Sunday, March 9, 2008

When Bigots Think Out Loud

As soon as most of us (or at least I) presumed that perhaps the masses were beyond racial and religious stereotypes in this election, and that people were finally listening to a candidate's positions and ideals rather than focusing on their exteriors, I was disillusioned.

Republican Congressman Steve King said yesterday that if Senator Barack Obama was elected president, terrorists would "dance in the streets" at his victory. It may have been able to pass as thoughtful criticism if he just focused on Obama's view of the war, and cited the Senator's plans to withdraw troops as the reason for his opinion. The Congressman, however, further supported his prediction with the mention of Obama's middle name, "Hussein", his father's heritage, and his appearance.

The Senator then said: "I'll just say this that when you think about the optics of a Barack Obama potentially getting elected President of the United States -- and I mean, what does this look like to the rest of the world? What does it look like to the world of Islam?"

What Barack Obama looks like to the rest of the world is a Black progress, passionate idealism, and the absolute example of the melting pot culture and tradition that this country is molded of. The fact that the most powerful nation in the world could possibly be ruled by someone that doesn't portray what we've been taught were the physical and popular characteristics of power and progress seems terrifying to conservative White men like Steve King.

Obama is not a threat to the country, but to him.

The implication that the world will see Obama's difference as America's weakness is bigoted and flawed, in that it perpetuates that a particular religion, physical characteristic, and culture are destructive to the United States of America and the view and the respect that the world holds of it.

Obama's spokesperson Bill Burton stated, “These comments have no place in our politics, and we hope Senator McCain will repudiate them like he has previous offensive comments from his supporters.”

McCain's camp responded: "Our position on this is very clear. We are against the kind of politics that divide and degrade people in the process."

Steve King continues to support his statements.

-Wayetu Moore

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