Dear Senator McCain and Governor Palin,
I see what you're doing. You trying to introduce the words "Obama" and "terrorist" into the same news cycle. You're hoping Fox News will start showing pictures of al-Qaeda and "accidentally" saying that Senator Obama is Muslim. You're trying to label him as "angry" and "dangerous." And you're counting on the fact that, in the privacy of our own voting booths, we Americans are quietly racist.
We're better than that. Stop it.
Last night my friend Melissa and I went to see David Sedaris in Richmond. Ever the contemporary commentator, he peppered his usual slice-of-hilarious-life stories with bits of political humor. Beyond speculating whether each of the candidates was circumcised (I made sure to thank him for those disturbing images), he reported what fans had discussed with him at numerous book-signings. "America will never elect a black president," one midwesterner told him. "Maybe," he replied. "But half of America will elect a half-black president." Thunderous applause.
The thing is, I don't see Senator Obama as black. I see him as a level-headed, comparatively young Senator with a gift for oratory, who happens to be black (or half-black, as the case may be). Just as I see McCain as a hot-tempered, comparatively old Senator who doesn't share my values, and who happens to be white. I won't say that race isn't an issue for me in this election. It just comes at the bottom of my list, after the wars, health care, global warming, the economy, choice of running mate, fashion sense, favorite color, and soup vs salad preference. And I don't think I'm alone.
P.S. It's not OK to try to capitalize on prejudice, even - no, especially to win an election. Shame on you.