Joshua Davis Photography

Icon

The Pile: Thoughts, Life, and Photography of Joshua Davis

The Isms are Still Alive

Hillary Clinton, Baracm Obama, Bill Richardson, Mitty Romney, John McCain, and Rudy Giulani all broke barriers for their various ethnic, gender, race and religious groups.

This primary saw so many records broken. We had a woman run the longest and most successful primary campaign ever. We had a man who would be the oldest president if he wins. We had an African American take the nomination. We had a Latino run, and be viewed as a somewhat serious threat, and seen as a serious contender for vice president. Then there was an Italian who had a front runner campaign for many months, and we can’t forget that a Mormon ran too.

The primary season was a wonderful example of the diversity of America and a reminder that who you are doesn’t have to define what you will be. But it also was a reminder that isms (chauvinism, racism, religionism, ageism…) are still a problem in America. From the media, to political campaigns, to individuals, this hatred has reared it’s ugly head. But the times when identity became a part of politics, equal opportunity discrimination resulted.

Probably most notable in terms of media sanctioned sexism was Chris Mathews, who has also made many comments indicating his support for Barack Obama, at one time saying Obama made his “thighs tingle.” He made offensive comments about Hillary saying “The reason she’s a U.S. Senator, the reason she’s a candidate for president, the reason she may be a front runner, is that her husband messed around. […] She didn’t win it on the merits.” Then of course there is the frequent use of the word bitch to describe Hillary. We heard McCain chuckling and saying “How do we beat the bitch” was an excellent question. And then of course everyone refers to Hillary, as Hillary, highlighting her gender in a way that last names don’t.

Even though there was only one candidate with a groundbreaking religion running in the 2008 primaries, Mitt Romney, three religions still came under fire. There was a county chairman working for John McCain that blasted Romney’s religion according to the Boston Globe, “[He] questioned whether Mormons were Christians, discussed an article alleging that the Mormon Church helps fund Hamas, and likened the Mormons’ treatment of women to the Taliban’s.”

Then came attacks on Obama’s religion. Conservatives maintained that he was a secret Muslim who wanted to impose Sharia law, while those same people attacked him for being to closely attached to the black church. Then came comments from a Clinton adviser saying Obama was only good for being your “Imaginary hip black friend.” And then there where those who feel Obama’s win was an exercise in affirmative action. Geraldine Ferraro, Rush Limbaugh and others have made statements that “Obama was only winning because he was a black male.” For comparison there’s one black in the US Senate, versus the 16 white woman, prior to 2004 there was only one black, who was a female.

My point in bringing these controversies up is not to reinforce hard feelings. It’s to show that every candidate faced discrimination on the campaign trail. Being an Obama supporter I can easily say, “These race attacks on Obama where more unfair.” But since I’ve never been a woman or Hillary supporter I don’t really know how her supporters felt about the attacks. And whatever those feelings are, they’re certainly legitimate.

If Obama’s pollsters and advisers come back and tell him they need Hillary on the ticket, then those (including me) offended by her comments will need to get over them, so we can fully support the entire ticket. In identity based politics this can be hard because the attacks feel like an attack on your group. But liberals must remember the interests of women and blacks will be further eroded over the next four years if the Republicans and John McCain win, because they are still anti abortion, anti affirmative action, and want to place justices on the Supreme Court that rescind and limit rulings like Roe v. Wade, and Brown v. Board of Education.

Filed under: '08 Election, American Politics, barack obama, , , , , , , ,

Hillary Uses More Race Baiting

Hillary Clinton campaigning in West Virginia on Wednesday.Hillary has defined herself as the white candidate today, telling USA Today that “I have a much broader base to build a winning coalition on, [the AP] found how Senator Obama’s support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans, is weakening again, and how whites in both states who had not completed college were supporting me… There’s a pattern emerging here. Hillary must feel pretty desperate when she has to specifically single out white voters as the hard working ones.

The Clinton’s previous comments on race where regrettable, and told black voters the Clinton’s where willing to use race baiting as their strategy. The strategy may have been offensive, but these comments are on a whole new level with Hillary implying that white voters are the only hard working voters.

Despite all her arguments that she can carry working class, rural, and Hispanic (she usually excludes blacks) voters, she needs the black vote to win in the Fall. If this group stays home or votes for an alternate candidate she will not win.

Blacks are not voting for Obama because he is black. Blacks are voting en masse for Obama because Hillary’s race baiting has driven them away. When the primaries started many African Americans where sketpical a black could win, or worried for Obama’s safety, or just felt Hillary was more likely to win in the fall. After nearly each contest more blacks vote for Obama because Hillary offends them in her attempt to court the racist vote.

It’s Hillary’s fault this primary season has turned into game a of race and gender. If she wasn’t so desperate to get back in the White House she wouldn’t have to pull tricks like this to win. If she had played less like a Republican, and more like a Democrat, maybe she’d be looking at being a vice president. But now she has shot her chance for a November win, and probably any primary wins in the future.

Hillary can try to pull in the “Regan Democrats,” but this will never work for Democrats like it did for Republicans, because they would loose their key group of civil rights advocates and blacks.

Filed under: '08 Election, American Politics, Black Matters, Politics, , ,