Senator John McCain (R-AZ), who once bitterly battled then-Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) for the White House and has made it his life’s mission to trip the President every time he can, praised President Obama’s Zimmerman verdict speech. On CNN’s State of the Union Sunday morning, McCain then urged states to look at the Stand Your Ground laws.
That’s two times McCain agreed with President Obama, in just a few moments, from “very impressive” speech to calling for a review of “very controversial” Stand Your Ground laws. What gives? Obama has also called for a review of the Stand Your Ground laws that ALEC and the NRA have installed in various states, mostly courtesy of the Republican party’s puppets.
Watch here via CNN:
McCain did that reflexive thing of bringing up Detroit when discussing blacks in America, which is annoying to anyone who understands Detroit and its surrounding communities. Because of Republican ideology, Detroit paid Governor Snyder’s appointed Emergency Manager a quarter of a million dollars to file for bankruptcy, as Detroiter Black Liberal Boomer pointed out for Politicus earlier this week – an action that a judge has now rebuffed, so that’s a lot of money down the drain.
It would be more appropriate to use Detroit as a symbol of Republican ideology gone wrong, especially since as Deborah Foster pointed out today, “The State of Michigan has also been withholding funds that it is supposed to give Detroit through revenue-sharing, restricting their access even further to necessary resources.”
But McCain managed to make a good point about economic disparity between black youths and non-black youths. (Detroit did not file for bankruptcy because poor black people live there; Detroit filed for bankruptcy because just like Flint, Michigan – at one time, known as the home to poor whites – it lost its industries.)
McCain explained that old prejudices die hard, especially in hard economic times (and when McCain’s party is pointing their fingers at the brown skinned Other and blaming them for the hard economic times, which is just another reason I take issue with equating Detroit the city with American blacks).
McCain cited the military and Obama’s presidency as sign of progress, “I think the good news is if you look at the military, if you look at the fact that we have a President who is the first African American president in history, we have made significant progress.”
But the Senator noted it was not enough, and he elaborated on President Obama’s speech, “What I got out of the President’s statement, which I thought was very impressive, is that we have more conversation in America. I as an elected official, I need to talk to more of my Hispanic organizations in my state, I need to talk to more African Americans, I need Americans to talk to their friends and neighbors, not just those on their block or in their circle of friends.”
While it might just seem that McCain is being an odd bird bucking his party’s get out the vote racism, these are old wounds for McCain. It was during the 2000 South Carolina primary that McCain’s own party used the race of one of his daughters against him, much as his 2008 running mate used Obama’s race against him. McCain may be a lot of things, and he stayed silent way too long in the 2008 Sarah Palin race of hate, but he is not a person who doesn’t understand the pain inflicted by racism.
The Senator proved that by saying he needs to talk to more Hispanics and African Americans. Yes, elected officials need to hear from all kinds of people, since they represent all kinds of people. It is wrong for old rich white men to lock themselves away from the masses in order to make decisions about the lives of the masses.
McCain said it might be time for states to review Stand Your Ground laws, when asked by Candy Crowley about our justice system’s history. “I can also see that stand your ground law may be something that needs to be reviewed by the Florida legislature or any other legislature that has passed such legislation… I’m confident that the members of the Arizona legislature will and – because it is a very controversial legislation.”
Economic disparity is a function and result of racism, and it’s then used to justify racism. Laws like Stand Your Ground are clearly applied differently based on skin color, and our court system’s prejudice against black people is also a matter of evidence. It’s impossible to claim that things are fixed, that racism is over, given these facts.
Any real conversation about racism in this country must include an honest discussion about the impact of slavery, and the millions murdered as a direct result of the not too distant slave trade.
John McCain left his party’s ugly Southern strategy in the dust as he took a stand for humanity today. (He also dissed Liz Cheney, backing Sen. Mike Enzi instead.) This was a glimpse of that old John McCain the media keeps telling us about, but one we rarely see. Instead of agreeing with his party’s ugly suggestions that Obama is the “racist-in Chief” and that the only racism that’s a problem is the racism aimed at whites, McCain agreed with the President and urged Americans to follow the President’s lead and talk to each other. No, it won’t fix the problem, but it’s a step forward.
If John McCain can overcome his bitter loss to Obama enough to say this, “I think the president very appropriately highlighted a lot of that yesterday, as only a president of the United States can,” then maybe there’s hope after all.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.