John McCain has accused Barak Obama of playing the race card. Traditionally, the race card has been used to frighten whites that their women, and jobs were going to be taken away from them, and that their kids would have to go to school with children who weren't like them. But since the rise to prominence of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, there is a variant of the race card which is almost the reverse of the first meaning. If you criticize anyone who is "of color" you will be instantly shot down as being a racist, which near as I can figure is only sightly more acceptable than pedophiles who murder their victims.
But I think that the times are ripe for a changing, and it may all just be due to Mr. Obama, even though he may not appreciate it at the moment. The perpetual victimhood that has always worked so well in the past can be turned against anyone who uses it, by pointing out that there is no affirmative action program for the Presidency. You are either able to do the job, or you are not. And to claim that anyone who criticizes you or your policies is a racist is a racist statement by itself.
So much for "postracial."
Of course, Obama is helping McCain in this regard by pretending to already be the President. His victory lap through Berlin where he said that he doesn't look like other Americans who have spoken in Berlin, and his latest that he doesn't look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills. How presumptuous! Not that he doesn't look like all those other people, or all those other men, he doesn't look like all those other PRESIDENTs?
But as Jake Tapper of ABC's The Note says:
There's a lot of racist xenophobic crap out there. But not only has McCain not peddled any of it, he's condemned it.
Back in February, McCain apologized for some questionable comments made by a local radio host. In April, he condemned the North Carolina Republican Party's ad featuring images of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
With one possible exception, I've never seen McCain or those under his control playing the race card or making fun of Obama's name -- or even mentioning Obama's full name, for that matter!
(The one exception was in March when McCain suspended a low-level campaign staffer for sending out to a small group of friends a link to a video that attempts to tie Obama not only to Wright but to the black power movement, rappers Public Enemy and Malcolm X.)
While I have no doubt there will be a bunch more racist, xenophobic, and other ignorant drek coming our way courtesy of the Internet and perhaps the occasional cable news network, it's important to determine where it's coming from. Is it from a specific campaign or party? A third-party group? A third-party group with direct ties to establishment figures? This all matters.
I've seen racism in campaigns before -- I've seen it against Obama in this campaign (more from Democrats than Republicans, at this point, I might add) and I've seen it against McCain in South Carolina in 2000, when his adopted Bangladeshi daughter Bridget was alleged, by the charming friends and allies of then-Gov. George W. Bush, to have been a McCain love-child with an African-American woman.
What I have not seen is it come from McCain or his campaign in such a way to merit the language Obama used today. Pretty inflammatory.
Obama's ability to avoid having to answer serious questions about how he is going to actually do what he says he wants to do is going to come to an end. Every time that he brings racism or fear up, McCain just has to reply: "Are you going to answer the question, or keep on dodging it?"