Thursday, May 17, 2012
These Are Not the Scott Browns You Seek
Pardon my incredulity, but the look-over-there game by the Scott Brown camp, plus the Boston Herald, is alternately puerile and insulting.
Perhaps to folk who either did not spend years, as I did, the segregated South, or who like to delude themselves into pretending that Massachusetts was free of racial bigotry, the Cherokee card is safe to play. Not to me.
By the bye, a good recap for those unaware of the manufactured controversy appears here.
What we have is a fill-in U.S. Senator, Brown, running for a full term against a Dem challenger. That's almost certainly Elizabeth Warren, but Marisa DeFranco is not about to cede the party primary. Regardless, Brown's camp figures it's Warren and has slandered the crap out of her, apparently hoping to avoid real issues.
Truth be told, Brown was a mediocre to lousy state legislator and has been no better as freshman Senator. He's voted the wrong way for Massachusetts almost every time. When he does appear to be, as he loves to say, independent, it has only been against the arch-conservative Republican (his party) position when his vote made no difference in the result.
His record is the issue.
Instead, the Herald columnists and news, highly partisan blogs like RedMassGroup, and such have made a stink in a brown, if you pardon, paper bag. I use that term with bitter recollection.
I am old enough to have lived in times and an era where the brown-paper-bag test was real. That is for African-Americans who wanted acceptance in white society or even to pass as white, for those who differentiated themselves by level of skin tone from blue-black (a.k.a. inferior) to au lait (welcome), colorism was real and nasty.
In Warren's case, it appears that as an Okie, she does have Cherokee ancestry. She's neither proud or ashamed of that. Speaking with her directly and on our Left Ahead show, I'm convinced that she and I share more than a birth state. Unlike Brown, she's honest...about herself, about her politics, about her background, about everything.
What Warren has mentioned, in passing, is that her family says she has a great grandparent who was Cherokee, making her 1/32nd Native American. As Rachel Maddow analyzed so well, that's it and that was enough for the elected head of the Cherokee Nation (click below).
Wingers apparently would much rather pretend that she was dishonest, which she certainly was not, or that being only part Native American is the issue here, which it is not.
To my history, I sigh and moan when I hear these distinctions. There was a time before I was born when the stereotype was that a single drop of "Negro" blood was enough to taint you. Now, we have apparently come full circle to where Brown's camp wants to say that if Warren is not full-blooded Cherokee, somehow she is unworthy to run against an Anglo for Senate. Huh?
To us former Southerners, this assault reeks of racism, of atavistic colorism, or irrational hatred. Stop it, Brown! The woman has some Cherokee heritage. So what? She never made a deal out of it nor profited from it. You need to be explaining, spinning your non-performance on the state level and lousy votes on the national one.