03/12/2008 07:06 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Elections and the race-gender taxonomies of America

From Alternet:

We don't know who will carry the Democrats' banner onto the political battlefield this fall. But we do know the kind of attack the Dems will face. The McCain campaign has little in its arsenal beyond two words: "No Surrender" -- no surrender anywhere, but especially in Iraq. Its strategy is merely to hurl that phrase over and over again, in every form imaginable.


In 2003, I wrote my own somewhat speculative account of the Jessica Lynch saga. The Pentagon PR machine was on mandatory overtime storyboarding their own bullshit version of events; and in this version, there was a clear taxonomy of human value. Dirty Arabs were below American white womanhood; and American white womanhood was dependent on American military masculinity. There was a fake "fight-to-the-death" scenario constructed for Jessica Lynch, wherein she fought the Dirty Arabs [DA] until she was overwhelmed (demonstrating her morally superior American White Womanhood [AWW] position over the swarthy beasts), followed by a fake rescue, wherein United States Special Operations commandos snatched her from the enemy hospital where she was being held captive (demonstrating the necessity at the end of the day for American Military Masculinity [AWW]).

Now Hillary Clinton has deployed her own narrative of Black incompetence (the 3 AM phone call). Anyone who doesn't believe this is race-baiting coded as "inexperience" is smoking some good stuff. In this cynical display of unbridled ambition, she has become King Pyrrhus. The trump card of the Republican Party is irrevocably fear of the Dark Other; and once the issue of "Black inability to govern" is played, the only step left is to mount the final stair in the taxonomy of fear: gender.

John McCain was in the military; and the fact that he was shot down and imprisoned when he was dropping explosives on Vietnamese lends him almost mythical "credibility" in the militarized American mindset... he is AMM. So once Senator Clinton accomplishes (if she does) the categorical destruction of Obama as a DA (or its domestic equivalent... a "dark one"), she stands alone in a field where she shall be utterly defenseless.

I have said for some time now that the Democratic Party's truest institutional talent is how to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

It's irony writ large when the person to first bring this taxonomy to the fore this election season is the female candidate, Senator Hillary Clinton, with her three-AM ad designed to conjure up white America's deepest, darkest (pun intended) fears of the swarthy menace lurking outside North American Mythville. On time and on target, Clinton's method for asserting her standpoint as a woman is to show she can assert the standpoint of the American male imaginary -- our fantasy of perpetual embattlement, the world a testing ground for performative masculinity against imagined enemies just outside our gates.

The Clintons -- for all the fawning of Black boozhie celebs -- will innegroate an election in a half a heartbeat to stay ahead -- from Sister Soulja to locking up Black people faster than anyone in history to emmisarial leaks about Obama's middle name, his turban photo, and cocaine, cocaine, cocaine. Bill and Hillary know how the Black taint meme works in white America and they are mashing the buttons like a free vending machine. They know that most white people in the US are so steeped in white supremacy that they can never, ever fully let go of the nagging white idea that darkness equals incompetence.

The tricky part is that people -- many women included (internalized oppression affects women just as much as Black folk) -- are likewise nagged by the suspicion that women can't "do the job" either.

Once Obama is knocked off (if that is successful with superdelegates), more and more white folk will turn to the masculinity-as-redemptive-violence trope; and they'll cast their votes for the hot-headed nitwit from Arizona because he has successfully cultivated his phony "maverick" image and overlaid it on his militarism credentials. Mark my words.

And if Wall Street Obama wins the nod from the Democratic Leadership Council, it will be gender again... and again... and again. Clinton has handed McCain a playbook he won't even have to read. It's already inscribed on the psyche of white America. All McCain needs to do is holler "sissy" at Obama on the question of Iraq, and Obama will tack right and try to out-Man McCain... to no avail: McCain is blooded in combat, which counts more than having enough sense to pour piss out of a boot.

Clinton and Obama (and the Democratic Party leadership) believed that gender and race could be taken off the table for the election. More foolish still, they believed they could be separated.

They knew not where they lived.

I love elections.