“Respect” and other words

by Michael O. Allen on September 12, 2008

There’s this new political advertisement out from the McCain-Palin presidential campaign that again tries to stoke the anger of those Hillary Clinton supporters, you know, “white,” “working-class” and “women” voters still mad at Sen. Barack Obama about the alleged disrespectful treatment of Mrs. Clinton during the primaries.

In the McCain campaign’s calculation, Gov. Sarah Palin is interchangeable with Sen. Clinton and any criticism of Mrs. Palin is another slap at women.

ANNOUNCER: He was the world’s biggest celebrity, but his star’s fading.

So they lashed out at Sarah Palin.

Dismissed her as “good looking.”

That backfired, so they said she was doing, “what she was told.”

Then desperately called Sarah Palin a liar.

How disrespectful.

And how Governor Sarah Palin proves them wrong, every day.

JOHN MCCAIN: I’m John McCain and I approved this message.

This is a despicably racist political advertisement and here’s why:

The ad takes up the “uppity” angle because of the sensitivity of women, especially white women, to being criticized by black men.

But let’s put aside, for now, the historical clash between the struggles for the civil rights of women and people of color in this country and let us focus, instead, on the code words employed in this political advertisement.

The word “disrespectful” in this context is so loaded, especially when you consider our nation’s history and culture. In this ad, it is not just a man disrespecting a woman, or men disrespecting women.

It is a black man, Obama, disrespecting a white woman, Sarah Palin. And he has a history of doing this. Remember Hillary Clinton, the ad, without saying so (it doesn’t have to), reminds viewers. But Obama’s crime here, whether he was the one who said the actual words or not, is more egregious:

He dismissed Palin as “good looking.”

Noticing a white woman throughout the history of this nation got black men lynched and murdered.

The whole rationale for McCain’s candidacy in hinging on this: Don’t let this uppity black man violate our cherished White House.

I won’t ask how long Sen. McCain will continue putting his name to these disgusting, underhanded and shameful campaign advertisements. I have never labored under the illusion that McCain was an honorable man. This unscrupulous campaign is exactly who John McCain is, a corrupt, craven politicians who will use anything, including racist codes, to get elected.

McCain says he’ll stop this gutter politics only if Sen. Obama agrees to go on a barnstorming nationwide tour of town hall style debates with him. The “I’ll stop sliming you if you debate me” strategy? How do you define Chutzpah?

McCain does not want a debate. He is doing exactly what he wants. Obama should call his bluff and agree to appear on stage with him.

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