Concerned Educators Speak Out Regarding McCain/Palin Campaign Stoking "The Fires of Racism"

Very much worth the read: Concerned Educators Speak Out Regarding McCain/Palin Campaign Stoking "The Fires of Racism"


This statement is signed by research faculty of communication programs from across the nation. We speak as concerned educators and scholars of communication but do not claim to speak for our home institutions.

We wish to express our great concern over unethical communication behavior that threatens to dominate the closing days of the 2008 Presidential campaign.
It would be misleading, however, to imply that since “both sides do it” there is no qualitative difference worth noting. In recent weeks, the Republican ticket of John McCain and Sarah Palin has engaged in such incendiary mendacity that we must speak out. The purposeful dissemination of messages that a communicator knows to be false and inflammatory is unethical. It is that simple.

Making decisions in a democracy requires an informed electorate. The health of our democracy and our ability to make a good decision about who should lead our nation require the very best in communication practices, not the worst.
We see an effort to color code the election as between an urban, African-American Obama falsely linked to terms like “terrorist,” “unpatriotic,” and “welfare” versus small town, white, “patriotic” Americans like the mythical Joe the Plumber. “Intended” or not, the message is getting through, as reports have emerged of ugly scenes at some Republican rallies and racists hanging Obama in effigy in Oregon and Ohio. In an echo of McCarthyism, Representative Michelle Bachmann has called for investigations into un-American members of Congress, pointing to Senator Obama as the prime suspect. Speaking to warm up the crowd before a McCain rally, Representative Robin Hayes continued the theme: “Folks, there’s a real America, and liberals hate real Americans that work, and accomplish, and achieve, and believe in God.” The official website of the Sacramento County Republican Party compared Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama to terrorist leader Osama bin Laden and urged people to “Waterboard Barack Obama.” The October newsletter of the Chaffey Community Republican Women in California depicts Obama on a food stamp surrounded by a watermelon, ribs, and a bucket of fried chicken. The McCain/Palin campaign has not repudiated such actions taken on its behalf, nor has it done enough to respond to reprehensible behavior at rallies.4

The McCain/Palin campaign and its surrogates, of course, will deny explicit racism. But their purposeful repetition of inflammatory false statements is unethical and stokes the fires of racism.

The fact that even now, in 2008, we still have people living in this country who believe that the color of one's skin ought to be a determining factor in evaluating a person's intelligence, integrity, character and ability to hold public office makes me IRATE. I am intolerant of their intolerance!


To Do List.

Clean the bathroom
Organize Anja's room and get rid of a lot of junk
Organize filing system in our bedroom
Replace light fixture in laundry room
Clean basement, ugh
Take out garbage and recycling and compost
Pay bills
Drop clothes off at Berk's
Enter rest of quotes into quote database
Go pants shopping
Get Anja more socks
Buy stuff to make patio
Buy drinks for people who are making patio
Figure out about transferring money from Euro bank account
Get/make Anja's Halloween costume
Order heating oil
Order balance bars and contact lenses and contact solution
Order fair-trade coffee pods

Reading List
1 issue National Geographic
3 issues Rolling Stone
2 books on combat-related PTSD
anxiety workbook
The Evolution of Language
Little Brother
Lapham's Quarterly

I need more hours in the day... failing that, more days in the week. Failing that... I guess I just keep slipping further behind. /sigh


Sarah Palin makes me angry.

I know, it's been weeks again since I've written anything. I'm-a-gonna work on it, promise. :)

Anyway, I just came across this article. It's a couple weeks old, but it sums up so much of what's wrong with Palin as a serious political candidate, and how insulting her selection is, to women in this country. Intelligent women, who know they could do a better job than she is doing.

From the article:

At least three times last night, Sarah Palin, the adorable, preposterous vice-presidential candidate, winked at the audience. Had a male candidate with a similar reputation for attractive vapidity made such a brazen attempt to flirt his way into the good graces of the voting public, it would have universally noted, discussed and mocked. Palin, however, has single-handedly so lowered the standards both for female candidates and American political discourse that, with her newfound ability to speak in more-or-less full sentences, she is now deemed to have performed acceptably last night.


In pronouncing upon a debate, they don't try and determine whether a candidate's responses correspond to existing reality, or whether he or she is capable of talking about subjects such as the deregulation of the financial markets or the devolution of the war in Afghanistan. The criteria are far more vaporous. In this case, it was whether Palin could avoid utterly humiliating herself for 90 minutes, and whether urbane commentators would believe that she had connected to a public that they see as ignorant and sentimental. For the Alaska governor, mission accomplished.


It's worth reading the transcript of the encounter, where it becomes clearer how bizarre much of what she said was. Here, for example, is how she responded to Biden's comments about how the middle class has been short-changed during the Bush administration, and how McCain will continue Bush's policies:
Say it ain't so, Joe, there you go again pointing backwards again. You preferenced [sic] your whole comment with the Bush administration. Now doggone it, let's look ahead and tell Americans what we have to plan to do for them in the future. You mentioned education, and I'm glad you did. I know education you are passionate about with your wife being a teacher for 30 years, and god bless her. Her reward is in heaven, right? ... My brother, who I think is the best schoolteacher in the year, and here's a shout-out to all those third graders at Gladys Wood Elementary School, you get extra credit for watching the debate.

I mean, seriously. What the fuck. She makes no sense, she tries to rely on charm, and she manages to make an awful lot of people feel both angry and insulted, all at the same time. Ugh.