What up blog world?! I’m Will Canine and I’m honored to be posting for the first time ever here at 24percent–not sure I’m worthy, but that’s what happens when you know the admin of a fine blog like this one as long as I’ve known Mal. I’m hoping to make this a regular thing, posting west-coast style commentary about national politics and campaign strategy, grassroots and youth movements, and white America’s struggle with “diversity” from my stomping grounds here in Washington state. I’m excited to join this community of cutting-edge progressive thought–here we go!
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R – SC) offered a newsworthy re-hash of the GOP’s talking points on Judge Sonia Sotomayor yesterday, adding a distinctive whine to the ridiculously radicalized cheese we’ve been getting from Tom Tancredo, Rush Limbaugh and the rest. Without meaning to, Sen. Graham shed light on the GOP’s real reason for resenting Sotomyor’s “wise Latina” comment: that race as an issue no longer works for the GOP.
Talking to the Washington Post, Graham complained that he could not have made the type of remark Judge Sotomayor made, one that asserts a non-white male race and gender identity as a positive quality in a federal judge. “If I said it,” spoke Graham, “it would be over for me. No matter how well-intentioned I was and no matter how much I tried to put it in context, that would be it.’ And you all know that.” Well, probably Senator, but just because your constituency is one of the most racist in the country. For the rest of us, statements like Judge Sotomayor’s that point to diversity as a source of social wisdom just make sense.
Why can’t the GOP and Senator Graham get it?
Since 1968 and Nixon’s Southern Strategy, positive polarization on the issue of race has been a hallmark of the Republican strategy. And not without reason; playing on whites’ fear of a racially diverse society has won them many an election. Sen. Graham knows this from personal experience — without Strom Thurmond campaigning for him and inserting race into his 1992 campaign for congress, he wouldn’t have stood a chance in a district that hadn’t elected a Republican congressman in four decades. The LA riots and the importance of affirmative action in the Clinton v. Bush I presidential election brought the issue to the fore in still-segregated S.C. and made his race strategy work. But now, as the American electorate becomes increasingly diverse and progressive, racial issues have begun to work against politicians like Graham, and he’s mad.
Barack Obama and Judge Sonia Sotomayor represent a new kind of racial politics that values diversity and inclusion rather than in-group favoritism and bigotry. This is what Tom Tancredo didn’t understand when he called the National Council of La Raza “the Latino KKK” and what the GOP in general just cant get — talking about race doesn’t make you racist. They need to stop projecting; just because racial inclusion has never been part of Republican talking points doesn’t mean its not a great idea (and most people think that’s a pretty sure way to know it is a great idea).
Americans are recognizing that our future is brown, in the Richard Rodriguez sense. We are moving forward and accepting our racial diversity, accentuating it as a strength and looking to the future together.
“Being an average, every-day white guy … that does not exactly make me feel good,” Sen. Graham said today. Its too bad, because my white guilt-laden heart is feeling great.