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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 8/13/08

John McCain Stands With Bigots and Racists

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Message Ron Fullwood
How pathetic is it to watch John McCain struggle to accept Barack Obama as an accomplished legislator? Time and time again, throughout this campaign, McCain has insisted on portraying his Democratic rival for the presidency as anything but an educated, accomplished and dedicated public servant.

The Arizona senator began his campaign against Obama by questioning his patriotism and insisting that his colleague from Illinois' thoughtful and sincere opposition to the occupation-without-end is, somehow, less patriotic than the quagmire McCain has opportunistically committed his potential presidency to continuing for 100 more years.

Jealous of the overwhelmingly positive response Obama received during the overseas trip that he had challenged him to make (hoping for some kind of embarrassment), McCain could only explain the senator's success by insisting the support came from Obama's 'celebrity,' rather than from support for the different approaches from McCain's White House mentors that the Illinois legislator communicated with his speeches and policy pronouncements to a public eager for the political change his candidacy represents.

Using terms like ''Messiah'' and suggesting, as he did today, that voters support Barack Obama because he's 'dreamy' is a blatant insult of the millions of voters who have chose him to carry their concerns to the presidency, not the least of who comprise some 90% of the black community.

Instead of giving this black legislator the credit he deserves for capturing the attention and imagination of the tens of millions of Americans who voted for his historic nomination, McCain has chosen to treat his Senate peer in a manner which is more akin to racists and bigots than the collegiate respect practiced by our national legislators and afforded by McCain to the majority of the white senators and legislators he has served with.

Where, in McCain's entire career, has he represented any of his other Senate colleagues as mere 'celebrities?'

Where, in McCain's entire career has he voluntarily recognized any advancement of any black American, much less the historic achievement of Barack Obama in capturing a record amount of votes to advance to the nomination of his party?

The begrudging manner in which he acknowledges Obama's candidacy and the disparaging manner in which he describes the Illinois legislator speaks to his complete lack of respect and utter contempt for his Democratic rival. McCain did his best to acknowledge the worth of his Democratic rival as he talked down to the Urban League about his opposition to affirmative action and his affinity for patronizing school vouchers which wouldn't cover the cost of tuition, even if there were enough private schools available to absorb the millions of disadvantaged children the Urban League is concerned with.

"Don't tell him I said this, but he is an impressive fellow in many ways," McCain told the crowd, before completely dismissing the substance and weight of Obama's record and agenda.

In McCain's vision of America, there is no place or plan to respect or accept ideas, initiatives, and personalities which differ from his own narrow, privileged view. That's not exclusive to McCain. The entire class of republican legislators, who have allowed Bush to subvert the democracy they so arrogantly pretend to support and defend, have been driven to either admit fault or failure for the administration's reckless militarism and squandering of our hard work and sacrifices, or, as most have resigned themselves, to convince us to blunder even further ahead in the hope that new catastrophes will obscure the old ones.

But, for most of us, there is an overwhelming desire to move to enact the changes that we've been pressing for decades -- in the care of our community and individuals; in justice; and in the way we project abroad whatever power, influence and help our nation possesses. And, for a growing number of Americans, it's become more than evident that a disproportionate number of those individuals who've managed to achieve positions of power and influence within our nation's governing and legislative institutions are not representative of most of the nation's communities-at-large.

There are certainly more minorities and women in Congress than there were just less than thirty years ago. Yet, there is still a disproportionate number of white males who dominate those positions of power and influence in our government. And, although it's certainly not a given that the proliferation of white males is incapable of representing our growing minority population, the actual fruits of such representation in legislation, reform, and other initiatives have not been forthcoming from our national institutions.

From where I sit, blacks in America, as a political force still cannot control the agenda to positively affect the issues which have a disproportionate impact on their world, as they see fit. Although there is the obvious need of legislators and leaders who appeal to voters across the racial, social, and political lines which divide us, many whites don't see a great need to make broad appeals to the black community, and, consequently, the needs and concerns of blacks are often ignored. Black Americans have a real need for candidates who aren't afraid to say to black voters, I'm one of you and I recognize, understand, and will actively and directly respond to your practical concerns.

It's no accident that the majority of issues which Democrats have been pressing for, and represent the change they aspire to, are integral to those black communities and individuals whose voice has been muffled by an indifferent majority in power.

I'm not going to take a back seat to the divisive politics McCain seems to think is funny. Almost everyone, except McCain (and the racists and bigots among us), has reflected on the historic nature of Barack Obama's candidacy and has taken the time to acknowledge that this black man has more than enough intelligence and qualification to stand shoulder to shoulder with past presidents from both sides of the aisle.

It will not be lost on voters, who are well accustomed to respecting and acknowledging the worth and qualification of individuals they live and work with in their increasingly diverse communities, that John McCain does not view Barack Obama as his equal. Those familiar with McCain's record as a legislator will take notice of his stubborn refusal to acknowledge, even, the accomplishments and worth of one of the greatest black Americans of our time in his repeated rejection of the recognition of Martin Luther's birthday as a national or state holiday.

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Ron Fullwood, is an activist from Columbia, Md. and the author of the book 'Power of Mischief' : Military Industry Executives are Making Bush Policy and the Country is Paying the Price
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