The Ugly Americans

The polls have been pretty darn blue lately. And the projections are also favorable.

And you know what else is blue? Me. Because I’m seeing sides of people I could have gone a long time without seeing.

Whether it’s the bullshit e-mails or just hearing someone say they won’t vote for Obama because, “I’m a prejudiced man. I’m not gonna vote for a n*****,” which someone told me directly yesterday after asking who I was voting for, it’s depressing. I’m trying to figure out why this is depressing me more than the Swift Boating against Kerry.

Part of it is probably that it’s considerably more hateful. And it’s considerably more hateful because the crazy fundie wing of the GOP knows it’s backed into a corner, and they’re scared and trying to fight their way out using this. And they fight by talking about Obama being un-American or secretly Muslim. Or oh, black!

And Kerry, if I remember right, was derided as a wussy windsurfer who changed his mind way too much and wasn’t really a war hero. I’m struggling to put this into words, but with Obama it seems much deeper and intense, because he’s being derided for who he is rather than things he does. Obama was born to a black dad and white mom. Can’t help that much, right? Neither can he help the name he got. But to a lot of people, these two basic facts-his birth and his name- signal something sinister, signal some “other” that must be defeated because it must be evil, right? They’ve turned the phrase “Barack Hussein Obama” into something that feels almost as hateful as the n-word.

Because of that, it’s like everything is cause to believe he’s a secret Muslim terrorist. He served on a board with Ayers (and Republicans)? He hates America! To a point, all political campaigns work to make everything their opponent does fit into a certain narrative. But this feels like one of the ugliest narratives we’ve seen in a while. I don’t think all Republicans are doing this by any means. But too many are, because they seem terrified of an Obama presidency. Terrified of the other.

For Bill Clinton, the narrative was “can’t keep it in his pants.” For Kerry, it was “flip-flopper!” But we didn’t enslave indecisive people (good thing, cause I’d have been screwed). We enslaved black people. I don’t think these people want to enslave based on skin color anymore. But they do seem to want to keep people out of office based on skin color. And damn, that’s just sad.

Anybody else notice any of this, or have I just not been around long enough to know this is standard operating procedure for some?

I need a nap that lasts until Nov. 4. Anyone else? If you can’t sleep, go check out more Mike Luckovich, above. He’s a really great cartoonist.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “The Ugly Americans

  1. That’s the worst thing of all about this whole campaign. Because the thing is, “Muslim” and “Terrorist” are code for “Black” (I won’t use the word many of these people would actually use). And it’s pathetic and sickening that the Republicans not only allow this to happen, but they encourage it. It’s 2008, people!

  2. I feel like there are two equally repulsive sets at work here: the set that are racist and won’t vote for him b/c he is black and the set that truly think b/c he has dark skin and has the middle name “Hussein” that he is a terrorist and Muslim and won’t vote for him b/c they think he’ll “let the terrorists get us.”

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