An open letter to white voters, or what McCain really thinks of you

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

Dear white voter,

Sorry, was that too direct? Sarah Palin loves calling you “Joe Six Pack” and “hockey mom.” Perhaps I too, should use one of 68 possible euphemisms to refer to you instead.

I want to ask you a simple question: Which candidate — McCain or Obama — do you think has a higher opinion of your character?

John McCain has spent the last couple of weeks asking ominously: “Who is the real Barack Obama?”

Sarah Palin hasn’t hesitated to supply an answer to this question. She declared at a Florida rally on Monday that Barack Obama “is not a man who sees America the way you and I see America. I’m afraid this is someone who sees America as imperfect enough to work with a former domestic terrorist who had targeted his own country.”

And as CNN’s Campbell Brown pointed out in her commentary Wednesday night, McCain surrogates have made a point of calling the Democratic candidate “Barack Hussein Obama” at least twice this week.

The McCain campaign is doing its best to paint Obama as a shadowy Manchurian candidate who is un-American, unpatriotic, dangerous, sympathetic to terrorists, and possibly even a secret Muslim (needless to say, that’s a bad thing in their eyes).

That much is obvious.

But what does their strategy say about what they think of you, the white voter?

Judging from their messaging, they seem to be stereotyping white voters as closed-minded, paranoid, naive, xenophobic, and just a tad bit racist.

And they are certainly connecting successfully with people who match this profile.

At a New Mexico rally on Monday, McCain asked the crowd, “Who is the real Barack Obama?” A voice in the crowd yelled out, “A terrorist!”

When Palin delivered her stump speech berating Obama at the Florida rally on the same day, an audience member yelled, “Kill him!” Audience members then began shouting angrily at the reporters covering the event, one of them yelling racial slurs at an African-American camera man and telling him to “Sit down, boy.”

Do you bear any resemblance to these agitators? Probably not.

Do you fit the profile of the racist and xenophobic white voter? Probably not.

Then do you really want to support a candidate who thinks so little of you that his only strategy right now is to appeal to your basest human instincts of fear and hatred?

Contrast McCain’s view of you to that of Obama’s.

Despite the harsh realities of racism in America — his being placed under Secret Service protection earlier than any other presidential candidate in history, for example — Obama has never expressed anything but unfailing faith in you.

His February 2007 appearance on 60 Minutes was just one of countless interviews in which he made that clear:

KROFT: You think the country’s ready for a black President?

OBAMA: Yes.

KROFT: You don’t think it’s going to hold you back?

OBAMA: No. I think if I don’t win this race, it will be because of other factors. It’s going to be because I have not shown to the American people a vision for where the country needs to go that they can embrace.

In his speech on race this spring, Obama declared: “I would not be running for president if I didn’t believe with all my heart that this is what the vast majority of Americans want for this country.”

Dear white voter, it’s time for a decision.

This November, will you support the candidate who assumes the worst about your character and motivations?

Or will you vote for the candidate who has never stopped believing in and championing your capacity for greatness?