Or, On Political Firsts
In 1984 if my name had been Gerald Ferraro, not Geraldine, I would never have gotten nominated
Geraldine Ferraro has nothing to lose. Sadly, since 1998 she's been
suffering from an incurable blood disease which, in all likelihood, will claim
her life before anything else will. The 72-year old former Congresswoman and
first female Vice-Presidential candidate has always been known for her candor.
Last week, in typical Ferraro fashion, she laid out a point about the Democrat race
for the Presidential nomination that has been sitting around like a huge purple elephant in one's
living room, but that nobody's had the courage to point out.
The media, always on the lookout for sensationalism, has proven that they're
not the bunch of liberal yellow-journalists that spokespeople from the far right
accuse them of being. They indeed skewered Ms. Ferraro, a Democrat, for (heaven
forbid!) playing the "race card" yet again on behalf of Senator Hillary
Clinton. The first one to do so was President Bill Clinton in regrettable
remarks he made in the South.
Indeed, Senator Barack Obama is black (or, choose your favorite: a)
"African-American," b) "person of color," or even in the words (now archaic and
provocative) of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. a c) "negro.") Senator Obama
is (with apologies to Shirley Chisholm and Jesse Jackson) the first viable
black candidate for President in the history of the nation. Ms. Ferraro,
discussing Senator Obama's success in the primaries and qualifications in
general for the office of President, said in a recent interview:
If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position. And if
he was a woman, he would not be in this position. He happens to be very
lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept.
Ms. Ferraro tendered her resignation as a lead fund-raiser for the Clinton
campaign today. She continues, however, to support Senator Clinton. Ms.
Ferraro's resignation was voluntary and not requested by the Clinton
organization. Senator Clinton apologized to her black supporters in typical
Clinton fashion, “regrettable that any of our supporters — on both sides because
we both have this experience — say things that kind of veer off into the
"Kind of," said Senator Clinton. "Kind of?!" Ms. Ferraro's comments were
indeed personal, and essentially painted Senator Obama as being
less-than-Presidential-material would that he were a white male. Had Senator
Obama or someone high up in his campaign organization accused Senator Clinton of
getting as far as she has because (and this is a fact) there are people of both
sexes voting for her for the sole reason that she's female, Obama would
have a whole lot of explaining to do. And shame on the people who're voting
Clinton merely because she is a woman and shame on the people who're voting for
Obama merely because one of his parents is black.
I'll give you an example of something that "kind of" veers off into the
personal. I've criticized Senator Clinton's crying-on-cue, and have accused many
of her supporters of doing so merely "because she has a vagina." Does that "kind
of" veer off into the personal, or is that tasteless, sexist and unforgiving?
Well, guess what, if you don't know me by now, I am, indeed, tasteless and
unforgiving, and have been known to be sexist at times, and have said some very,
very unsavory things about black people, most particularly Rev. Al Sharpton
whose actions have done nothing to advance the cause of those who suffer racism.
I have also been very negatively outspoken about certain aspects of
African-American contemporary culture and why they encourage racial division
instead of racial equality.
We are persons, for Heaven's sake. It was my belief that
somewhere along the way we decided that racism and sexism were wrong. Long ago,
legislation which underscores that racism and sexism will not be tolerated under
the laws of the United States was passed. It is my belief that when we refer to
a "person," we no longer note the color of their skin. The sexism issue's a
little more difficult if a person's name is given when a quote is attributed to
Ms. Ferraro's rationale for her statement reeks of sour grapes. She told
The New York Times today “In 1984 if my name had been Gerald Ferraro, not
Geraldine, I would never have gotten nominated,” she said. “Was I qualified?
Well, the voters in 1984 determined that neither Walter Mondale nor
Ms. Ferraro were qualified to the voters' satisfaction. However, back in 1984 I, for one, thought it
thrilling that Ms. Ferraro had a chance to pave the way for women into the
Oval Office, someday. I am absolutely thrilled that Barack Obama
is an articulate, very bright, charismatic candidate for President. For me it's
merely an added plus that his color may add to his ability to once again unify
this nation which since its founding has been burdened by racism and for eight long years and probably longer has been fractured
politically, thanks in most part to my own party's desertion of its basic tenets
and affiliation with those who'd do away with the separation of church and
Senator Obama's campaign is guilty, as well, of playing the race card; and
he's been less than apologetic when his campaign staff does. Worse, the
Senator's wife really put her foot in her mouth when she announced, essentially,
that she'd not been proud of her country for the first 45 years of her life. No,
indeed, not until her husband was given a shot at the Presidency did she feel
proud of her country. Sadly, all but a few of our favorite right-wing radio talk show hosts have given that any coverage. The same newspapers
that're jumping down Geraldine Ferraro's throat because she said what she did
decided that a lack of patriotism wasn't as grievous a personality deficit as
racism. Well, perhaps not. I invite, however, those who hate life in the United States to move elsewhere and attempt to prosper as easily as so many immigrants and born citizens have here.
The bottom line is this: while I may not go as far as demanding reparations
for slavery, I certainly think it's about time a black person is elected
President. This is because the black person who happens to be running for
President is indeed qualified. But more important, it'll be a wake-up call to
those who harbor the most insidious kind of racism; the subtle kind. Overt
racism is indeed a sign of overt stupidity. It's the legions of people who
chuckle a little at "nigger" jokes, who'll allow someone behind them in a
customer service line to pass so that they get the white representative and not
the black one - aw, hell, I could go on and on. It's
the new millennium and come hell or high water the political landscape is going
to change. And better now than four, eight, or twelve years from now.
Oh, I forgot to mention; Senator Clinton is white.