Race baiting in 2004 election

Both campaigns would rather play political games than address the tough issues.

It’s a shame political campaigns still play on the fears, hatreds and bigotries of the electorate. Watch a few television campaign ads and this becomes readily apparent.

A recent ad sponsored by the Republican National Senatorial Committee showed images mindful of migrant workers and dark hands counting cash when referring to state aid. The commercial reinforces two negative stereotypes. First, that Hispanics are illegal immigrant migrant workers and, second, that blacks are the primary welfare recipients.

The commercial is part of the Republican Party’s tradition to court the Southern vote by fawning to its more deeply ingrained Southern ideology. The Southern ideology more or less stands in direct conflict with the civil rights movement.

The Republican Party seems to play to the worst hatreds of white Americans, while the Democrats play with the hopes of black Americans.

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry will talk about affirmative action and racial issues in front of primarily black audiences but will not touch those issues in front of other audiences.

Politics and race are not a dead issue. It was only in the last two years that Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., had to step down from his role as Senate majority leader after referring fondly to what could have been, had we listened to the segregationist ideas of the late South Carolina Sen. Strom Thurmond, who ran for president on a segregationist ticket in 1948.

As the Willie Horton ad in 1988 that played on white Americans’ fears of being raped by black men, ads are running now that play on the stereotypes that terrorists are anything remotely Arabic or Middle Eastern in nature.

Both campaigns would rather play political games than address the tough issues at hand. Hopefully, voters see through the race baiting administered by both sides of the aisle.