I’ve been mulling over writing a post called Me and Barack and God, about why I find Obama’s rhetoric so powerful because I share his religious tradition, as well as working intermittently on a post about talking about race that I can’t bring to conclusion because, I realize, I don’t know what the conclusion is. But a narrower post about us-them language in the election I think can raise some of the themes I’ve wanted to address. For the first time I can remember, Republicans are getting mauled in the media for saying that some people are “real Americans” or for questioning the patriotism of people who disagree with them. They are actually having to back down and apologize, at least when the national news is watching. I’ve never seen this before. I think Obama’s refusal to engage in tit-for-tat is why we are seeing this. In Pennsylvania, where a Democrat referred to white voters in the western part of the state as “racist” and then as “rednecks” when he tried to correct himself, McCain got more of a pass when he called people the “most patriotic part of America” because he was countering an attack on them, and the name-calling seemed more balanced. My daily “spirituality and peacemaking” email arrived today with this quotation from Henri Nouwen in Peacework: Continue reading “Us and Them”
Mulling over the debate, here’s what I wish Obama had said about the time McCain was whining about Lewis daring to compare Palin’s rallies to KKK rallies.
Even though your running mate’s rallies are getting out of hand and some white voters are willing to tell television or newspaper reporters straight up that they are going to vote for McCain because they will never vote for a black man, I know you are not a racist. But that kind of talk is very frightening to many Americans, who want to see a society that pulls together rather than be pulled apart by racial and ethnic conflict. Senator McCain, you are an honorable man. I invite you to take a strong stand against such talk, repudiate these people and tell the American people that you want no part of support based solely on race or people’s names, that you believe in a multi-ethnic America where we get along despite difference, and that you want all Americans to evaluate us on the basis of our stands on issues, not the color of our skin.
What do you think?