Thursday, October 9, 2008

Mona Charen's 'scarf fantasy'

An open letter to the Tennessean:

Recently Kathleen Parker of the National Review, one of The Tennessean's many syndicated conservative columnists, came to her senses and admitted in print that Sarah Palin is unqualified to serve as vice-president. Meanwhile , Mona Charen, another Republican columnist The Tennessean publishes, is still grinding the GOP axe about Michelle Obama and her "jaundiced" view of the USA. (see "Michelle Obama's jaundiced view of compassionate nation," The Tennessean, Thursday, October 9, 2008, p. 13A).

It's easy to suspect she is trying to change the subject and turn attention away from McCain's huge error in judgment and his willingness to risk the well-being of the country he loves in order to win his political campaign. But face it, first ladies don't become president if their husbands' become ill or, God forbid, die in office. Vice-presidents do. McCain's reckless choice leaves our nation with the possibility that a tragically unqualified person would become our next commander-in-chief.

Charen shows her desperation (and her Party's?) by wrapping this worn out Republican saw about Michelle Obama in a bizarre fantasy about why people were so nice to her (Charen) while she was wearing a scarf! The columnist opines that the reason everyone was so nice was that they thought she was a Muslim.

Get real. No wonder this lady has trouble identifying with the concerns of Michelle Obama and other women of color.

As for her other fantasy, that all United States citizens are bending over backwards to reach out with compassion to Muslims and others who are different from them, perhaps she should talk to Juana Villegas, 33, an immigrant, with no criminal record, whom Nashville's sheriff handcuffed to her bed during labor after she was stopped and jailed recently for a traffic violation.

Finally, and this really deserves another letter, but the political caricature of Michelle Obama about which Ms. Charen's scarf fantasy was wrapped went way over the line. It reminds me of the dehumanizing caricatures of the Irish which were published in England during the Irish Famine and the equally dehumanizing caricatures of African Americans published here in the U.S. during slavery times and throughout the Jim Crow era. Shame, shame on the artist... Shame, shame on the Tennessean for publishing it.

And don't bring up that other right wing whine about "political correctness." I'm talking about respecting human dignity not political correctness. Political figures are appropriate targets for caricatures. It is not appropriate or even decent to publish demeaning caricatures of candidates' wives.