"He's an Arab," one of Sen. John McCain's elderly female supporters blurted out in reference to Sen. Barack Obama, at one of McCain's rallies. This is but one item in a growing laundry list of angry and sometimes borderline Libelous remarks that Mac crowds -- initially under the conductorship of Grand Wizardess Sarah Palin -- have uttered. Not to give these pitchfork wielding ignoramuses too much air time, but I feel the need to address some of their issues.
Firstly, I find it bewildering that for all the news coverage the "Arab" clip has received, no one has really gotten to the disturbing heart of the matter. After the aforementioned simpleton-in-red stated her concern, the Republican presidential nominee tried to assuage her fear and anger by saying that "no m'am, he's a decent family man citizen" (not, God forbid, an Arab). Huh?
Since when did the word "Arab" become generally accepted as being synonymous with "terrorist," or derogative at all for that matter? Ladies and gentleman, we are treading on dangerous Orwellian Newspeak territory here; we, for the most part, being some of the networks who have covered this story and not taken it as an opportunity to thoroughly discuss the offensive and obvious. I have yet to see anyone on CNN, for instance, pull in reaction from the Arab American community (please excuse me if I missed a new segment or something). Ok, technically the poor dumb McCain supporter made an erroneous assertion and was appropriately corrected by her candidate. But where was the cultural correction, from John McCain AND political pundits, and religious and cultural advocates?
Where are the community organizers using this as a catalyst to launch discussion groups on racial and cultural bias?--a poignant and sadly prevalent (from what I can see of these McCain/Palin rallies) thorn in the side of American society. Because that race happens to be the much-demonized (in American culture) Arab one, it gets little or no air time.
In another clip, an incensed Macanite says he is "scared" of Obama becoming president because he "cohorts with" (not 100% sure that's really a verb) domestic terrorists (like Bill Ayers). We've had nearly eight years of a Bush administration that has made mince meat of our constitutional rights, forced us into a bloody LONG aimless war under false pretenses, damaged our relationship with the rest of the world, aided in slaughtering the economy beyond repair, and this guy's "scared" of...Obama. I don't know what planet he's living on, but I know what planet he's afraid of (to indirectly quote Public Enemy).
At other rallies, supporters did everything but wield torches and burn Obama supporters' houses down, yelling out such disturbing things as "kill him." These human beings' (by the slackest definition of the word) brazen vocalization of their small-mindedness has broadcast an image to the rest of the world of our very own 'American Gothic'-turned-horror flick. Obviously the sentiments were already teeming beneath the surface, but it took someone folksy and furious like Sarah Palin to release them into balls of fiery hatred.
Perhaps it is time that we, led by the media--our global school 'home room'--started widely opening up a constructive discussion about such Hatespeak in America today. Some may view this anger as 'justified' and brand me a "coastal intellectual elitist" for suggesting an intervention. I would then retort that I feel pride, not shame in the fact that I try to expose myself to different cultures, and attempt to be informed and feed my intellect. But it might be too late; they may have already reversed the meaning of such attributes, transforming them into the gravest of possible insults.
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