Staff Column: Look both ways before crossing Pennsylvania Avenue
If anyone had the chance to see “Right America: Feeling Wronged” Monday night on HBO, you saw a documentary offering the worst of GOP America.
Alexandra Pelosi (yes, her daughter), took a camera to GOP rallies in 28 flyover states, chronicling the most bizarre John McCain supporters available during the 2008 presidential election.
Scenes included a tailgate at a NASCAR race where a self-proclaimed redneck cries about his job being handed to immigrants and says he’ll ‘find some way to carry on’ if Barack Obama were elected president.
If there was a nutcase waving an American flag and deriding President Obama as a Muslim, socialist devil, Pelosi found them. If there was a blind member of the GOP faith who described the President as a socialist and was too backwards to even define socialism, Pelosi found them.
In short, Pelosi looked for every stereotypical, stupid Midwesterner/Southerner trait and put it on screen.
It made me think, is the media really this liberal? Do we really blast the Christian Conservatives like this and go looking for stereotypes?
I called my good friend Ted Kennedy, D” Mass., who I send all of my articles to for consultation, and he said no, this is not the case.
And, knowing a good deal of conservatives who have never been to a rally, who walk among us in daylight (they don’t melt!), drive hybrids and vote with their wallets and brains instead of racism and ignorance, I knew there had to be another side to this story.
So I got to thinking: What if I got to turn the camera on the liberal base? What sort of stereotypes would I find in San Franciso and New York to counteract those Pelosi found in Mississippi and Indiana?
“Hello, I’m reporting today from an Obama rally in San Francisco’s illustrious Castro district.”
(Camera pans over to a young man holding his boyfriend’s hand, taking the Lord’s name in vain and sporting a pink ‘John McCain is Bush’s Poodle’ T-shirt.)
“Sir, your shirt says a lot, how has McCain been George W. Bush’s poodle?”
Young man replies, in a lisp, of course: “Um, like, duh, he like wanted to go to war and drill for oil through a baby seal habitat in ANWR. We don’t need eight more years of the same.”
“McCain actually opposes drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge…”
Young man looks irritated: “Are you from Fox News or something? Geez, man, vote for change.”
My next stop would be a rally in SoHo, New York City.
(Camera focuses on yuppy-looking artist with a Che Guevara T-shirt and an Obama pin standing in front of the abortion clinic he volunteers at.)
“Sir, what about Obama’s foreign policy and economic platforms enthuses you?”
Artist pauses, readjusts his thick-framed glasses, sips his chai latte and answers:
“Well Obama is for change. We have to change everything, that’s something they don’t understand in Columbus, Iowa.”
“Columbus is actually in Oh… never mind. (Artist looks perplexed, obviously thinking:
How do you know? You’re not from there, are you?) Can you be more specific, does his proposed stimulus package worry you at all?”
“Well, he’ll just be way better than McCain. He’ll end the wars, which is something McCain will not do, so I guess that’s my biggest reason.”
“Sir are you aware Obama actually wants to increase the U.S. presence in Afghanistan by thousands of soldiers?”
“Dude, you better check your facts. Vote for change.”
“Have you ever left New York?”
“I went to Jersey once. Gross.”
All of this is hypothetical, of course, as we know most Americans are level-headed, non-racists and believers in Democracy. It goes to show you can’t judge an entire party by its base’s certified whack-jobs. Often those who speak the loudest have the most false, ridiculous messages.
Shame on Ms. Pelosi for using these caricatures of the GOP’s base, and pity on anyone who thinks that’s what people are like in these states. Let’s get past stereotypes.
Kyle Magin is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. He can be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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