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Election 2008: Guess What Issues Are Coming To Dinner?

Driftglass made a poignant point the other day that is worth amplifying on the eve of the next wave of primaries and worth more discussion well before the general election:

This movie was released forty years ago.


In that time, children have become fathers. Fathers have become grandpas. And grandpas have gone to their graves.

And yet between fathers and sons — and white-haired pastors and dark-haired parishioners — we cannot seem to stop having the same, fierce argument.

When the Rev. Wright issues first started coming to the fore, Pam Spaulding had a great post on the day of the Obama Philadelphia speech, wherein she asked some questions that really apply equally as much to gender issues in a lot of ways as race, questions that have not begun to be addressed:

They are questions I’ve asked in one way or another in various posts on race matters. As an exercise, take a crack at this modified list.

* Do you believe that political consultants use subtle and overt racism to score points because it works, and that the end justifies the means? Is that good for our society, or does it matter?

* Do you think that some white people are uncomfortable when race comes up in the presidential race, from either campaign or surrogates? Why?

* Do you think that the uncomfortability of discussions about racism and implicit bias causes a shutdown of honest dialog about it in the progressive movement?

* Does the potential defensive reaction of blacks toward broaching the topic of race inhibit at all? What personal incidents inform that judgment – and is it fair to apply that to all black people?

* Does the fear of being perceived as racist or patronizing outweigh the benefits of addressing honest questions we have about the effect of race?

I earlier wrote about the so-called Archie Bunker voter phenomenon that Bloomberg news was touting as a dividing line in the Democratic party. I think it is a much more complex division than that convenient shorthand, but I have to wonder how we are ever going to cross all of these internal barriers if no one is ever willing to take them out and look at their own internal prejudices? How do we start these conversations — because we need to have them well before November.

As Jane wrote all the way back in January, these issues are going to go prime time, whether we are ready for them or not.

The GOP is already making certain of that. And the media sure as hell isn’t going to get these conversations started on their own…not if what we’ve seen the last few weeks is any indication. (That goes for Latino issues as well — the GOP is an equal opportunity party, after all.) Although John Harwood at least gives it a little nudge with this piece from Sunday, it’s not nearly enough.

Until we at least start having these discussions, I’m afraid we cannot get back to the ties that bind…what do you all think?

PS — For our Indiana and North Carolina readers: how are things looking for your primaries tomorrow? What’s the news as you are seeing it?

(YouTube from Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner)

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com