Friday, September 5, 2008

Attn: People of Color...

In case you missed it in today's Washington Post, I just wanted to let you all know, if you are a person of color in this country, the Republican party isn't interested in your vote. Don't believe me?

And I quote...
One week after Democrats nominated the nation's first black presidential candidate on the eve of the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech, Republicans have only one African American -- [former lieutenant governor of Maryland Michael] Steele -- scheduled to speak during prime time at their convention. The united, diverse coalition that Republicans once envisioned instead looks uniform.

The good news, Republicans said, is that they think Sen. John McCain can still win this election with the kind of demographics on display in St. Paul. In an interview with Washington Post reporters and editors Tuesday morning, McCain campaign manager Rick Davis outlined a strategy in which his candidate targets women and white working-class voters and essentially cedes the black vote.
Did you catch that last sentence? Let me repeat for you, in case it went by you in a blur.

"...McCain campaign manager Rick Davis outlined a strategy in which his candidate targets women and white working-class voters and essentially cedes the black vote."

That's Washington-speak "for people of color--especially blacks--don't count and we're not going to make an effort to hear their voices or win their votes. They are nothing to us."

This is "good news"?! Really? The Post is irresponsible in labeling it thusly. What they should have written was, "The unfortunate news..." or "The scary news..." or "The unenlightened thinking is..." or "In a fit of laziness..."

Here's the rest of the article, if you want to read it.


One thing that overwhelmingly struck me last night during Sarah Palin's nomination speech was exactly what the Washington Post reported today: the lack of diversity in the convention hall in Minnesota. During her entire speech, the cameras kept panning to the same black, Hispanic, and Asian delegates over and over. And why?

Not because they were necessarily photogenic, but because they were the only ones in the hall!

Out of all of the convention speakers at the RNC this week, only one was black (the aforementioned Michael Steele.) Out of 2,380 delegates, only 36 are black. That's not even 2% of the delegates. Two percent!

As badly as the Republican Party wants us to believe they are the party of Lincoln (and historically, they are, so you can't argue that, but philosophically they are so far off, if they had a product nutritional label, it would be a pack of lies) and representative of the American landscape, they are failing miserably.

The fact of the matter is, Rick Davis spoke more truth than he realizes: the Republican Party doesn't care and isn't going to make an effort to make every voice heard. Working to win over minorities isn't a priority for them. They're failing at it and, rather than retrenching and figuring out how to appeal to people of color beyond whatever little there is that currently appeals to blacks, Hispanics, and Asians in the Grand Old Party, they are choosing to turn tail and overtly dismiss nearly 13% of potential voters.*

To me, that's appalling. Like its candidate, the GOP is OLD and outdated. Its time has come and its days should be numbered. We are a better nation than that. Shame on Rick Davis and his campaign strategy. Shame on him.


All I saw last night were pasty, pudgy white men and Stepford-ish women with the same haircuts cheering a woman they know little or nothing about.

And, while Palin certainly made her case for who she believes she is and who she wants us to believe she is, she failed to persuade.

If you want to read a detailed account of who Sarah Palin is, read this post, which is a cut-and-paste from the Washington Post's comments section earlier today.

Still think Sarah Palin is in the same league with Hillary and not a member of the old boy's network? As the poster pointed out, "the only things Sarah and Hillary have in common is their gender and their good looks."


If "the kind of demographics on display at the convention" are what's going to win McCain-Palin the White House, then count me out of this country. If I wanted that demographic, I'd move back to Utah.

I want to live in and participate in an America that embraces everyone. EVERYONE.

I want to live in and participate in an America that looks like what I saw in Denver a week ago.

I want to live in and participate in an America that never, ever thinks it's okay to "cede" of any group of people for expediency's sake.

I want to live in and participate in an America that is macroscopic, not myopic.

I want to live in and participate in an America that represents the best the world has to offer in all its colors.

The world McCain-Palin and the GOP offer us is a snowy, white blank.

No thanks.

* This percentage represents approximate population for African-Americans. Nearly 35% of the American population is comprised of blacks, Hispanics, and Asians combined. That number is expected to increase and, in some states, people of color currently outnumber whites already.


lacochran said...

Well put. I particularly liked the nutritional label line.

Even Michael Steele, interviewed yesterday on the radio, acknowledged that it was obvious that the party was not doing a good job of retaining members of color.

There is a snarky part of me that thinks that this "snowy, white" image of America--and 1940s America at that--is the image that the GOP is after.

Scary stuff.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure who you're referring to at 13%? People of colour are far more than that as a percentage of the US population. If you mean only African-Americans, that's about right.

Of course, we are very few years away from Caucasians being the minority in the US -- growth in Asian and Hispanic populations will mostly account for this, but people of colour will be the majority of Americans not very long from now.

Besides just the blatant ick factor in the Repulicans' thinly veiled racism, how very short-sighted of them to forgo any kind of future planning or bridge-building, instead choosing short-term expedience and exclusive political "strategy." Though I refuse on principle to call something so tactical and short-sighted a "strategy." Seems like Republicans are taking all their cues from their corporate beloveds now -- short-term results are all that matter.

And after their eight effing GD years in the White House and the royal effing mess they've made? I can't believe the things they can claim with a straight face. Especially their whole "oppressed" persecution complex thing, where the "elites" and the "liberal media" are all picking on them. Because I guess McCain's multi-millions and royal armed forces legacy status don't make him an elite? But the biracial son of a single parent who self-made a success of himself and went to the Ivy League? *HE* is the "elite" in this scenario?!?

I effing hate the GD republicans and their bullshit rhetoric and I'm so done with it. At least I don't have to make any wild promises about moving to another country if McCain wins...


- Di

J.M. Tewkesbury said...

Lacochran: I'm afraid that's what the GOP is after, too.

Di: I should have clarified that. Yes, the 13% I'm referring to is just the black population in the U.S. The racial/ethnic diversity in America is closer to 35% of the population, I think. In some states, like California, people of color make up 52% of the population.

I've also been gobsmacked at how straight-faced the Republicans have been regarding the mess they've made and the attacks they claim they've been subjected to by the "liberal media." Let's talk about the "conservative media", shall we, and all the damage they continue to do--starting with Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, and Anne Coulter.

As for elitism, I'll take Obama's brand of "elitism" any day over McCain's "I don't know how many houses I have but I'm a man of the people who puts his country first" elitism any day.

Spencer said...

Here's the thing - you can plan to only go after those folks that will help you win the election - but is that right? When you're President, you're President of all of the country, not just 2 or 3 demographics. In the past 8 years we've had an executive branch that has only governed to the vision of part of the country - I'm done with that.

As part of that 13%, I think any Black American that calls themselves a Republican should be ashamed - because it's not just about you and yours, it's about everyone.

For all the republican's talk about service, they have developed a policy and an approach that is isolationist. It started with isolating ourselves from our fellow citizens - it then moved to isolating ourselves from the rest of the world.

Enough is enough.

Adriana Velez said...

Seriously, he SAID THAT???

I heard on NPR all about how un-diverse the convention was -- fewer women as well. Yet also the wealthiest. Go figure.

Where's my pitchfork? Where's my torch? Why aren't we rioting in the streets? Oh never mind. I guess I'll just watch The Daily Show again.

Glad you liked the Great Whatsit post. I just read this in the Times:


Anonymous said...

What amazes me is how anyone can be amazed by any of this.

There is good news, though (no GEICO joke here).

The good news is that the Republicans are about to take a political beating. I think that there won't be enough "working class white people" that are going to buy into the I-deserve-to-be-president-because-I-was-a-POW-40-years-ago"

J.M. Tewkesbury said...

Spencer: You ask such an excellent question--you can plan to only go after those folks that will help you win the election - but is that right?

In my play book, it ISN'T right. If the Republicans are touting their motto "Country First" then that has to include everyone. Not just women and white-working class Americans. EVERYONE. But, as has been noted, the Republicans are lazy and morons.

Adriana: Yes, he did say that. And, in the article you included a link to (which I recommend to everyone. Thank you, A, for sharing it), Davis also says, "This election is not about issues. This election is about a composite view of what people take away from these candidates.” In other words, in Davis' strategy, this is a personality and beauty contest, not a contest of substance. Again, how stupid do the Republican think thinking Americans are? Of course this election is about issues, you fucktard! Sure, Obama is charismatic and that's a portion of his appeal, but it won't be why the majority of us will vote for him.

Gunny: I think you're right. I think the days of bandying about military service as a qualification for being president is long over. And now, I need to get myself signed up to help turn Virginia blue! By damn, I'd love to see Obama win the Commonwealth!

Anonymous said...

Di, you made my day :) I could never have said that better.

- Phoebe

Virginia said...

I just need to get this straight. I am a white female with no experience that qualifies me to be the VP of the free world. Sarah Palin is a white female with not much more experience ( except that she lives closer to Russia than I do). So they think I will vote for her just because she's a woman (white )???? What, are they nuts??? When she was chosen I got a good laugh over their stupidity. Now I am frankly scared to death.

J.M. Tewkesbury said...

Virginia: I had the same initial reaction you had: laughter. Now, I share similar sentiments of fear. It will be interesting to she how Palin handles her interview with Charlie Gibson later this week.

Scenic Wheaton said...

Regretfully, I think my father sums up the last 2 elections best: "Never underestimate the stupidity of the American public." Personally, I'm just hoping the Blue States get some sense and break off and join Canada.

J.M. Tewkesbury said...

Scenic: Regretfully, I fear your father is wiser than I care for. Perhaps the blue states should stage a secessionist movement. I'm sure Canada would welcome blue state contributions to their GDP.