campaign which has focused on the politics of fear makes this a very real possibility. While the apologists will say that the Neo-Nazi's are a fringe element, they are very much part of the base of the Republican Party that Pallin in particular appeals to.

McCain has spent weeks overtly linking Obama to "terrorists" and "Palestinian donors" and posing the sinister question: "Who is the real Barack Obama"? Right this very minute, the McCain/Palin campaign is running massive robocalls in numerous battleground states, including North Carolina, alleging that Obama "has worked closely with domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, whose organization bombed the U.S. Capitol, the Pentagon, a judge's home, and killed Americans" and, if elected, "will enact an extreme leftist agenda." Last night on national television, McCain vehemently defended Sarah Palin's repellent and patently false accusation that Obama "is pallin' around with terrorists."

But the McCain brand in recent weeks has taken a beating. In reaching out to that still-restive conservative base, McCain, a gambler partial to craps, in late August put his own history on the line. A survivor of several bouts of dangerous skin cancer, he picked an untested and, critics say, largely unqualified running mate in Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, whom he barely knew. And he launched a negative campaign against Democratic Sen. Barack Obama that has unleashed outbursts of nativism and racism at his rallies that have appeared at times to even startle the nominee. The Palin gambit initially worked in hard-fought states like Florida. "When he named her and settled on the theme that they would be the ticket for change, he really altered the campaign's dynamic and momentum here," says Aubrey Jewett, a University of Central Florida political science professor. "But days later, the economic crisis overshadowed everything."
Even some of McCain's most ardent supporters say they have been stunned by the campaign's singular, provocative focus on painting Obama as "dangerous" and a "pal" of terrorists because he served on an education reform board in the 1990s with 1960s-era antiwar extremist William Ayers, now an education professor in Chicago. "The campaign is heavy into character assassination," says a longtime McCain admirer who, like many, believed that McCain, with his maverick flashes and his appeal to independents, was the only Republican who could win this year after two terms of an unpopular GOP president. "I don't know what the hell is going on."

Sarah Palin has stopped being a joke and is becoming a danger in this troubled democracy of ours. Her job has been to excite the hard-core right-wing base (which McCain could never do) and she is doing it with a strident, demagogic amalgam of nativism and McCarthyism.
She is generating us-against-them warfare, pitting small-town America against the cities. Seems odd at first blush, since there are more votes in the cities—until you recognize that the big difference between her kind of small town and the wicked cities has everything to do with diversity of population.
The cities are filled with others. The cities are filled with “them.” The cities are filled with people like “that one.”
In Palin’s small-town universe—limited to only certain parts of the country—people are pro-America. The others…well, that’s where people pal around with terrorists, don’tcha know. That’s why her audiences are inspired to call for Obama’s execution. Hey—how about “lynch”? We haven’t heard that in a while.
She is the worst demagogue I have ever seen on a major party ticket—including Richard Nixon at his lowest.
Palin is not alone in this drive. Last week we saw U.S. Rep. Michelle Bachmann of Minnesota update Joe McCarthy, proclaiming that “leftists” such as Sen. Harry Reid and Speaker Nancy Pelosi—to say nothing of Obama himself—were not really pro-America. Fact is she wants the media to investigate and expose all Democrats because they are likely against America.
It takes a lot to make my jaw drop, but this return to Red Scare days sure unhinged my mandible.
It is interesting to see that two women are in the vanguard of this new-found America-First-ism. But then, John McCain’s own brother pointed out that northern Virginia—the D.C. suburbs—is communist territory. Not like the real Virginia, where the founding fathers kept slaves on their plantations. Hey—only kidding folks.
These are not just retro weirdos on a soapbox in Bughouse Square. This is the vice presidential candidate of the Republican Party and governor of one of our 50 states. This is a sitting congresswoman from the upper Midwest.
Their words come as we stand at the brink of a major recession—the kind of economic environment that produced native fascists such as Father Coughlin and Huey Long. These are dangerous times for dangerous words—and win or lose we have not heard the end of them from Sarah Palin and her cohort.


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