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Story Archives: Picking presidential prejudices
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|Picking presidential prejudices|
This month a colleague of mine takes a job in another part of the state. Unfortunately, I was only able to work with him for about a year. However, I reflected upon our many conversations and realized that he had raised a number of interesting points, which caused me to write this week's column.
During the past 14 months (give or take what seems more like 14 years), I have discerned an alarming trend on the part of the major campaigns.
This appears to be the season for identity politics. Not ideas mind you. Specific policies? No way. Demographics are driving messages and support.
The Republicans (and many Democrats) were out front telling us that Mitt Romney (remember him?) could not be trusted because, inter alia, he is a…Mormon. And we all know what Mormons are. Right? I mean, over a 100 years ago, they…uh…what?!
Romney even felt obligated to conduct interviews and hold press conferences defending his right to believe what he wants and worship in the manner he chooses. I guess for some people the First Amendment to the Constitution is an optional clause. You know, that part about Congress not making any laws "prohibiting the free exercise thereof." That was a meager suggestion.
Anti-Mormonism is nothing more than political buncombe appealing to the most degraded mindset akin to anti-Catholicism or any other religious-based derogation. Even former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee was frequently chided about his conservative religious beliefs.
Why is anti-Mormonism reasonable but anti-Semitism is not?
The answer: some prejudices are allowed and some are forbidden.
Just consider the following…
If you prefer Billary (see previous articles for definition) over Obama, you must be a racist. Instead of that contest (and I must admit that I am tired of it now, too) being about two candidates with almost no ideological differences and zero foreign policy experience between them, it has deteriorated into a question of color and sex. If you doubt this, please note Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
On the other hand, if you pick Obama over Billary, you must be a sexist. I mean, look at what the Clintons have done for women's rights and the progress of young women, especially vulnerable 21-year-old interns in blue dresses.
If you are a Republican, well, we all know that Republicans are mainly angry, white males with Bibles and guns (and not always in that order). But that is fine to say because Obama said it and of course an African-American is incapable of racism, sexism or any other –ism.
Now to the point…
Democrats, who would never dream of tolerating Sexism, Racism, anti-Semitism (as they or anyone else shouldn't), are fervently promoting Age-ism.
John McCain is being disparaged daily by Democrats for being…(hold your breath and cover your eyes)…too…(I can barely stand to type the word)…OLD!!!
(In the background a fading drum roll is heard, a hanging note from a piano falls hopelessly out of tune.)
Uh…what!? I know…I used the "O" word. I apologize in advance of those I have offended.
John McCain, who has spent a life serving his country, sacrificing his life and freedom, is too old. Not that he has experience, but that he is too old.
In all fairness, if McCain were elected, he would be the oldest President ever. But so what? John F. Kennedy, our nation's youngest President, had illnesses that prevented him from doing his job fully. Clearly, for the 70-year-old McCain, who recently hiked the Grand Canyon, he will have some limitations but no more than most people.
I like McCain's response to the barrage of superficial questions on the subject.
"I am older than dirt and have more scars than Frankenstein," McCain says. That is not quite as good as Ronald Reagan's rebuttal that torpedoed Mondale's 1984 campaign, but it's good.
No doubt, America has veneration for a youth culture.
Obama, nevertheless, is the embodiment of hope and change for the sake of change and our young people and the future and…all that other fluffy rot that should be dumped in a political tumbrel until something substantive can be alleged.
In the meantime, the Democrats will keep fanning the flames of Age-ism and offer empty idioms and feeble plans designed to confuse the voters by suggesting that this mature Maverick named McCain is yet another Bush term.
So what are you? A racist for supporting Billary? A sexist for supporting Obama?
Once Obama has the nomination in hand you will be free from your guilt and able to support Obama for hope and change. But, you better not support that aged senator from Arizona. He is old and crazy.
What a load of nonsense.
Here is a remarkable idea: think about which issues are important to you, your family, community, state and nation. Then vote for the person that satisfies your requirements despite their identity.
At this point, I cannot say how (and perhaps if) I am going to vote in November.
One thing is certain, though. I will vote based on my hopes and not my fears. And dread of a seasoned statesman will not drive me to the polls.
John W. Sutherlin, PhD, is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Louisiana-Monroe. He also is co-director at the ULM Social Science Research Lab. He can be reached by e-mailing Sutherlin@ulm.edu.