A proposal for a compromise on race
by marcotom, Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 03:07:56 PM EDT
There has been a lot of talk about the racism, the race card, racism accusations and while some Obama supporters blame the Clintons for injecting race, some Clinton supporters blame Obama for the same thing. I suggest that we all take a big step back and try to get the big picture again.
The compromise is very simple and goes as follows:
We give both Democratic candidates and their campaigns the benefit of the doubt.
1) We give the Clinton campaign the benefit of the doubt concerning Shaheen and Penn - reminding us of the cliche that young Blacks deal drugs and that Obama did cocaine was not helpful and quite disturbing. Actually, I have a hard time giving Mark Penn the benefit of the doubt, but let's say that there wasn't a campaign strategy by the Clintons to use these stereotypes against Obama. The Clintons would not support such a strategy, they know better.
2) MLK/LBJ was an ill-advised remark, for obvious reasons. That is by the way the word Obama used, ill-advised, and I think he is right. But there is no reason to believe that this had anything to do with Hillary Clinton not appreciating MLK, and certainly it had nothing to do with MLK's blackness.
3) JJJr's tears moment. Indefensible. He should not talk in public when he is angry and disappointed, obviously he says stupid things if he does it anyway. To conclude that there is a campaign strategy behind this, however, would by unfair, since we have already given the Clinton campaign the benefit of the doubt at least twice.
4) Bill Clinton after SC. This guy was one of the best politicians earlier in his life but he has lost touch. Good politicians know what to say and what not to say, even when they are angry and tired. He should have known better. He could have taken Edwards as an example or just congratulate Obama to his win. But... he is no racist and I don't think he meant ill. He just made a stupid mistake.
5) Ferraro. Now here, even if she is certainly not a racist, her statement could be called such, at least when taken out of context. That is simply not something you say. I also consider it sexist to say that Hillary only got there because of Bill or because she is a women. It's degrading and shows a lack of respect. However, Ferraro is not Clinton. The Clinton's had nothing to do with this and they reacted accordingly, although a little late.
Now that we have gone through the history of race in this primary (did I miss something important?), let me make one thing clear:
Neither campaign is interested in making racism or sexism a big topic. They can only lose by doing that. That's certainly true for Obama, whose coalition of Blacks and progressive Whites does not split along color lines. And the Clintons have a legacy to lose, they have no reason to go there.
As an Obama supporter, I would ask specifically for the following: Some of you regularly accuse Obama of playing the race card, however, nobody has ever been able to point out a specific incident where he did just that. In fact, whenever I saw him speak about race, he did that in very conciliatory terms. If we give his campaign the same degree of "benefit of the doubt"edness , that we give to the Clinton campaign, it is also easy to discard the few scattered incidents where people from his campaign went to far on this issue. The candidate supporters of Clinton and Obama on the web obviously went to far in many instances, but that is to be expected. That does not reflect on the candidates and if it did, it would go both ways.
Maybe we should all tone this down a little.