Thursday, January 31, 2008

Hillary: Woman. Barack: Black. What's a Hispanic to do?

Identity politics.

Valid? There have unquestionably been groups excluded---indeed, kicked around---by whatever Powers That Be, those powers in human history tending to be Europeanish males, with mebbe exceptions like the Huns and Mongols and Aztecs and Bantus, who were still males.

Accruing to his everlasting credit, the great Rush Limbaugh immediately slammed Mike Huckabee's touting his credentials as a Christian minister in his Iowa ads as "identity politics," which are by definition divisive, no?

Once you got an Us, that means We ain't Them, and you got divisiveness.

I won't deny that the "power" thing is a legitimate historical criticism, and perhaps a legitimate way to look at the world. Females and non-whites have seldom if ever enjoyed unquestioned first-class staus.

But the unintended consequences of pursuing that line and using that prism include this piece on the LA Times' opinion page.

Now, the essay by some Hispanic notables elides the facts on the ground---that Hispanics and African Americans, each of which vote heavily Democratic, are often in competition more than cooperation when it comes to political power.

And here in Los Angeles, in competition across the board, neighborhood by neighborhood.

Even in attempting to ignore that reality, the authors are still stuck with identity politics---their contention is that Hillary will win the Hispanic vote not particularly because Hispanics won't vote for Barack Obama---who happens to be black---but because HRC had the sensitivity to reach out to major Hispanic political figures from the first and secured their support.

OK, fine. But that's still identity politics, something every American should recoil from. That the Democratic Party at last hoists itself on its own petard of race over reason, well, I'm pretty good with that.

Hehe. Real good.