Thursday, May 15, 2008

Racist Incidents Give Some Obama Campaigners Pause

From the Washington Post. Highlights:
Victoria Switzer, a retired social studies teacher, was on phone-bank duty one night during the Pennsylvania primary campaign. One night was all she could take: "It wasn't pretty." She made 60 calls to prospective voters in Susquehanna County, her home county, which is 98 percent white. The responses were dispiriting. One caller, Switzer remembers, said he couldn't possibly vote for Obama and concluded: "Hang that darky from a tree!"

Karen Seifert, a volunteer from New York, was outside of the largest polling location in Lackawanna County, Pa., on primary day when she was pressed by a Clinton volunteer to explain her backing of Obama. "I trust him," Seifert replied. According to Seifert, the woman pointed to Obama's face on Seifert's T-shirt and said: "He's a half-breed and he's a Muslim. How can you trust that?"

In a letter to the editor published in a local paper, Tunkhannock Borough Mayor Norm Ball explained his support of Hillary Clinton this way: "Barack Hussein Obama and all of his talk will do nothing for our country. There is so much that people don't know about his upbringing in the Muslim world. His stepfather was a radical Muslim and the ranting of his minister against the white America, you can't convince me that some of that didn't rub off on him. No, I want a president that will salute our flag, and put their hand on the Bible when they take the oath of office."

It reminds me of when I was in third grade Sunday school, and our teacher was taking us on a tour of Temple Beth Miriam. She paused at a replica of Michelangelo's Moses (a much reduced version, by the way). One of the kids made mention of the fact that there were horns on Moses's head and asked why. The teacher said that it was a widely held belief in 16th Century Italy that Jews were the children of Satan and had horns under their yarmulkes, and that some in America still believed it was true. (Aside: an interesting interpretation of the horns here.) Just how long it will take Americans to let go of the Muslim lie is anybody's guess. But the "half-breed" comment is just pure hatred.

Since Clinton will soon (we hope) be exiting this race, I sincerely hope that when she concedes, she makes specific mention to all of her supporters that racism is not a plank in the Democratic Party platform.

Thanks to Titus for sending me this.

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