Monday, August 21, 2006

Language of Hate: Somebody is going to have to explain to me this hatred of Sen. George Allen. I know the Virginia Republican is running for president, which makes him open to scrutiny, but rarely is anyone raked over the coals for such insignificant garbage.

The latest drama is his use of some possibly obscure racial slur, "macaca". Hardly anyone has ever heard of this word. And when you see the junior senator from Virginia use it, it's obvious he had never heard of it as an epithet either. If you have to pull out a book on obscure African translations to be offended by an insult, then frankly it doesn't count.

Senator Allen had the misfortune of making an entertaining gaffe during the month of August -- when absolutely nothing is going on. Sen. Biden said something much worse, politically at least, with his 7-Eleven comment, but nobody cared.

And the whole "Welcome to America" remark is just an old politician's trick to say, "Where you're from doesn't count as real America." Texans say it to Californians. Californians say it to Texans. Both are wrong, because both are part of America. Inside the Beltway and out, we're all Americans, so please leave the canned political insults out of the conversation.

But the hatred of Senator Allen runs deeper than that. He is constantly being accused of racism, and for no good reason. He has actually pushed a number of bills through Congress to help minorities, including legislation to provide funding for historically black colleges and universities, Hispanic serving institutions, and tribal colleges so those institutions can update their technology infrastructures. There's a digital divide between mainstream colleges and minority-serving institutions. He's been trying to help alleviate that.

Regardless of his legislative record, though, the evidence Allen-haters use to prove he's racist is pathetically scant.

George Allen is a rich boy from southern California who later in life adopted the southern ways of boots, dip, and honky tonk. That's kind of sad, really, and makes him a bit of a poser. But some people believe that because he emulates southern culture, he must be a racist deep in his heart.

To be a racist because you were raised in a racist family in the Deep South is one thing, racist by choice is a bit worse.
The only evidence this guy comes up with is that Allen wishes he could live the life found in country music videos. Others back up that sentiment here.

As a Texan myself, I find such overgeneralizations of the South offensive. It's also a bit ironic. Anybody who says that all southerners are prejudiced is making an extremely prejudiced statement.

The only other thing critics have pointed out is that years ago George Allen appeared with a Confederate flag. Yeah, well, so did Billy Idol. Once upon a time not so long ago, the Confederate flag was not considered racist. I still wish it weren't, but that's another matter.

Now that Allen is the new conservative target, he's often compared to George W. Bush. In fact, George Allen is being called "Bush without the brains," which I find hilarious. The Left is finally realizing that President Bush is an intelligent guy after all, now that it's too late. I certainly cannot agree with many of Bush's policy choices, but he has been underestimated his entire political career, and that just helps him succeed. Now Allen is getting the same treatment. Just as Bush was simultaneously accused of being an incompetent and an evil mastermind, Allen was supposedly dumb enough to use a racial slur with which only a sophisticated linguist would ever be familiar.


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