Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Senator Allen’s Macaca mea culpa

It is now clear the narrowing of the gap in the polls between George Allen and James Webb is not a temporary fluke following the incident last month where Senator Allen called a young man of Indian descent a “Macaca.” Suddenly, faced with the possibility his decade plus career as a professional politician may be coming to an end, Senator Allen has discovered he has been insensitive to minorities and has been issuing blanket apologies for the Macaca incident, the Confederate flags, the noose hanging in his office, etc., etc.

The timing of this new found concern is a little suspicious. It’s sort of like a defendant telling the judge just before sentencing how sorry he is for committing a crime when in reality all he is really sorry about is getting caught.

Last week Senator Allen held an “Ethnic Rally” in Northern Virginia and yesterday spoke before black educators. According to an article in today’s Richmond Times-Dispatch Senator Allen said,
He was "slow to appreciate" and wished he had understood sooner the
Confederate flag's emotional impact for African-Americans as "an emblem of hate
and terror . . . intolerance and intimidation," Allen said.


In a high school yearbook photo, Allen wore a Confederate flag pin
on his collar, a national magazine reported this year, and he displayed a
Confederate flag years ago at his log house in Albemarle County. He has
portrayed his youthful interest in the flag as part of a rebellious
attitude.


Allen appeared to admit shortsightedness yesterday in having
issued, while governor, a Confederate Heritage and History month proclamation
that triggered a firestorm of criticism in 1997.


He had realized the pride of a region's people in their ancestors'
service in the Civil War, Allen said yesterday. Appearing humbled, he continued:
"Clearly, I had a simplistic view of that tragic part of our nation's
history."


"The point is: Symbols matter. They should matter," Allen said as
if to underscore that he has heard his critics.


Allen delivered the speech to a conference of historically black
colleges and universities just days after his lead in statewide polling against
Democratic challenger Jim Webb had dropped dramatically to 4 percentage
points.


The decline came after Allen mockingly addressed a Webb volunteer
of Asian-Indian descent as "Macaca," a genus of monkey. Amid an ensuing fury of
media attention, Allen repeatedly apologized, saying he made up the word and was
careless but not racist. He reiterated those points yesterday.


The incident has damaged Allen's prospects as a possible GOP
presidential contender in 2008, analysts say.


***
Elsewhere in Virginia, John Boyd Jr. of Mecklenburg County,
the president of the National Black Farmers Association, said that Allen should
follow his words with action -- by meeting with Boyd and moving to support
legislation in Congress to help the farmers. Boyd said Allen has declined
meetings with him.


Ken Woodley, editor of the Farmville Herald newspaper, said Allen
labeled as "a powerful idea" Woodley's plea to spearhead a congressional apology
for slavery, but he noted that the politician hasn't moved forward on
it.

The problem with Senator Allen is not only is he insensitive to minorities but is insensitive to people in general because he is smart-alecky and a bully. Watch the video and you will see him taunt this kid in front of a crowd. It is truly a reflection of his character. Surely Virginia can do better.

You may watch the video here.

1 comment:

Every 7th Day said...

All I could think on this was, "Hmm, he's a college kid, you are a senator. No one knows him, you are surrounded by supporters, fans, and sycophants. You have incredible power, he has a video camera. Of all the things you could do with your power, prestige, and support base, you do this? What would your reaction to a real threat be, Senator?" Where are the beanies because that was a weenie thing to do.