McCain takes Michigan, and all that jazz.
I was born and raised in a suburb of Detroit; an all-white suburb. I have a sister who still lives there, in that same all-white suburb.
If you were to suggest to her that she has even one bigoted cell in her body, you’d be in for a scathing rebuttal. Nonetheless, when her 20-year-old daughter, convicted of a third DUI, was sentenced to time in Wayne County jail, my sister was apoplectic: “She doesn’t belong in there, with ‘those’ people!” By those people, she meant “the blacks;” how the good citizens in the surrounding communities refer to the African-Americans who overwhelmingly compose the population of Detroit. That “other” term is no longer politically available for use.
In her defense, without engaging details that are no one’s business, my niece grew up in a home where her father visited extraordinary domestic abuse on the structure of the house, the family, and my sister; an environment that no child should be raised in. Nascent anger and abuse of alcohol, as a minimum, by the young woman could have been predicted. However, that is also every bit as true of those who did not grow up in the suburbs, who grew up in the violence of Detroit’s urban core. But those who were and are raised “there,” who were not racially one of the suburban good citizens get no such pass for misdeeds. They go to jail. They go directly to jail. They don’t pass ‘Go.’ They don’t collect $200.00.
And for the majority of the good citizens in the state, that’s not only all right, it’s as it should be. Indeed, it was Dearborn’s long-serving and many times reelected mayor, Orville Hubbard, who cruised to every election victory on the unabashed pledge to “keep Dearborn white.” For those who do not know, Dearborn abuts Detroit, is the world headquarters of Ford Motor Company, and is yet the site of the world’s largest auto manufacturing plant, the Ford Rouge.
It was the UAW and the other industrial unions that integrated the workplace. Neither the UAW nor any other union had or have the capacity to change social mores, however.
Political pundits have correctly described Michigan as a blue-collar state; code for not especially socially advanced or well educated, which translates as high school only — the base of John McCain’s support.
It doesn’t matter that the Arizona senator has a philandering past, or that Senator Obama’s lacks the first hint of anything short of steadfast fidelity to his wife and to his daughters.
It doesn’t matter that John McCain ditched one beauty who turned out not to be pretty enough, or wealthy enough, in order to wed one who evidently fit those categories exceptionally well.
It doesn’t matter that John McCain was a child of privilege, getting into private schools and the Naval Academy that were exclusively the result of who his grandfather and father was, or that Barack Obama’s educational excellence was by dint of his personal excellence and student loans.
It doesn’t matter that Senator McCain has been caught repeatedly in lies and his positions have been muddled and meandering across the map, while those of his opponent have been without the taint intentional falsification, and have been fairly consistent and thoughtfully composed.
It doesn’t matter that, contrary to his loud postulations of support of the military, Senator McCain has absolutely voted 100% of the time against the health and safety of America’s soldiers and marines, and against expansion or improvement of veterans’ health and educational benefits, or that Senator Obama has consistently voted for the health and safety of those serving actively and for expansion and improvement of all veterans’ benefits.
It doesn’t even matter that Senator McCain has voted with President Bush 95% of the time, or that those votes have inured to the terrible detriment of Americans individually and collectively, or that his espoused policies are the figment of fiction, that they augur to no improvement in any circumstance of any citizen not among the super wealthy. Individually and collectively we are worse off than we were seven and one-half years ago and via McCain nothing is likely to get better!
Nope. None of that matters. Because in Michigan, and in the other Rust-belt states like it, and in the South, while few will openly confess to racial bigotry, they fish the muddied waters of their souls for explanations — “I just don’t trust Obama,” or, “He doesn’t have the ‘experience,’” though they just can’t seem to define that term with anything approaching precision — why they will not support the Illinois senator and why they do support John McCain.
But you and I know: Barack Obama is one of “those” people. And in the seclusion of the voting booth . . . Well, we just can’t have one of “those” people running the country.
— Ed Tubbs