Before a few weeks ago, I had never heard of CNN commentator Campbell Brown. But her name seems to keep coming up lately, and the impression I’m getting is that she’s pretty cool. Here’s some of her latest commentary about the “insults” that have been thrown at Barack Obama.
Woman at rally: I don’t trust Obama. I have read about him and he’s an Arab.
Sen. John McCain: No ma’am, no ma’am. He’s a decent family man, citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues. That’s what this campaign is all about. He’s not, thank you.
Now, I commend Sen. McCain for correcting that woman, for setting the record straight. But I do have one question — so what if he was?
So what if Obama was Arab or Muslim? So what if John McCain was Arab or Muslim? Would it matter?
When did that become a disqualifier for higher office in our country? When did Arab and Muslim become dirty words? The equivalent of dishonorable or radical?
We’ve all been too quick to accept the idea that calling someone Muslim is a slur.
I have to say that I keep reading from different media sources all about how this woman called Obama an Arab, and John McCain was so fucking honorable in setting the record straight. But I just keep reading it and thinking: what the hell am I supposed to commend about what he just said?
The fact is that his words indicate that the woman is wrong because Obama is a family man and citizen of the United States. His statement pretty strongly suggests that “Arab” therefore indicates the opposite of family man and U.S. citizen. Clearly the woman meant her statement as a bigoted slur, but McCain only reinforced the idea that it is a real insult with his response. And this defense of Obama keeps getting under my skin in the same way that, quite frankly, his own “Lies! I’m a Christian!” defenses do.
Quite frankly again, Brown is rather late in getting around to pointing this out. But I am pretty glad to see someone from the mainstream media saying it nonetheless. For more Campbell Brown, see her commentary on the McCain campaign’s sexism against Sarah Palin.