A few days ago, I read a column by Kathleen Parker. It was offensive and racist, but since I read it at Town Hall and have a bad memory for names, I thought she was just one of those Town Hall lunatics, and didn't bother to write about it. But then, reading Glenn Greenwald this morning, I discovered that she is published in the Washington Post, where her column today begins:
"Well, at least they didn't kiss.
I was bracing myself for the lip lock Wednesday when John Edwards endorsed Barack Obama."
Don't bother to read the rest: it's just one veiled insinuation after another, without any substance at all. Just ask yourself: why does the Washington Post publish this woman? Moreover, why does it syndicate her columns? Googling for the first column - the one I haven't gotten to yet -- I discovered that thanks to the Washington Post Writers' Group, it ran all over the place: in the Baltimore Sun, the Chicago Tribune, all sorts of places. Here's what all those lucky people got to read:
""A full-blooded American."
That's how 24-year-old Josh Fry of West Virginia described his preference for Sen. John McCain over Sen. Barack Obama. His feelings aren't racist, he explained. He would just be more comfortable with "someone who is a full-blooded American as president." Whether Mr. Fry was referring to Mr. McCain's military service or Mr. Obama's Kenyan father isn't clear [ed. note: hahahahahaha], but he may have hit upon something essential in this presidential race.
Full-bloodedness is an old coin that's gaining currency in the new American realm. Meaning: Politics may no longer be so much about race and gender as about heritage, core values and made-in-America. Just as we once had and still have a cultural divide in this country, we now have a patriot divide. (...)
It's about blood equity, heritage and commitment to hard-won American values. And roots. (...)
We love to boast that we are a nation of immigrants - and we are. But there's a different sense of America among those who trace their bloodlines back through generations of sacrifice. (...)
The "guns, God and gays" trope has haunted Democrats, and Republicans have enjoyed dusting it off when needed to rile the locals. It's an easy play.
But so-called ordinary Americans aren't so easily manipulated, and they don't need interpreters. They can spot a poser a mile off, and they have a hound's nose for snootiness. They've got no truck with people who condescend or tolerance for that down-the-nose glance from people who don't know the things they know.
What they know is that their forefathers fought and died for an America that has worked pretty well for more than 200 years. What they sense is that their heritage is being swept under the carpet while multiculturalism becomes the new national narrative. And they fear what else might get lost in the remodeling of America.
Republicans more than Democrats seem to get this, though Sen. Hillary Clinton has figured it out. And, the truth is, Mrs. Clinton's own DNA is cobbled with many of the same values that rural and small-town Americans cling to.
She understands viscerally what Mr. Obama has to study."
Forefathers? Bloodlines? DNA?
Here's a little experiment. I, like Barack Obama, am the child of one parent who was born in America, and one who came here from overseas; like Barack Obama, I was born and raised in this country. Do you think Kathleen Parker would have written this column about me -- about how, despite being born and raised here, I "have to study" American values, how I don't have sufficient "blood equity" in this country, how I don't have the right values 'in my DNA', and so forth -- because my mother is Swedish? I don't.
Here's another experiment: imagine this same column written about a candidate whose father was a Jew who had come here from Eastern Europe and married an American. Imagine that Kathleen Parker wrote that this candidate wasn't a "full-blooded American", that his DNA wasn't "cobbled with" the right values, that because only one of his parents was from this country, and only half his ancestors had fought and died for it, he just didn't have the right "bloodlines" to be President. Does anyone doubt for a moment that that would be antisemitic? I don't.
If I wanted to get into bloodlines, I might note that Barack Obama's grandfather fought in Patton's army, or that he's related to Dick Cheney and Brad Pitt. But I don't. American values are not passed on by blood. They are not found in anyone's DNA. Barack Obama was born and raised here. He doesn't "have to study" American values.
Kathleen Parker, on the other hand, could stand to brush up on them. And so could the Washington Post. They should be ashamed of themselves.