Monday, October 20, 2008

"I hear he's an Arab"

Here is an incident, by now old-hat in the US, which readers of this blog might find interesting if they haven't heard about it already.

At a McCain rally, an elderly woman supporter refers to Obama with fear in her voice: "I hear he's a.. he's a... he's an Arab". And McCain responds "No ma'am, he's a decent family man."

Here's the video.

Now on watching this I actually felt a pang of sympathy for the poor woman - she was ignorant and afraid. I even felt a (smaller) pang of sympathy for McCain, whose innate decency prevailed and who actually believed he was defending his opponent's values.

One feels less sympathy though, for the endemic, institutionalised bigotry in this country. Barack Obama has not even been able to respond to comments about his middle name "Husein" in the only way that would be civilised - yes, that's my middle name, and it's a Muslim name, and I'm not ashamed of it. To say this in America would, alas, be the end of his election campaign.

So what else is new, and why am I bothering to state the obvious? I really don't know.

P.S. Yesterday in this speech Colin Powell delivered a ringing endorsement of Obama that is being called the "Nail in the Coffin" for the Republican campaign. Interestingly in the opening minutes of this excerpt he addresses head-on the issue of Republicans implying there's something wrong with being an Arab or a Muslim in America.

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