Thursday, May 8, 2008

Hard Working Americans

There was just an AP article posted that found that Senator Obama's support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans is weakening again and how the whites in both states who had not completed college were supporting me and in independents, I was running even with him and doing even better with Democratic-leaning independents. I have a much broader base to build a winning coalition on.” (Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY)

Put those words into the mouth of Newt Gingrich or Bill O’Reilly. Let your mind wander through the myriad social and political consequences if that had been, say, Dennis Hastert or even the GOP standard bearer, John McCain. Would it be okay with you? If you are a progressive and you say anything other than “no, it wouldn’t” you’re lying to yourself. You know what you would think and you would be correct. I’m going to give Senator Clinton the benefit of the doubt and state, outright, that I don’t believe that she is a racist in the sense that I do not believe that she considers blacks, as a group, to be somehow inferior to her. But it is decidedly racist, at its very core, to use the racism of others to your political advantage. Senator Clinton is betting the farm on going into the primaries in West Virginia, Virginia and Oregon and courting the votes of whites without education, banking on the idea that whites with less education are more likely to be racist.

“...working Americans, hard-working Americans, white Americans...” With these words, the cracks in the bravado started to show. Senator Clinton is an unmistakably intelligent human being and certainly a savvy and formidable political powerhouse. Which is why what she said and the way she said it is so unfortunate. Now, right up front, I am willing to grant some level of dignified wiggle room for the Senator. Again, I don’t think it can be carried so far to say that she dislikes or feels superior to black people. Now, all of us who are at all politically literate know that ‘blue collar Americans’ is a pseudonym for ‘white working-class Americans’. Everyone knows who is being talked about but not much objection is raised, typically, because the term is generic enough to not to necessarily exclude non-whites.

Then there is the conflation of “hard-working Americans” with “white Americans”. Again, recall that she’s talking about the demographics of her voting bloc. It is obvious to anyone who is even nominally aware of what is going on that blacks are overwhelmingly backing Obama. So there really was no need for her to throw in the construction “hard-working Americans” except to be found in the same neighborhood as “white Americans” where the two phrases my enjoy a couple of shots before, say, watching the Indianapolis 500. This is still not prima facie evidence of deliberateness on the part of Senator Clinton. It can even fairly be said that what she said was factually accurate, since the AP story does report more or less those facts. The issue here is not whether or not the main thrust of her argument, that whites with less education are voting for her, is factually correct or not.

Let’s move on and meditate upon the last part of this stunning quote: “I have a much broader base to build a winning coalition on.“ Here, I think our friend the Babelfish, from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, could come in handy. The subtext here is ”there are more whites than there are blacks and, well, do the math...“ Essentially she’s looking to encourage the very kind of thinking that we so desperately need to get beyond ”Hey you! In the Ford F250! Vote for me, whatever else the GOP can say about me, at least I’m white!“

Now, here’s the astonishing statement. I don’t think that Hillary Clinton was consciously thinking any of this when the words escaped her mouth nor do I think she was thinking about it when she said that blacks would come back to her in the general election. I think that this is one of those things we think about but typically filter. I try, very hard, to be non-racist and while some might say that blacks cannot be racist I would disagree. I have had thoughts that were decidedly racist about, for instance, Indians or Filipinos. But I catch myself when I’m thinking them and pull them out and try to examine where they come from so I do not allow them any quarter in my meme-space. I would be surprised if others did not find themselves having to do something similar. The point is that Hillary Clinton is tired, this has worn her down, she’s very surprised by what has happened to her campaign and seems unsure as to whether she is going to try to exit with as much grace as she possibly can or if she is going to attempt to go out in some kind of Götterdämmerung which ends up in some kind of Greek tragedy.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Journey to the Mac Side of the Force

I have had my Macbook Pro for a bit over a month now. I have been a Windows user since 1989 with occasional contact with the Macs owned by friends or employers. Since I had used them before and lusted after them, I have always thought that Macs were superior machines. Now, almost twenty years after I bought my first modern computer (a 486/16 with 16mb RAM and a 128mb hard drive) I have bought my first new Mac (I briefly had a Macbook in 1997 that I bought when my employer discontinued supporting Macs that year, but it was stolen a few months after I got it in a home break-in) and I am loving it!

Because this was a new purchase, I had to buy a lot of software. I purchased MacJournal, Notes, Bento, Quicken, eMedia Guitar Method, Photoshop Elements 6, Aperture, iWork, Personal Backup X5, Personal Antispam X5 and the ubiquitous Norton Anti-Virus, I also purchased an Apple Time Capsule. So I’ve spent quite a chunk of change. This is a chronicle of that journey from the Windows to the Mac side of the Force.

As any of my friends or my partner will tell you, I am somewhat obsessed with having a cool looking desktop. Now, finally, I have that cool desktop.

I’ve been thoroughly enjoying how things just work. So far I have jumped into doing digital photography and now I’m doing my blog more frequently.

MacJournal and iWeb have become my friends and soon I will work out Garage Band.