David Brooks, NYT columnist, disingenuously suggests the campaigns have been dull. Dull? More like subtle, silent, and shrill. Each of the three draw from the worst and best of America’s history.
Mitt Romney’s subtle side is the bold bias that hides his belief. He speaks of “heritage,” “culture,” “shared values;” he persists in ignoring the whole mainstream of history–that this heritage and values has creative expression in all communities.
He is doggedly determined to exclude the bright gifts of initiative, intelligence, insight, and creativity from the majority of the world. He defines these “others” by subtle exclusion. They can, he said at the NAACP convention, go other there and get the “free stuff.” (You’re not like me!) He doesn’t name blacks, Asians, Arabs, but regularly insinuates by excluding them from the pool of those who are successful. They are not only different but incapable, pitiful, and undeserving. It is the Romney version of Manifest Destiny.
Silent is the media whose “straight” reports lack critical content. A presidential candidate with 23 offshore accounts has an overseas fundraiser attended by an operator (#8 on he list of America’s wealthy!) of casinos in a protectorate of China, and instead of a look at the money trail, we get more denials of Manifest Destiny and tough talk of him being the white boy with the bully club.
Shrill are the disappointed Democrats who miss Obama’s statesmanship. In an irony unique to American politics, the fact that Republicans despise him and some Democrats are disappointed means he succeeded. He blocked the GOP agenda and thwarted their presumptive takeover. His steady progress didn’t widen the gap of differences to the point total chaos and dysfunction. He held the union together with his Zen-like repose, when others tried to tear it apart for greed and hate.