Friday, September 12, 2008

A pig is just a pig

What a week in the wearying Presidential race.

Apparently, the esteemed Senator McCain quoted the "lipstick on a pig" line whilst referencing Senator Hillary Clinton's healthcare reform efforts sometime earlier in the campaign.

Senator Obama used it to reference failed McCain/Bush policies. Barack Obama is a gifted invididual, bright, articulate and intelligent. He used the remark innocently. I am not going to speculate as to where he pulled the quote from, but he used it and has been apologizing profusely ever since.

A couple of years ago, my former boss, a mayor, was speaking at an anti-war rally and referenced the local chair of the county Republican party who happened to be African American. He spoke of the "slavish mentality" of some individuals in that party. An incredibly poor choice of words. What a firestorm. I know how bad it was, because I was the one person of color left on his staff who was called upon to go on camera and deny that my ACLU civil rights boss was not a racist. Enough already people. Intelligent people make gaffes all the time - sometimes a pig is just a pig and that is all that is being stated - nothing more, nothing less.

I share with you two email that I received yesterday - they are markedly different, but bear thinking about:

Friends, compatriots, fellow-lamenters,
We are writing to you because of the fury and dread we have felt since the announcement of Sarah Palin as the Vice-Presidential candidate for the Republican Party. We believe that this terrible decision has surpassed mere partisanship, and that it is a dangerous farce on the part of a pandering and rudderless Presidential candidate that has a real possibility of becoming fact.
Perhaps like us, as American women, you share the fear of what Ms. Palin and her professed beliefs and proven record could lead to for ourselves and for our present or future daughters. To date, she is against sex education, birth control, the pro-choice platform, environmental protection, alternative energy development, freedom of speech (as mayor she attempted to ban books and fired the librarian who refused), gun control, the separation of church and state, and polar bears.To say nothing of her complete lack of experience.

We want to clarify that we are not against Sarah Palin as a woman, a mother, or, for that matter, a parent of a pregnant teenager, but solely as a rash, incompetent, and all together devastating choice for Vice President. Ms.Palin's political views are in every way a slap in the face to the accomplishments that our mothers and grandmothers and great-grandmothers so fiercely fought for, and that we've so demonstrably benefited from.

First and foremost, Ms. Palin does not represent us. She does not demonstrate or uphold our interests as American women. It is presumed that the inclusion of a woman on the Republican ticket could win over women voters. We want to disagree, publicly.

Therefore, we invite you to reply here with a short, succinct message about why you, as a woman living in this country, do not support this candidate as second-in-command for our nation.

Please include your name (last initial is fine), age, and place of residence.
We will post your responses on a blog called "Women Against Sarah Palin," which we intend to publicize as widely as possible. Please send us your reply at your earliest convenience the greater the volume of responses we receive, the stronger our message will be.
Thank you for your time and action.
Quinn Latimer and Lyra Kilston
New York, NY

And the second:

If you're a minority and you're selected for a job over less qualified candidates you're a "token hire."
If you're a conservative and you're selected for a job over more qualified candidates you're a "game changer."
Black teen pregnancies? A "crisis" in black America.
White teen pregnancies? A "blessed event."
If you grow up in Hawaii (our 50th state) you're "exotic" and "foreign."
Grow up in Alaska, shooting moose and eating mooseburgers, and you're the quintessential "American story."
Similarly, if you name you kid Barack you're "unpatriotic."
Name your kid Track, you're "colorful."
If you're a Democrat and you make a VP pick without fully vetting the individual you're "reckless."
A Republican who doesn't fully vet is a "maverick."

If you spend 3 years as a community organizer growing your organization from a staff of 1 to 13 and your budget from $70,000 to $400,000, then become the first black President of the Harvard Law Review, create a voter registration drive that registers 150,000 new African Amerian voters, spend 12 years as a Constitutional Law professor, then spend nearly 8 more years as a State Senator representing a district with over 750,000 people, becoming chairman of the state Senate's Health and Human Services committee, then spend nearly 4 years in the United States Senate representing a state of nearly 13 million people, sponsoring 131 bills and serving on the Foreign Affairs, Environment and Public Works and Veteran's Affairs committees, you are woefully inexperienced.

If you spend 4 years on the city council and 6 years as the mayor of a town with less than 7,000 people, then spend 20 months as the governor of a state with 650,000 people, then you've got the most executive experience of anyone on either ticket, are the Commander in Chief of the Alaska military and are well qualified to lead the nation should you be called upon to do so because your state is the closest state to Russia.
If you are a Democratic male candidate who is popular with millions of people you are an "arrogant celebrity".
If you are a popular Republican female candidate you are "energizing the base".
If you are a younger male candidate who thinks for himself and makes his own decisions, you are "presumptuous". (also known as "uppity)
If you are an older male candidate who makes last minute decisions you refuse to explain, you are a "shoot from the hip" maverick.
If you are a candidate with a Harvard law degree you are "an elitist--out of touch" with the real America.
If you are a legacy (dad and granddad were admirals) graduate of Anapolis, with multiple disciplinary infractions, you are a hero.
If you manage a multi-million dollar nationwide campaign, you are an "empty suit".
If you are a part-time mayor of a town of 7000 people, you are an "experienced executive".
If you go to a south side Chicago church, your beliefs are "extremist".
If you believe in creationism and don't believe global warming is man made, you are "strongly principled".
If you cheated on your first wife with a rich heiress, and left your crippled, disfigured wife and married the heiress the next month, you're a Christian.
If you have been married to the same woman with for 19 years and raised 2 beautiful daughters with her, you're "risky".
If you're a poor, black single mother of 4 who waits for 22 hours after her water breaks to seek medical attention, you're an irresponsible parent, endangering the life of your unborn child.
But if you're a white married mother who waits 22 hours, you're spunky.
If you're a 13-year-old Chelsea Clinton, the right-wing press calls you "First dog."
If you're a 17-year old pregnant unwed daughter of a Republican, the right-wing press calls you "beautiful" and "courageous."
If you kill an endangered species, you're an excellent hunter.
If you have an abortion, you’re not a Christian, you're a murderer (forget about if it happened while being date-raped.)
If you teach abstinence only in sex education, you get teen parents.
If you teach responsible age appropriate sex education, including the proper use of birth control, you are eroding the fiber of society.
If you're a Republican senator who solicits gay sex in an airport bathroom, you get to return to your job in the Senate and are encouraged to run for re-election.
If you're a former Democratic Senator who is out of public office and have an affair, your political career is over and your wife, who has terminal cancer, is to blame.
And finally:
Quiz question for the RNC, specifically those on the Religious Right.
Who was one of the most highly revered and famous (and popular) community organizers in history?
And who was the governor at the time?
...Pontius Pilate.

Some food for thought.

Are you listening or paying attention or both?

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