Last Friday night (10 October 2008), at a high school gymnasium in Lakeville Minnesota, John McCain was addressing a campaign rally that began to get out of hand with denunciations of Senator Obama.
At one point McCain passed his wireless microphone to a volunteer who said, “I can't trust Obama. I have read about him and he's not, he's not uh — he's an Arab. He's not — " before McCain retook the microphone and replied:
“No, ma'am. He's a decent family man [and] citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues and that's what this campaign's all about. He's not [an Arab].”
It is heartening to see John McCain beginning to tamp down many of the outrageous outbursts and mistruths but on this issue he left himself with ambiguity and questions about his view of Arabs. The woman said, “He’s an Arab!” to which John McCain said, “No, ma'am. He's a decent family man…”
McCain appears to enforce the view that Arabs are indecent people that you cannot trust.
Supporters of McCain may say that McCain’s affirmation of Obama’s decency was made to counter the earlier assertion about trustworthiness but many times in this campaign McCain has himself challenged Obama’s honesty and hammered away at this issue of trust.
We all say things or omit things in the heat of the moment but John McCain and his campaign team have been on the defensive over criticism of audience outbursts and the whipping up of fear at Friday’s rally. They do not appear to have clarified McCain’s position on Arabs and the Arab world.
In whatever capacity John McCain serves in the future, while he may encourage trade with Arab nations he appears to have a problem with Arabs and he is perpetuating the dangerous and damaging stereotypes about Arabs that have been around for centuries.
To watch and hear the video clip, follow this link:
Obama is an Arab Says McCain Volunteer in Letters, YouTube, 10 October 2008.
Dr Geoff Pound
Image: McCain took the microphone from this woman who called Obama an ‘Arab’.
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