13 Ways Republican Party Profits From Mindless White Privilege

25 09 2008

. . .courtesy of Lorem Ipsum without whom I wouldn’t have seen Tim Wise’s white power of story and in whose footsteps I follow by reprinting and illustrating same.

******************
By Tim Wise, BuzzFlash — September 18, 2008.
13 ways McCain and Palin have enjoyed preferential treatment in the presidential race.

For those who still can’t grasp the concept of white privilege, or who are constantly looking for some easy-to-understand examples of it, perhaps this list will help.

White privilege is when you can get pregnant at 17 like Bristol Palin and everyone is quick to insist that your life and that of your family is a personal matter, and that no one has a right to judge you or your parents, because “every family has challenges,” even as black and Latino families with similar “challenges” are regularly typified as irresponsible, pathological and arbiters of social decay.

White privilege is when you can call yourself a “fuckin’ redneck,” like Bristol Palin’s boyfriend does, and talk about how if anyone messes with you, you’ll “kick their fuckin’ ass,” and talk about how you like to “shoot shit” for fun, and still be viewed as a responsible, all-American boy (and a great son-in-law to be) rather than a thug.

White privilege is when you can attend four different colleges in six years like Sarah Palin did (one of which you basically failed out of, then returned to after making up some coursework at a community college), and no one questions your intelligence or commitment to achievement, whereas a person of color who did this would be viewed as unfit for college and probably someone who only got in in the first place because of affirmative action.

White privilege is when you can claim that being mayor of a town smaller than most medium-size colleges, and then governor of a state with about the same number of people as the lower fifth of the island of Manhattan, makes you ready to potentially be president, and people don’t all piss on themselves with laughter, while being a black U.S. senator, two-term state senator and constitutional law scholar means you’re “untested.”

White privilege is being able to say that you support the words “under God” in the pledge of allegiance because “if it was good enough for the founding fathers, it’s good enough for me,” and not be immediately disqualified from holding office — since, after all, the pledge was written in the late 1800s and the “under God” part wasn’t added until the 1950s — while believing that reading accused criminals and terrorists their rights (because, ya know, the Constitution, which you used to teach at a prestigious law school, requires it), is a dangerous and silly idea only supported by mushy liberals.

White privilege is being able to be a gun enthusiast and not make people immediately scared of you. White privilege is being able to have a husband who was a member of an extremist political party that wants your state to secede from the Union, and whose motto was “Alaska first,” and no one questions your patriotism or that of your family, while if you’re black and your spouse merely fails to come to a 9/11 memorial so she can be home with her kids on the first day of school, people immediately think she’s being disrespectful.

White privilege is being able to make fun of community organizers and the work they do — like, among other things, fight for the right of women to vote, or for civil rights, or the eight-hour workday, or an end to child labor — and people think you’re being pithy and tough, but if you merely question the experience of a small-town mayor and 18-month governor with no foreign policy expertise beyond a class she took in college — you’re somehow being mean, or even sexist.

White privilege is being able to convince white women who don’t even agree with you on any substantive issue to vote for you and your running mate anyway, because all of a sudden your presence on the ticket has inspired confidence in these same white women and made them give your party a “second look.”

White privilege is being able to fire people who didn’t support your political campaigns and not be accused of abusing your power or being a typical politician who engages in favoritism, while being black and merely knowing some folks from the old-line political machines in Chicago means you must be corrupt.

White privilege is being able to attend churches over the years whose pastors say that people who voted for John Kerry or merely criticize George W. Bush are going to hell, and that the United States is an explicitly Christian nation and the job of Christians is to bring Christian theological principles into government, and who bring in speakers who say the conflict in the Middle East is God’s punishment on Jews for rejecting Jesus, and everyone can still think you’re just a good churchgoing Christian, but if you’re black and friends with a black pastor who has noted (as have Colin Powell and the U.S. Department of Defense) that terrorist attacks are often the result of U.S. foreign policy and who talks about the history of racism and its effect on black people, you’re an extremist who probably hates America.

White privilege is not knowing what the Bush Doctrine is when asked by a reporter, and then having people get angry at the reporter for asking you such a “trick question,” while being black and merely refusing to give one-word answers to the queries of Bill O’Reilly means you’re dodging the question, or trying to seem overly intellectual and nuanced.

White privilege is being able to claim that your experience as a POW has anything at all to do with your fitness for president, while being black and experiencing racism is, as Sarah Palin has referred to it, a “light” burden.

And finally, white privilege is the only thing that could possibly allow someone to become president when he has voted with George W. Bush 90 percent of the time, even as unemployment is skyrocketing, people are losing their homes, inflation is rising and the United States is increasingly isolated from world opinion, just because white voters aren’t sure about that whole “change” thing. Ya know, it’s just too vague and ill-defined, unlike, say, four more years of the same, which is very concrete and certain.

White privilege is, in short, the problem.

Advertisements

Actions

Information

53 responses

25 09 2008
Nance Confer

Damn — when you put it all on one page like that, why is ANYONE voting for McCain?

Nance

25 09 2008
Deanne

Why indeed?!

25 09 2008
Crimson Wife

Oh, PUH-LEEZE . The overwhelming majority of people who are voting for McCain over Obama are doing so for reasons that have absolutely NOTHING to do with race. I don’t know a SINGLE McCain supporter who would’ve voted for Obama if he were white. Those 20% of folks who voted for Hillary in the primary but who are now supporting McCain are virtually all blue-collar Reagan Democrats. It isn’t Obama’s race that turns them off but his elitist attitude.They haven’t forgotten that he insulted people like them as “bitter” and “clinging to guns and religion” a few months ago at a high-end fundraiser here in San Francisco.

I don’t even much like Sarah Palin, but the way that the elites in this country are looking down their collective noses at her really is starting to p*** me off.

25 09 2008
Nance Confer

It doesn’t make me an “elitist” to think Palin is a laughingstock. She’s a dolt in so many ways it is embarrassing.

Obama’s not “elitist” because he speaks calmly and rationally, like an adult.

And the “bitter” thing has long been debunked. Read the context. Read for meaning. People lose confidence in their elected officials when they vote based on things like the economy and still get screwed. And they end up bitter.

And then, if they still vote at all, they vote based on fringe issues — like guns and religion — and cling to those views as if they made an ounce of difference in the way a President will function.

And think about what all those “bitter” voters are feeling now. The Republicans, with the help of spineless Dems, erode every regulation on the books and now the economy is foundering. If you voted for this fraud of a President, why wouldn’t you be bitter?

And why does it matter that the comment was made in San Francisco? Being gay is legal in this country and shouldn’t be trotted out to scare the straight people.

Nance

25 09 2008
Nance Confer

How’s this for crazy “let’s do more of the same stuff that got us in this fix” craziness?

http://marcambinder.theatlantic.com/archives/2008/09/mccains_surprise.php

“During the White House meeting, it appears that Sen. John McCain had an agenda. He brought up alternative proposals, surprising and angering Democrats. He did not, according to someone briefed on the meeting, provide specifics.

“One the proposals — favored by House Republicans — would relax regulation and temporarily get rid of certain taxes in order to lure private industry into the market for these distressed assets.

“That approach has been rejected by Senate Democrats, Senate Republicans and, to this point, the White House. During the meeting, according to someone briefed on it, Sec. Henry Paulson told those assembled that the approach was not workable.”

And I’m not “elitist” for thinking the guy has seriously lost his grip on reality, that he’s an old coot not functioning well under pressure.

Nance

25 09 2008
Crimson Wife

The attitude that faith is a “fringe” issue rather than *THE* defining frame through which all issues are seen is very much an elitist POV. And that’s EXACTLY why so many religious believers whose interests would probably be better served by the Democratic party have turned against it in recent decades.

The problem with San Francisco as the venue for Obama’s comment doesn’t have to do with homosexuality. It would’ve been just as offensive if he’d said it in some other affluent city like Cambridge or Manhattan or Hollywood. It’s the kind of classism that Megan McArdle talked about in her recent Atlantic Monthly blog post:

“I’m surprised–though I shouldn’t be, of course–that any number of liberals who are (presumably) comfortable with concepts like unconscious discrimination and privilege when it comes to race, have not even stopped to consider that the same sort of thing might be operating here.

Let’s be honest, coastal folks: when you meet someone with a thick southern accent who likes NASCAR and attends a bible church, do you think, ‘hey, maybe this is a cool person”? And when you encounter someone who went to Eastern Iowa State, do you accord them the same respect you give your friends from Williams? It’s okay–there’s no one here but us chickens. You don’t….

People from a handful of schools, most of them hailing from a handful of major metropolitan areas, dominate academia, journalism, and the entertainment industry. Our subtle (or not-so-subtle) distaste for everything from their entertainment to their decorating choices to the vast swathes of the country in which they choose to live permeate almost everything they read, watch, or hear. Of course we don’t hear it–to us, that’s simply the way the world is. “

25 09 2008
Nance Confer

So rather than vote in their own best interest, religious voters choose to vote against their own interests and hide behind being offended at the way some of us Democrats talk about religion by claiming that we are “elitist?”

That makes no sense.

Then they get burned by the party that does not have their interests at heart and . . . what? . . . are not bitter? Are not embarrassed by their own silliness? Are not able to look outside one aspect of their life — no matter how important — and see how their party has lied to them. Again.

And if the religious on the right wanted to look for comrades on the left, they would find plenty of Bibles.

They just wouldn’t find them being used to justify hatred (riiight — SF is just like an other affluent city and that’s why SF is mentioned every time this “bitter” comment is mentioned).

Here’s a group that leaves me cold but is chockful of Bible-toting lefties — http://www.streetprophets.com/.

They’re not hard to find.

As for your source — there’s no doubt some truth to what she says. OTOH, I live in the South. Yep, I see the confederate flag flying regularly. Yes, it disgusts me and immediately makes think the person flying it is an idiot. And ignorant.

I don’t check college degrees but when I hear anyone launching into a Bible-based justification for their actions, I think less of them. If your argument truly holds water and you truly care about convincing me, and aren’t just talking to hear yourself talk, you need to do more than quote Bible verse. You need to take another tack and try logic and facts. Or your story, as JJ might prefer. If the Bible’s your only tool, you are not equipped to deal with most of the world.

Nance

26 09 2008
JJ

I just got home from musical theatre to hear CNN’s Candy Crowley reporting on this afternoon’s political theatre. She responded to a question about whether Obama had accused McCain of dodging the debate or submarining the economic deal or whatever, by giving me a new six-word story for Obama!

“He
Is
More
Nuanced
Than
That.”

26 09 2008
JJ

CW, are you agreeing all these things are examples of unfairness and irrationality, but just disputing that it has anything to do with the history of white privilege and entitlement?

Or are you disputing the whole case laid out here as not happening, like some kind of delusion?

It’s hard for me to tell what the real story is, when religion gets involved. . . .

26 09 2008
JJ

To anyone reading — read “Wicked” by Gregory Maguire to discover how white, beautiful Glinda was inevitably privileged IN EVERY WAY over her green-colored misfit sister (the smart one btw.) There are other political, social and family relationship themes in the book but that’s a biggie . . .

26 09 2008
JJ

This morning I read this Factcheck dot org analysis of Pitbull Palin’s brutal policy sending her people out to shoot wolves and bears from planes and bring back the severed left paws as proof of their good citizenship, whereupon she pays them a bounty.

Pitbull, hmmm. Michael Vick claimed similar modern entitlement to encourage and exercise brutal dominion over animals (especially ugly ones like pitbulls.) Palin and Vick are both “born” athletes with an apparently instinctive taste for bloodsport too, yet one is a hero and the other a felon. One is white, the other black. Coincidence?

On December 10, 2007, Vick was sentenced to 23 months in federal prison. Judge Hudson said he was “convinced that it was not a momentary lack of judgment” on Vick’s part, and that Vick was a “full partner” in the dogfighting ring. Hudson also noted that, despite Vick’s claims that he accepted responsibility for his actions, his failure to cooperate fully with Federal officials . . .[and] had not accepted full responsibility for “promoting, funding and facilitating this cruel and inhumane sporting activity”.

The Republican convention had 98%-plus white delegates this year, not merely failing to look like America but actually retreating from third-millennium reality and then cheering that retreat as desirable change!

ST. PAUL, Minnesota (CNN) — Watching delegates file into the Republican National Convention, it’s easy to see one big challenge facing their party: Fewer than 2 percent of the delegates are black.

Thirty-six of the 2,380 Republican delegates are black, according to the nonpartisan Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.

That number marks a 78 percent decline from 2004, the lowest representation in 40 years and a huge deficit when compared to the 1,079 delegates at last week’s Democratic National Convention, according to the think tank report.

Call it the call of the wild or brutality or delusion or enthnocentrism or god’s plan to end the world with Alaska and Jerusalem as final havens. The author above calls it white privilege. It doesn’t matter as long as we can SEE it, acknowledge it as real and then and THINK about it, figure out what’s good and how it can be good for us.

Whatever it is, Sarah Palin along with everyone in the world she knows and understands, is a natural creature of it, her family and friends and government and culture and lifestyle, what a strange world — each fall she actually, officially encourages children and parents to march forth into actual battle with actual predators in the wild like technology-equipped cavemen, rather than back-to-school.

26 09 2008
JJ

The Obama Relationship: A Major Benefit Nobody’s Talking About”

Of course they are black but other than that, what’s for conservatives not to love about them as First Couple? (Compared to the other on offer!)

26 09 2008
Crimson Wife

I’m saying that the *REAL* issue with prejudice in this campaign isn’t racism against Sen. Obama but classism against Gov. Palin. I don’t know a single McCain supporter whose vote would be any different if Obama were white. But I’ve heard a HECK of a lot of Palin-bashing that has at its root class snobbery.

26 09 2008
boremetotears

Of course, Regular Guy McCain and Regular Gal Palin wouldn’t even be in the running if it weren’t for class snobbery on the right.

Actually, the Megan McArdle article is a perfect example of the folksy classism that has become the hallmark of GOP rhetoric – and religious conservatism, in particular. For example, do you suppose that non-coastals (ahem) express subtle (or not-so-subtle) distaste for our entertainment choices (art films and PBS documentaries, why of course)? When they meet someone who likes the opera and attends a Unitarian Universalist church, do they think, ‘hey, maybe this is a cool person”? What if the coastal attended an east-coast law school, rather than the local college to learn a trade? Or, drives a Prius, not a Ford truck?

I didn’t count how many times the word “elites” has been sneered as an insult, but it’s pretty clear to me which side of the aisle has more card-carrying members of the “holier-than-thou” club.

26 09 2008
COD

e·lite or é·lite (-lt, -lt)
n. pl. elite or e·lites
1.
a. A group or class of persons or a member of such a group or class, enjoying superior intellectual, social, or economic status: “In addition to notions of social equality there was much emphasis on the role of elites and of heroes within them” Times Literary Supplement.
b. The best or most skilled members of a group:

I want my leaders to be elite, particularly under definition B.

27 09 2008
JJ

CW, I’m tempted to buy you a free ticket to go see the new documentary Boogie Man, to hear whether you’d believe it coming from Lee Atwater’s own avowed, carefully calibrated racebaiting Republican strategy:

What is clear, from watching this talented man and his view of politics and America, is that his corrosive vision has seeped into the nation’s political groundwater.

27 09 2008
JJ

COD, have you been reading over at Columbia Teachers College Record again?! 😉

Sarah Palin and the Assault on Merit
by Jonathan Zimmerman — September 22, 2008

This commentary argues that the nomination of Sarah Palin represents a direct attack on long-standing ideals of merit in American history.

In the 1990s, the Chicago Bulls won six NBA championships. Their formula was simple: Michael Jordan plus a decent supporting cast equals victory. At the end of every game, the ball was in Jordan’s hands. And the Bulls almost always came out on top.

Were the Bulls being “elitist” by channeling their entire offense through Michael Jordan? Of course they were. Jordan was the best basketball player on earth, plain and simple. He had won the right to carry the Bulls, and–even more–the Bulls needed him to do it. Anything less would have weakened their chances.

So there’s nothing wrong with “elitism,” per se, so long as it’s based on merit. The problem arises when people become elites without earning it, by the luck of birth and wealth. Your station in life should reflect your skill and effort, not your inherited status.

Unless, of course, you want to be our vice president.

The nomination of Sarah Palin represents a direct and unprecedented assault on the American ideal of merit. Of course, Palin’s handlers insist that she has the experience, talent, and ability to serve as the nation’s second-in-command. Clearly, though, Palin was nominated because of who she is—a hockey mom, a hunter, and so on—rather than what she has done.

Would you select an accountant because his son plays hockey? Would you choose a doctor because she can kill a moose? I doubt it. But plenty of voters seem ready to make Sarah Palin their vice-president, simply because she seems to be like them.

To be sure, Americans have always wanted their leaders to possess a common touch. Abraham Lincoln split rails, after all, and Theodore Roosevelt went all the way to Africa to shoot lions. Heck, even President Bush wears cowboy boots and clears brush.

Most of this was political theater, of course, as Ivy-educated patricians like Roosevelt and Bush tried to affect a regular-guy demeanor. Americans have always suspected inherited wealth, and rightly so: it runs counter to the self-made ideal, whereby each of us rises or falls depending on individual ability, dedication, and persistence.

That’s why Thomas Jefferson hoped that America would develop a “natural aristocracy,” a new generation of talent to lead the new nation. Otherwise, he warned, we would be governed by “an artificial aristocracy founded on wealth and birth.” Better to be ruled by the gifted few, Jefferson wrote, than by the fortunate rich.

Since then, Americans have been arguing about which is which. How can you pick out the natural aristocrats among us? How many of them simply appear talented, because of their social advantages? And how many poorer folk have the ability to rise to the top, if only they get a little break?

Writing in the midst of the Great Depression, Harvard president James B. Conant thought he found the answer: standardized testing. As Conant well realized, many Harvard students got into the college solely because of their wealth or last name. The trick was to devise examinations that would separate people with true merit from those who simply had privilege. And so the Standardized Achievement Test was born.

We’ve had plenty of debate about that, too. What does this test really measure? How should it be weighed next to grades and other accomplishments? Does it discriminate against minorities?

The last question raises the specter of affirmative action, which has polarized our country for the past forty years. If a given group has suffered prejudice, some Americans argued, it should receive a special advantage in college admissions, job hires, and so on. Nonsense, said the other side: no matter what happened in the past, your future in life should never rest on the color of your skin.

But here’s the larger point: in all of these debates, both sides embraced the idea of merit itself. The dispute lay in the measurement of ability, not in its significance. Nobody questioned whether skill matters, or whether society should recognize and reward it.

Nobody, that is, until this election cycle. In the smiling face of Sarah Palin, we see something fresh and truly remarkable in American history: the anti-merit candidate.

Some people have gamely tried to depict Palin as a kind of Jeffersonian natural aristocrat, a sharp diamond plucked out of the Alaskan rough. More commonly, though, they have embraced her for her lack of special talent, ability, or knowledge. There’s nothing special about Sarah Palin, and that’s precisely what is so new–and so special–about her.

And that brings us back to “elitism,” which Palin’s defenders inevitably invoke whenever anyone questions her qualifications. The very charge shows how far we have strayed from the meritocratic ideal. It ignores the difference between deserved and undeserved elitism, suggesting that any claim to high status is somehow suspect. And it makes a mockery of our entire government, implying that anyone among us is good enough to lead it.

In one of his best-known quips, the conservative icon William F. Buckley said he would rather be governed by the first 300 names in the Boston phonebook than by the faculty of Harvard University. In the end, though, Buckley didn’t want either group in charge. He rejected the faculty’s left-liberal politics, of course, but he also recoiled at the notion of any average Joe at the helm.

He was, in short, an elitist. And so am I. In a time of economic turmoil at home and enormous peril overseas, we need extraordinary—not ordinary–leaders. Woe to America if we fall victim to the seduction of Sarah Palin, who tricks us into thinking that Everyman—or Everywoman—is good enough for us all.

Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record, Date Published: September 22, 2008
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 15383

27 09 2008
Crimson Wife

But does every bright individual have an equal chance at attending an elite private university like Columbia (Sen. Obama’s alma mater)? Isn’t it a wee bit possible the fact that he attended a ritzy prep school (granted on scholarship) and both his parents had PhD’s gave him a leg up on somebody like Sarah Palin who attended a government-run school in the middle of nowhere, AK and only one of whose parents even had a bachelor’s degree?

Now I’m not saying that Ms. Palin would’ve necessarily gotten in to a school like Columbia had she grown up in more advantaged circumstances. But it would’ve been significantly more likely.

My DH and I had very similar academic qualifications but I grew up in a fairly affluent neighborhood populated by doctors, lawyers, corporate executives, college professors, and so on while he grew up in a fairly modest middle-class neighborhood with a mix of blue collar tradesmen, government workers, and so on. The expectations for both of us were college. However, while everyone around me pushed elite private schools to the extent where anything else was made to seem like a “failure”, my DH never even considered applying until one of his teachers encouraged him to. Then when he got accepted to Stanford, he had to go without any support from his parents (who simply couldn’t fathom why their son would give up a full ride to Penn State and refused to pay a dime towards Stanford’s cost). Had my DH been less stubborn and had he not been able to find alternate means of funding college, he would’ve just gone off to the less prestigious state school like so many other kids from modest backgrounds.

27 09 2008
NanceConfer

Now I’m not saying that Ms. Palin would’ve necessarily gotten in to a school like Columbia had she grown up in more advantaged circumstances. But it would’ve been significantly more likely.

********

You think if you put enough lipstick on a pig, she’d get into Columbia? Come on.

FWIW, which isn’t much, I got into Columbia. No prep school. Public high school. Full scholarship to the school of engineering.

They seemed to appreciate that I could string two sentences together in a sensible way, unlike Ms. Palin.

I promptly dropped out but that’s another issue. . .

Nance

27 09 2008
JJ

Could we be stretching the relevance of the personal anecdote to (all) the presidential candidates just a tad? The overall point was WHITE advantage in politics, not Columbia University advantage specifically. (There are 13 examples in the post.)

Personal reactions are on point in thinking about this, though. For example, here’s a WaPo columnist (who happens to be black) relating the Palin family’s political rise to his own personal power of story:

Sarah Palin’s values, her worldview and those things from which she apparently derives pleasure are what set us far apart. She obviously enjoys the adoring support of many people who believe she sees things their way.

Palin and I just don’t see eye to eye.

For instance, I do not now have — nor am I likely ever to have before departing this vale of tears — the slightest interest in skinning a moose or in scarfing down a mooseburger. Knowing how to properly field dress a moose is, for Palin, evidently a source of pride. As is her love of mooseburgers.

I simply cannot relate to any of that.

Sarah Palin gets a gold star for being a hockey mom. I don’t believe I know any hockey moms or at least any mothers who wittingly bear such a title.

But in my life and work, I’ve come to know and identify with single moms who successfully raise families. They are, in my book, the real deal; they deserve applause.

I also have great trouble identifying with the Palins when it comes to education.

Those of us in my generation who were fortunate enough to attend college had to work our butts off to get our degrees, and get them on time. Some of us were the first in our families to continue education beyond high school. It was a financial struggle to enroll in college and remain there for four years.

We certainly didn’t want to prolong the sacrifices that our families were making to keep us in school. The pursuit of a college education could not, in our case, turn into a career.

The degree was our goal, education was the basis for achieving it, and that was our focus — except for parties on the weekend.

A number of us met our life partners on campus. Some of us went on to become commissioned officers in the armed forces. A large number pursued graduate and professional degrees.

Relate to Sarah and Todd Palin?

She attended five colleges over a six-year span before graduating from the University of Idaho. Todd, a part-time oil production operator and summertime commercial fisherman, doesn’t have a college degree.

He registered to vote in 1989, when he was 25 years old, and for seven years was a registered member of the Alaskan Independence Party — a political party that, among its objectives, advocates a vote on Alaska becoming a separate nation.

Again, to the best of my knowledge, there are no secessionists in my circle.

I do know that I don’t much care for the government messing around with our families, advocating abstinence only for children — as does Gov. Palin and, perhaps, people who identify with her.

I do believe in age-appropriate sex education and that teenagers should be informed about the proper use of birth control. And that a girl who finds herself unexpectedly impregnated by an unemployed high school dropout ought to have some choice other than becoming a shotgun bride.

I don’t particularly admire heads of the executive branch who try to skirt legitimate legislative inquiries into their official conduct. And I don’t think much of executives who allow their subordinates to dishonor subpoenas for sworn testimony. I can’t relate to that kind of conduct.

I am the spouse of someone who managed a government enterprise that had more than 70,000 employees. To the best of my recollection, I visited her office only two or three times. I was there for the first and last days on the job, and maybe one or two in between during her three-year tenure.

So I have a tough time identifying with Todd Palin, who hangs out in his wife’s office, meddling in Alaska government business and using his “first gentleman” status to settle personal beefs. Some may think that’s cute. I think he’s riding on his wife’s coattails. . .

28 09 2008
JJ

OTOH, I guess it’s worth thinking about, that we really do have some dramatic educational contrasts in the party offerings this time. One ticket is two juris doctor degrees, both also with professor experience teaching constitutional law (boy, do we need some of that to get America back on track!) and one having led u.s. Senate confirmation hearings for SCOTUS nominees.

The other ticket is two decidedly uneducated and proudly unreflective people who disliked academics and barely scraped through college with undistinguished bachelor degrees.

Look at the spouses of the four candidates and the only one without a college degree (not to mention currently stonewalling a corruption subpoena) is First Dude Palin, yet he’s the one being so lavishly praised for family values in politics. Michelle Obama we know has her own law degree and government experience as well as having mentored her husband’s in Chicago. Cindy McCain inherited $100 million from her dad’s beer business and helps run it although as a young cheerleader sorority girl, she did get a special education master’s degree and work with Down syndrome kids for one year before meeting McCain; Jill Biden earned an education doctorate and was in my college town the other day speaking about higher education as an American family value.

28 09 2008
Betty Malone

CW and others,

Anecdotal evidence from Indiana. I don’t much like or value anecdotal evidence as evidence of anything except that we hear or see something that might be part of a larger picture..

I live in a working class city, with a strong racially diverse make-up, well, not really, just about 35 percent black, 55 percent white, and growing Hispanic, some Asian. Working class as in,,auto makers have gone and left us bereft..and poor, but once ruled supreme. Ever day..in my dealings in my work and in my community,,I hear someone…white someones”who decry the very thought that we might have a black president..and how horrible that would be..So..Puleezee..let’s just admit it..I can’t be the only person seeing and hearing this anecdotal evidence that race is a huge factor in this election. So let’s just admit it.

Sarah Palin..I don’t have a college degree. I am the product of the welfare system, grew up in foster homes, abused, not encouraged to succeed at much of anything, but very fortunately married a seriously good and hardworking man who we managed to put through college so we could have a better life for our children, all five of them, attended college, worked hard and now our youngest is there. We are not elitist, but determined to be the kind of Midwestern free thinker that values education, and hard work..the kind that Barack and Michele Obama and Joe Biden and his wife model for us.

Sarah Palin..a mess..and let’s just all admit it. Prove to me that she has one iota of common sense. It truly does frighten me to fathom how any women could vote for that ticket..Don’t they understand what’s at stake? I mean seriously..Puleeze…think!!

29 09 2008
Crimson Wife

JJ- that WaPo op-ed you quoted absolutely reeks of the kind of classism I’ve been talking about.

EEEEEEW- Sarah Palin *HUNTS*. EEEEW- her kids play *HOCKEY* instead of soccer, tennis, or lacrosse. EEEEW- she graduated from a *NO-NAME STATE SCHOOL*. EEEEW- her husband is an *OIL WORKER* and a *FISHERMAN* and he *DOESN’T HAVE A COLLEGE DEGREE*. EEEEEW, EEEEEW, EEEEEW!

I personally can’t relate to any of those things, either. BUT I don’t look down my nose at Gov. Palin for them. I don’t think I’m a better person than she is because I prefer a salmon filet from Whole Foods to a mooseburger from a recent hunting trip or because my husband wears Brooks Brothers to his job rather than coveralls & boots.

29 09 2008
JJ

This seems skewed to me as reason and dangerous as belief. Let me try to reflect why, one more time and see if it gets us off this class resentment sticking point. Here’s the argument I’m hearing CW make:

The cynical, divisive distraction of “reeking classism” in this campaign isn’t benefiting Republicans, but instead it’s being used against them as innocent victims just offering the best candidate they can find, Sarah Palin, who’s being persecuted for her differentness. Most Americans DON’T share anything with the Palins and can’t relate to her personally as a mom and small-town girl made good, so they unfairly reject her and want to destroy her and her whole family as some kind of alien other, ridicule her and reject her humanity, not just her candidacy.

Which would mean that the diligently educated, socially skillful, intact, mild-mannered, black candidate’s family in this race is the oppressor and exploiter or whatever race, sex, class, family values and educational divides they can find. Not the victims of widespread lingering social stereotyping based on race and class.

That makes no sense as (to use Palin’s zinger word against Obama) ACTUAL reality. There are two modest, hard-working Christian candidates with families in this election, who grew up among diversity learning to get along with differentness, one white and one black, both male, well-educated by their own merit and then choosing to work hard with that education to serve working people throughout America, help them to get good jobs and education for their families. They have one home apiece and intend to shape society so that every working-class family could do as well. They are on one ticket together. That can’t be the classist ticket!

Then there is a white man of enormous privilege and family connections, an American favorite son who like English princes was groomed within his own class to lead and sent off to war as an officer, returning to hero status and a series of castle-intrigue dalliances resulting in marriage to a beautiful but child-like blonde heiress with dependency problems who wants to love all the little children, casting herself as a saintly and self-sacrificing Mother Teresa except with jewelry and designer clothes and bodyguards and private jets and too many homes to keep track of, a bottomless fortune and various public titles (bestowed by family status, not her own hard work and merit) supporting her ethereal Diana-ness.

We may be white like they are, but few of us can relate to their wealth, gambling, junketing, womanizing, broken families, $300,000 convention outfits, drinking and drugs.

So the American admiralty candidate (did you ever notice the word admiral has “admir-e” right in it? Sounds classist to me.) with the heiress wife and all the status and connections a president could possibly want or need, decides to start a class war. (And why not, war is his thing! It’s how he sees the world, who he is, not just what he does.)

So he makes a war strategy. He needs not just a Cinderella but a sort of Cinderella puppet president to prop up as popular with the working class, crossed with a Tokyo Rose to spew demoralizing propaganda. He picks the most polarizing, divisive commoner his courtiers and knights and generals can unearth — after searching the kingdom so far and wide that they can see Russia! — before their glass slipper fits one woman who grew up believing she’s destined for greatness by god, born a princess but kidnapped by Alaskan wolves if not set forth in a rush basket in a reverse Moses story, a princess-in-the-rough perfect for this politically arranged marriage, um, concubine-soulmate role.

Maybe we need to coin the phrase “reverse classism” then, because that’s how exactly how Palin was packaged and sold, and of course why she was chosen in the first place.

29 09 2008
Nance Confer

CW: BUT I don’t look down my nose at Gov. Palin for them.

***

I believe the point is that Gov Palin and friends look down on me for not doing any of the things she does.

I don’t go to church.
I don’t hunt.
I don’t ban books.
I don’t dodge the law.
I wouldn’t urge my young daughter to keep an unplanned pregnancy.
I wouldn’t urge my young daughter into a shotgun wedding — certainly not to boost my popularity or distract from a failing campaign.

I also don’t shop at Whole Foods. Haven’t seen a salmon filet in years. Boots, let alone Brooks Brother, are too expensive for DH. He wears sneakers that we try to get on sale.

Etc.

There are a lot of ways I don’t relate to either of these stereotypes but only one party is trying to tell me that makes me a worse person than they are.

The other party seems to get it — that a lot of us have had it with this garbage politics, politics based on the things we are supposed to be clinging to so bitterly, differences that are used to bash one another and may or may not have anything to do with being an ACTUAL good person.

Or an actual good President who can do some good for the whole country, not just the ones perched in the right pew.

Nance

29 09 2008
Obi-Mom Kenobi

Well, hasn’t this been a fun little comments section? I’ll be voting for a Pres/VP team based on their previous track records of honest dealings, rational national and international experience, just legislation for the least fortunate of our country, and individual, personal efforts to make their communities more livable places for all citizens. Here I am, obviously a bleeding heart liberal, sitting in the middle of the USA. I guess I must have misplaced my “coastal” transfer card when I moved from desperately poor child to middle-class adult.

29 09 2008
Crimson Wife

JJ- did you find Mrs. Teresa Heinz Kerry as offensive for being an heiress as you obviously do Mrs. Cindy Hensley McCain? At least Cindy’s wealth came as the result of her parents’ hard work and sacrifice during her childhood rather than from marrying the great-grandson of a 19th century tycoon.

29 09 2008
Crimson Wife

Oh, and now that I think about it, Teresa was John Kerry’s 2nd wife. And there was quite a bit of controversy over the circumstances surrounding his annulment from his first wife.

29 09 2008
Nance Confer

Obi-Mom: I guess I must have misplaced my “coastal” transfer card when I moved from desperately poor child to middle-class adult.

***

LOL — it’s OK. You can visit. Without a passport or anything. 🙂

I have read several strange accounts of formerly-Republican-only voters in your neck of the woods who are now supporting Obama. So maybe you won’t be all alone after the election.

Nance

29 09 2008
COD

Betty, you are right on about the racism thing. I’m completely convinced that 80% of the people claiming they think Obama is Muslim are just covering for the fact that they know he is black. The other 20% really are that ignorant.

I’m about halfway through Audacity of Hope. Interestingly, he comes off much more moderate when he has the time to flesh out his beliefs. They are a little too nuanced to fit into 30 second sound bites so I guess they go for the interpretation that puts the most space between him and McSame. Unfortunate, but probably unavoidable.

30 09 2008
JJ

CW, remember I am non-partisan and politically I was no fan of John Kerry nor his second wife, who I believe inherited her money from her first husband, a good friend of Kerry’s, and a Republican. At least they’re Catholic, right? McCain can’t seem to remember quite what religion he follows, but Catholic wasn’t one of the choices.

I don’t get the part about selling beer being more admirable as “hard work” than selling ketchup though . . .

30 09 2008
JJ

Speaking of elitism and merit and stereotypes and class warfare, etc, can someone explain to me what this bumper sticker means? (Saw it at the dentist’s office this morning and puzzled over it all the way home. To me it seemed almost Palinesque!)

“My golden retriever is smarter than your honor student.”

30 09 2008
COD

JJ: I think it’s just a snarky reaction to the all the minivans with ‘My child is an honor student at…” bumper stickers that you see. I think every parent gets one of those bumper stickers, regardless of where their child falls on the grading curriculum.

30 09 2008
Nance Confer

JJ, it’s obviously people bitterly clinging to their golden retrievers. 🙂

Nance

1 10 2008
Crimson Wife

I’d rather see someone who isn’t quite sure to which denomination he belongs than someone who claims to be “Catholic” but who does not act according to the tenets of the faith. And that goes for Republicans like Rudy Giuliani and Tom Ridge as well as Democrats like John Kerry, Joe Biden, and Nancy Pelosi.

1 10 2008
JJ

Oh, well, as long as there are good explanations! 😉

I really thought it might be something about dogs as substitute children, or maybe some new kind of resentment against the public schools . . .

1 10 2008
JJ

Don’t forget the mainstream media! Bunch of Catholics in that crowd too.

1 10 2008
Crimson Wife

What percentage of elite journalists are only nominally “Catholic” vs. actually trying to faithfully adhere to the teachings of the Church?

My dad’s side of the family considers themselves to be Catholics, too. Yet when all of us attended my cousin’s wedding back in August, my DD and I were the only 2 out of probably 50+ relatives to make it to Mass at the resort chapel.

That’s why I’m always so skeptical about polls claiming to give statistics about Catholics, because they almost always include the large percentage of folks who claim to be “Catholic” but who do not attend Mass on a regular basis.

1 10 2008
Nance Confer

I wonder if that isn’t the case with any sort of religious classification.

There were some questioning whether the Jewish members of Congress really needed to take off for Roshoshona. Jon Stewart was joking about it, if I remember correctly and wasn’t already asleep. Jon’s Jewish but not THAT much, apparently.

But we’ve got to “respect” all the different religious practices and wait for everyone to be done praying or whatever to work on a major national problem. Can’t let reality interrupt the praying.

I don’t care if the candidates can out-Catholic each other. Do they know how to work on reality-based problems?

Nance

1 10 2008
COD

A lot of people that “are” catholic or jewish are in it for the culture, not the religion. If there is anything at all that I miss about my Catholic upbringing it’s the cultural aspects. The pancake breakfasts after mass, St Patrick’s Day celebrations, midnight mass (the spectacle, not the message), etc. The primary reason atheists end up with the UU church is to replace some of those cultural connections that come with being part of a tribe.

2 10 2008
JJ

COD says it all with this, imo!

2 10 2008
Crimson Wife

The difference is that “Jewish” is an ethnicity as well as a religious affiliation. I’ve got friends who are Jewish by religious practice but who are ethnically something else, and friends who are ethnically Jewish but who do not practice Judaism.

Most of what COD mentioned are Irish-American traditions rather than being a Catholic per se. Italian-American Catholics, Polish-American Catholics, Portuguese-American Catholics, Mexican-American Catholics, Arab-American Catholics, etc. have their own traditions.

2 10 2008
Nance Confer

So among all the X-American Catholics, only some are practicing and the rest are culturally Catholic. Raised in a family that was nominally Catholic. In a neighborhood that a largely Catholic. Etc.

Not the sort you think should be counted in polls.

Maybe, if there’s any hope for us, dividing people by these religious/ethnic lines will become less and less helpful to pollsters. And politicians.

Nance

2 10 2008
Crimson Wife

I’m just saying that anyone who identifies himself/herself as Catholic should actually be actively practicing the faith. If he/she cannot be bothered to do so, then he/she needs to find some other label such as “lapsed Catholic”, “former Catholic”, “ex-Catholic”, or what a good friend of mine says “if I were anything, I’d be Catholic”. At least she’s honest, KWIM?

2 10 2008
Nance Confer

So she shouldn’t identify herself as Catholic to a pollster? And how many Masses would she have to attend to be Catholic enough?

Reminds me of discussions about who was or wasn’t a “real” homeschooler.

Nance

P.S. I noticed “Catholics for Obama” signs on the news coverage tonight. Maybe I noticed them because of this thread. But some Catholics seem to have made up their minds in favor of Obama.

3 10 2008
JJ

And what about Webster Cook?? (Meant to be rhetorical, not reopening that conversation.) Or anyone who “practices” as they see fit and hasn’t quit or been kicked out, while you (generically) disapprove of how they do it . . .

Sounds like who’s a real homeschooler, sigh.

3 10 2008
Betty Malone

I rarely attend a Methodist church these days, but I certainly “identify” myself as Methodist in my own mind and to others. It’s a childhood belief system, reinforced by those comforting rituals of Christmas pageants, pitch in fall harvest dinners, candlelight services, hushed and respectful prayer in community, sharing of the ritual of communion and a hundred other traditional Methodist rituals. It is tribal..and perhaps some of us need the tribe more than other lone hunters. Palin’s tribe sounds a little scary to me..a simple Mid-Western farmgirl…bloodier, wilder, Alaskan wilderness thinking. I’m intrigued…now to think this through..how her Tribe..in the wild west frontier of Alaska has made her presidential material or not. It seems to reinforce my own belief that maybe in some other era, but not now..when the whole globe depends on the more nuanced view of the world that Obama strives to communicate in his thought process and in his writing…I heartily suggest The Audacity of Hope. And face it JJ…we haven’t had a writer president since JFK. Sure others have ghost written books..but Obama is the first real writer since JFK, isn’t he? And so,,for you and I..we don’t want the cowboy hero brands of Palin and McCain..but the intellectual honesty and thoughtfulness of both Obama and even Biden.

3 10 2008
JJ

Betty, I hadn’t thought of it that way, but I like it. In this family of writers we know writing well is basically thinking well. (From Bill Buckley and Peggy Noonan to Pollitt, Kinsley and Hitchens. It’s thinking well not necessarily thinking right or left.)

That’s how Favorite Daughter learned to write as an unschooler, by not working on writing at all but on complex, creative thoughts and ideas. Then the writing just flows . . .

7 10 2008
Talk About Domestic Terrorist Politics, Is She SO Ignorant of Actual American History?? « Cocking A Snook!

[…] carefully crafted all-white image with all-white populist rhetoric to match was eerily familiar to those of us who ACTUALLY lived through the 60s in the South, and the […]

8 10 2008
JJ

FavD and I plan to see Maher’s “Religulous” Thursday at the local art house:

Culture, like it or not, is tied to religious groups. Religion has influenced civilization from art to food to migratory patterns. On a smaller level, many people join religious communities for child care and to meet neighbors. Faith may help get you through things but from what I’ve seen, faith can be a synonym for family and community.

8 10 2008
Nance Confer

Good, then I don’t have to.

I can only stand so much of Maher at one shot. 🙂

Nance

24 03 2009
What’s Up With Fightin’ Mad White Women?? « Cocking A Snook!

[…] Up With Fightin’ Mad White Women?? 24 03 2009 Sarah Palin and Michele Bachman really started something.  Suddenly it’s hyperpatriotic white women […]

14 04 2009
War War War, Fiddle-dee-dee « Cocking A Snook!

[…] American Civil War (Katrina-exposed incompetence and callous disregard; Palin-inspired white supremacist […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




%d bloggers like this: