Friday, October 17, 2008

Vet Murtha Turns Cowardly; watermelon and ribs...and that's NOT racist?!?

So Diane Fedele, the president of the Chaffee Community Republican Women, Federated (California) sent out a newsletter that says if Barack Obama is elected, his likeness will appear on food stamps. And the "Obama bucks" illustration she provided has the Senator (whose face is on a donkey) surrounded by watermelon, ribs, the Kool-Aid man, and a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Now here's the funny part. When the controversy broke, Ms. Fedele said the following:

"I absolutely apologize to anyone who was offended. That clearly wasn't my attempt."

WHAT?!? Well then, Ms. Fedele, what precisely were you trying to say by using watermelon and a bucket of KFC?!?

A sincere apology comes from recognition of wrongdoing, contrition, and an implied, if not explicit, commitment to not repeat the same mistake. When this woman says that "wasn't her attempt," she disavows her own apology by trying to offer some backhand defense of herself.

Ms. Fedele adds insult to injury by saying she doesn't think in racial terms, and as evidence, she points out that she supported Alan Keyes. (And I bet her best friend is black, too!). Even Alan Keyes will tell you this illustration was racist.

I'm going to do something for John McCain and the Republican Party now that no opponent of Senator Obama would do. I'm NOT going to brand Senator McCain or the Republican Party and say that they are all a bunch of racists. I won't use the guilt-by-association that Republican operatives across this country are desperately using to bring down Senator Obama.

I will just ask you this question. If something this vile (which Ms. Fedele says she received herself in a chain e-mail) is put out in public by a previously respectable GOP organization, what makes anyone think racist sentiment does not exist in stronger expressions elsewhere in this country behind closed doors?

This gets me to Jack Murtha, the Democratic Pennsylvanian Congressman. Murtha said a few days ago "there's no question Western Pennsylvania is a racist area" and that Obama would lose 4% of the vote solely because of his race. When Murtha's opponent accused Murtha of calling his own constituents racists, Murtha did a 180 and issued the following milquetoast statement:

“While we cannot deny that race is a factor in this election, I believe we’ve been able to look beyond race these past few months, and that voters today are concerned with the policy differences of our two candidates and their vision for the future of our great country,” he said, in a statement issued by his office.

And at that moment, I lost all respect for Murtha because he knows his constituents better than anybody, just like Richard Trumka, who is also FROM Western Pennsylvania. Trumka heard the racism first-hand. (Mr. Trumka delivered a moving speech (linked above) that I hope you will give a listen).

As Mr. Trumka quotes from Edmund Burke, all that is necessary for evil to triumph is for enough good people to do nothing. How many of us have heard a racist comment or joke from a family member or friend, and we say nothing? Be honest with yourselves. How many of us use comments like "(S)he was just raised that way" as the rationalization for our silence.

I'm not saying attack your family and friends, but please educate them. If they respect you, you will have a bigger window of opportunity than any casual acquaintance or stranger who vilifies them. And this is how we'll continue to grow the person at a time.

It won't happen through a "national conversation" because even TALKING about race makes a lot of white people uncomfortable, as Senator Obama has learned. And therein lies the "race dilemma" for Obama. I am convinced that somebody from the Obama camp ordered Murtha to apologize because they knew Murtha's comments would be used for ill purposes.

And guess what? Good instinct. Rush Limbaugh today spent an hour talking about Murtha "calling YOU ALL racists."

Here's delicious irony that probably makes Limbaugh sleep like a baby at night. If someone suggests there are white voters won't scratch for Obama because of his race, Rush will summon faux outrage and generalize the criticism to everyone. In so doing, he secures and mobilized white voters who aren't too keen on black folk from the outset.

What a delicious "two-fer."



truthblogger said...

Good post Chris, and I agree wholeheartedly.

You can be racist and get a free pass, but don't you dare call someone out as being a racist.

The right loves to make under the radar racial comments under the guise of "what? can't we talk about real issues without this PC stuff?"

Then, when someone like Murtha makes a comment aht is based on real life knowledge, they claim some faux anger.

Even my 90 year old grandmother has issues with race, it's that generation. His district is mostly senior and even locals agree with him.

truthblogger said...

Let me follow up with, my lifelong Democrat Grandmother.