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and now

an interesting commentary on the sexist and racist remarks that have risen during the democratic run for candidacy comes from Dave at Orcinus. scroll down a bit to "How right-wing crap polluted Democrats' political waters"; it's a take on the primaries' continued recriminations, a take that I think might be challenging to think about but quite pertinent to the rest of the presidential campaign. Basically, he's saying that Democrats pull their racist or sexist rhetoric out of the mouths of Limbaughs and Buchanans.

to the degree that it may well be true, I think it could be a good place to start in unifying the democratic party. on the other hand, I suspect that although the words may have come from another camp, the racism/sexism is still endemic. but it, too, comes from outside. just.. it gets internalized and then it's not "outside" anymore but an actual part of the speaker. why else would anyone think it was ok to act in such ways? why not reject the tactics out of hand?

but I think it bears some thought about just where the received wisdom that H. Clinton is a shrill harpie or that B. Obama can't appeal to white working-class voters may have been received from in these cases. purifying oneself of outside influence is impossible, but recognizing it can be a valuable tool in analyzing its ethical and practical value, and perhaps maybe exercising some better judgment about when to let it be and when to try to excise it.

and with that I go to bed and try to decide whether to get up at 5 and hike to amtrak or 6 and take a cab..


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 7th, 2008 10:20 am (UTC)
Speaking for myself, and my discussions with say, my roommate B. and some others regarding Obama and the "white working class voter", I saw the issue not as one of race per se, but of class and communication. Meaning, that the problem that Obama apparently had with many working class white voters, and Hispanic working class voters for that matter, had less to do with the fact that he was black, and more to do with the fact that he was perceived as aloof, or as dismissive of them, or as somehow not connecting to their concerns. He had not issue connecting with white academics, or white liberal upper middle class voters -- he was their candidate of choice. Of course, there were areas of the country where Clinton won these voters as well, but generally, the demographics were the same throughout the race and Obama had a real issue connecting with the white working class, hispanics, and many white women (also Asians). Ironically, he was not perceived to be in sync somehow with these people, and again, perceived as a candidate with unknown intentions who could not be entirely trusted based on his experience. Again, I never thought this was race, but other factors.

As for the sexism, yes -- I think it came into play, but I also think there was a strong anti-Clinton factor, as in anti-the Clintons as political players in the Democratic party. Also, there was just a lot of excitement around Obama in certain places, including the mainstream media and -- Hillary was old news -- Obama was in and new. Obama mesmerized the "creative class" and the hipster white yuppies and of course, African Americans (generally). I can't say I blame African Americans, if there was an American Indian running for President who was so charismatic and who had a good chance, I might also vote for him or her -- it would be very compelling based on that alone.

It was an interesting race and it will be interesting to see how it plays out from here.
Jun. 7th, 2008 11:49 am (UTC)
I think that forcing racism and sexism into categories associated with political parties is dumb.

People like to neatly associate traits that they like with political organizations that they like and ones that they dislike with organizations that they dislike.

This does a disservice to the notion that the political field can be divided into policies and politicians.

Politicians should always be treated with skepticism. Policy can be objectively viewed, but politicians like to color its outcome with their own biases. Even good policy has flaws that can either be repaired or used to discredit the complete the whole policy.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


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