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Posting McCain Signs in Obama Country:
Sunday's Washington Post had a pretty interesting story on a business that posted a pro-McCain/Palin message in a very pro-Obama neighborhood.
Syd Henderson:
I just did the opposite. Let's see what happens.
10.16.2008 4:43pm
FantasiaWHT:
There's a story brewing in Milwaukee right now - a McCain supporter in a rather conservative suburb had all of her yard signs taken in the middle of the night. She called the police to report it and it turned out that the police had come in the middle of the night and confiscated it because it allegedly violated a 7' setback rule. When she went to get it back (why didn't they just give notice of the violation? Hmm.....) she saw there were dozens more in the property room. Tellingly, all McCain signs.
10.16.2008 4:44pm
Adam J:
FantasiaWHT- "Tellingly, all McCain signs." Clearly, this shows McCain supporters blatant disrespect for the law...
10.16.2008 4:48pm
Gabriel McCall (mail):
Economic liberty works. You're free to run your business as you see fit, and I'm free not to patronize you if I don't like your style.

It's a shame people can't draw the obvious parallels between yard signs, and smoking policies or trans-fats cooking.
10.16.2008 4:49pm
Steve:
Choosing whether or not to display open support for a political candidate is a business decision like any other. Sometimes it's a dumb business decision.
10.16.2008 4:49pm
Houston Lawyer:
As Michael Barone wrote the other day, the Thugogracy cometh. Obama and his followers are not much on dissent.
10.16.2008 4:50pm
Sarcastro (www):
Oh, sweet! An anecdote fight!

I heard this from my cousin's dogwalker:

"My McCain sign got burnt by a big liberal mob, but I used my gun and they all ran away like the girly-men they are."


This proves to me that Conservatives will be outlawed in an Obama Thugogragy.
10.16.2008 4:53pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
"slap in the face" "disrespected"

Oh, my sweet aunt fanny.

Where's my barf bag?
10.16.2008 4:55pm
PC:
Maybe some enterprising GOPers could go to that neighborhood and pass out some Obama Bucks. At least the business owner had the good sense not to put up a sign that says "Waterboard Obama."
10.16.2008 4:56pm
FantasiaWHT:
Reading the story, it actually seems the response is appropriate. I was thinking I was going to be reading about bricks through windows or vandalism.
10.16.2008 4:56pm
Hoosier:
My old home--the NE neighborhood of South Bend--just experienced an obscene anonymous letter campaign directed against people with McCain/Palin and Pro-Life yeard signs. I have seen one, and the story linked below is, as is typical of WNDU, rather "sanitized." They refer to "choice language," which is an understatement. (But it's "pro-choice" langauge, anyway.)

www.wndu.com/localnews/headlines/30988079.html
10.16.2008 4:56pm
LM (mail):
It should be obvious that a business has the right to post what it likes and that consumers have the right to boycott businesses they don't like. But for a hotel manager to have this reaction:

"I didn't even realize it was going to be like this," he said in an interview. The last thing "we want to do is lose business," he added.

is unpardonably clueless.
10.16.2008 4:57pm
Kelly (mail):
My parents run a B&B in a very Republican part of Virginia. They're Democrats and would love to put up an Obama sign in their yard, but from a business prospective it would be dumb dumb dumb. So they weighed their politics against their pocketbook and in this instance, the pocketbook won.

The 1st Amendment is a wonderful thing, that also happens to include the right to boycott any business you want for any reason you want.
10.16.2008 5:03pm
Steve:
As Michael Barone wrote the other day, the Thugogracy cometh. Obama and his followers are not much on dissent.

But when people didn't want to listen to the Dixie Chicks after they made an anti-Bush comment, it was an unobjectionable exercise of their rights, of course.
10.16.2008 5:04pm
commontheme (mail):
Orin, if by "interesting" you mean "This story kind of reflects poorly on supporters of a candidate that I oppose", I suppose it is "interesting."
10.16.2008 5:05pm
wfjag:

It should be obvious that a business has the right to post what it likes and that consumers have the right to boycott businesses they don't like.

While that is true, would you explain why the NAACP was involved?
10.16.2008 5:09pm
Kelly (mail):


While that is true, would you explain why the NAACP was involved?

According to the article, they logged calls. How else did they get involved?
10.16.2008 5:13pm
Houston Lawyer:
10.16.2008 5:15pm
Preferred Customer:
To echo the comments of many above, this story is only "interesting" in the sense that the punchline I was expecting based on the lead in--violence against people or property--never came. I suppose it's "interesting" that the marketplace of ideas sometimes directly translates into the marketplace for goods and services in a very literal way, but it is hardly surprising.
10.16.2008 5:15pm
Bobo Linq:
Orin, what makes this interesting? This isn't like the AALS boycott, in which folks sought to boycott a business because of the politics of its owner, even though the owner wasn't using the business to promote his politics.

If a business owner uses his business to promote a political viewpoint, why wouldn't people that oppose that viewpoint boycott the business?
10.16.2008 5:16pm
gasman (mail):

The marquee supporting the GOP ticket in "an area that is strongly African American was like putting a stink bomb in the middle of the living room," said University of Maryland political Professor Ron Walters. "What it does show is the emotions that are around this campaign and this election."

Interesting that they make no compunction at all that for blacks, this is all about race. If you walked into a room full of whites and shouted 'Obama' there would hardly be a stir. It might prompt a political discussion wherein one might find some whites are pro-Obama, and other whites are pro-McCain. But to imagine that the response would be like a stink bomb? No.

But for blacks it is a wholly racial election. Both the political professor above, and the content of the article refer to the 'slapped in the face' group as black or african american, their race, and not by their political leanings.

What this election will tell us if Obama wins is that racism is alive in America. But it is not the racism of whites any longer. Obama will take a very sizable amount of the white vote to win, probably over 45%. Such a result, 55-45 or something close hardly smacks of racism. But wait for the black vote. Any doubt that it will be 90-10 or even more stilted? Even accounting for the historical democratic leanings of blacks, the only way to interpret such a ratio is that the black electorate was voting on racial lines in a way not seen since the era the the Jim Crowe south.
10.16.2008 5:18pm
Kelly (mail):


What this election will tell us if Obama wins is that racism is alive in America.

gasman, this election has already told us that
10.16.2008 5:21pm
OrinKerr:
Bobo,

I thought it was pretty interesting that the individuals who objected appeared to see the endorsement of a particular candidate as not just a point of disagreement but as actually some sort of threat or insult that deserved retributive punishment. It was as if the choice of President was not a question of different policy preferences, but rather a question of morality. I thought that was pretty interesting.
10.16.2008 5:27pm
aeronathan (mail):

"People I have talked to look at the sign as a slap in the face. They feel it was blatant disrespect. . . . I have heard people say they will no longer patronize Colony South because of that disrespect."



I'd be really tempted to put up something that actually was disrespectful to show them what a real "slap in the face" is. Then again I'm a bit of a troublemaker at heart.
10.16.2008 5:33pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
If a business owner uses his business to promote a political viewpoint, why wouldn't people that oppose that viewpoint boycott the business?
Is that a serious question? Do you actually refuse to associate with someone who votes for the "other" candidate? Do you plan to boycott the businesses of 50+ million Americans in a few months?

We're not talking David Duke or Al Sharpton here; we're talking McCain. If your sensibilities are so tender that you view support for McCain (or Obama) as worthy of boycott, then democracy probably isn't for you.
10.16.2008 5:35pm
Snaphappy:
I can think of a lot of places in this area where a Dallas Cowboys sign would get the same reaction, particularly at a time when those emotions are running high. Know your community, know your customers. Try not to piss them off. Seems pretty simple.
10.16.2008 5:36pm
Jiffy:

It was as if the choice of President was not a question of different policy preferences, but rather a question of morality. I thought that was pretty interesting.


To see examples of the feeling that "the choice of a President [is] not a question of different policy preferences, but rather a question of morality," just read the comments on this blog.
10.16.2008 5:37pm
hawkins:

I thought it was pretty interesting that the individuals who objected appeared to see the endorsement of a particular candidate as not just a point of disagreement but as actually some sort of threat or insult that deserved retributive punishment. It was as if the choice of President was not a question of different policy preferences, but rather a question of morality. I thought that was pretty interesting.


I dont know if I agree that its viewed as a "question of morality," but as a commenter noted above in regards to the Dixie Chicks, is this anything new?
10.16.2008 5:38pm
MS (mail):
Sneak peek at the thugocracy's agenda:

punish gasman
ignore Houston Lawyer
forgive Orin
10.16.2008 5:39pm
wrffr:
10.16.2008 5:42pm
gerbilsbite:
Business takes public position on controversial issue, community reacts, no state pressure exerted. It's like the response to the (obviously not equivalent) "Curious George" shirts in Marietta.

And it's exactly what should happen in a situation like this. Free speech rights are being honored on both sides, and the business is suffering the consequences of its actions. Forget 'interesting'--that's instructive.
10.16.2008 5:42pm
gerbilsbite:
If a business owner uses his business to promote a political viewpoint, why wouldn't people that oppose that viewpoint boycott the business?

Is that a serious question? Do you actually refuse to associate with someone who votes for the "other" candidate? Do you plan to boycott the businesses of 50+ million Americans in a few months?
You seriously have a problem with free association and market preferences based on factors other than cost-benefit analyses?

The issue is that the business itself was seen as advocating a position. If the people seeing that advocacy choose to avoid that business, what on earth do you think is wrong with that? If I refuse to go to a bar that posts a sign saying "Democrat's dilemma: a boob with nuts or a nut with boobs," does that actually bother you for some reason? Would you think twice about patronizing an ice cream parlor that had a sign saying "Don't Like Abortions? Don't Have One!" in the window?
10.16.2008 5:46pm
Steve:
I thought it was pretty interesting that the individuals who objected appeared to see the endorsement of a particular candidate as not just a point of disagreement but as actually some sort of threat or insult that deserved retributive punishment.

I think "retributive punishment" is a little harsh. If I eat at McDonalds because the local Burger King franchise has a McCain sign in the window, maybe I'm "punishing" Burger King in some sense, but it's the sort of "punishment" that millions of consumers dole out every day when they choose to patronize one business and not another.

Heck, I might do the exact same thing if Burger King is sponsoring the Yankees and I happen to prefer the Mets. It's a consumer decision of the sort that is routinely premised upon any number of meaningless distinctions. I'm not making some moral judgment, I just don't happen to like the Yankees.
10.16.2008 5:48pm
titus32:
I thought it was pretty interesting that the individuals who objected appeared to see the endorsement of a particular candidate as not just a point of disagreement but as actually some sort of threat or insult that deserved retributive punishment. It was as if the choice of President was not a question of different policy preferences, but rather a question of morality. I thought that was pretty interesting.

I agree. Or to state it crudely, I find it interesting that so many people would freak out just because someone, in a rather bland way, expressed support for a presidential candidate.
10.16.2008 5:48pm
Xanthippas (mail) (www):

Is that a serious question? Do you actually refuse to associate with someone who votes for the "other" candidate? Do you plan to boycott the businesses of 50+ million Americans in a few months?


That's a silly point. The difference is, unlike with those "50+ million Americans" whose opinions I don't know, I most certainly do know the opinion of the guy who puts the sign out in front of his business. You and I have every right to feel as though we shouldn't give money to people we disagree with; should I really have to contribute to the prosperity of someone who thinks liberals like myself are traitors? The only thing that prevents me from boycotting everyone with such opinions is impracticality.

And frankly, who doesn't expect some sort of reaction from a public pronouncement of their politics? The whole purpose of a sign is to make a statement to others; if they don't like that statement, why should they give their money to the person with the sign?

I will so that I do stop at not patronizing the business of someone I disagree with. I wouldn't-for example-buy their CD s so I could run them over with a steamroller. That's just stupid.
10.16.2008 5:48pm
Nunzio:
If this place closes down, is there just going to be an empty buiding there?

Careful what you wish for.
10.16.2008 5:53pm
Adam J:
Gasman- Its a bit hypocritical to catagorize all or most black men as racist. I would recommend against sterotyping how all blacks (or whites) feel about a black man becoming President.

I also don't think its racist in this situation for blacks to be voting largely based on race. If we were writing on a different slate, where whites and blacks have had equality for generations it might be one thing, but consider the fact that in over two hundred years we've never had a black president. Many blacks still feel that they aren't adequately represented politically, they see a black President as a means to fulfilling that representation. Do you really not see how many black men will view a black president as a victory over our nation's history of racism. State discrimination of blacks was only made illegal 55 years ago (and it took the majority of the 60s to enforce this). Personally, I think its a poor decision for someone to vote for this reason, but hardly racist.
10.16.2008 5:58pm
Sarcastro (www):
Xanthippas does make a great point!

All people with McCain-Palin signs might as well have a sign up that says "I think liberals are traitors."

2 signs means "I think Democrats are quislings"

a bumper sticker means "I hate Xanthippas extra."
10.16.2008 5:59pm
pheski (mail):
We have an Obama-Biden sign in my front yard. For several weeks, almost every weekday morning between 5:30 and 6:00 am, someone would drive up on our front lawn and run over it. We got to recognize the sound of the car lying in bed in the morning and knew when we would find the sign flattened and when not.

After suppressing my first urges (hide in the hedge with rocks to throw, put down a piece of wood with nails, put a steel bar in the ground just behind and hidden by the sign), my wife and I simply bring it in at night and put it out in the morning. No one can see it in the dark, anyway.

Take home: the world is a better place when we all simply dial the intensity down and act rationally, even in the presence of irrationality by others.

P
10.16.2008 6:00pm
Hoosier:
gasman--What really bothers me about the quote that you posted is that a professor of political science is saying that, Hey, it was terribly offensive to voice support McCain in a black neighborhood.

Not a surprise, of course. But truly revolting.
10.16.2008 6:00pm
titus32:
I think "retributive punishment" is a little harsh. If I eat at McDonalds because the local Burger King franchise has a McCain sign in the window, maybe I'm "punishing" Burger King in some sense, but it's the sort of "punishment" that millions of consumers dole out every day when they choose to patronize one business and not another.

Not really. There's a meaningful distinction between discriminating based on product versus discriminating based on something completely unrelated to product (e.g., political association). With the former, the consumer is not intending to harm the spurned business, he's just selecting the product he prefers. We don't usually think of consumer preference as punishment. With the latter, the consumer is intending to harm the spurned business for its political association. Sounds like punishment to me.
10.16.2008 6:05pm
titus32:
Sorry, should have italicized the first paragraph above.
10.16.2008 6:06pm
Bored Lawyer:
There is a difference between what the First Amendment protects and how a mature, civil polity acts. Boycotting someone because he supports the other candidate is well within the First Amendment -- but it is childish and coarsens civil discourse by dividing the nation into enemy camps rather than citizens of a common polity who have civil disagreements on policy and candidates.

And let me see if I understand the logic here. Putting up a McCain sign in a certain neighborhood is the equivalent of a "stink bomb," but the fact that his opponent launched his political career in the house of an unrepentant terrorist who told the NY Times the only thing he regrets is not placing more bombs, is simply yesterday's news?
10.16.2008 6:10pm
OrinKerr:
Me:
I thought it was pretty interesting that the individuals who objected appeared to see the endorsement of a particular candidate as not just a point of disagreement but as actually some sort of threat or insult that deserved retributive punishment.
Steve:

I think "retributive punishment" is a little harsh. If I eat at McDonalds because the local Burger King franchise has a McCain sign in the window, maybe I'm "punishing" Burger King in some sense, but it's the sort of "punishment" that millions of consumers dole out every day when they choose to patronize one business and not another.

Heck, I might do the exact same thing if Burger King is sponsoring the Yankees and I happen to prefer the Mets. It's a consumer decision of the sort that is routinely premised upon any number of meaningless distinctions. I'm not making some moral judgment, I just don't happen to like the Yankees.
From the actual story:

"People I have talked to look at the sign as a slap in the face. They feel it was blatant disrespect. . . . I have heard people say they will no longer patronize Colony South because of that disrespect."
(emphasis added)
10.16.2008 6:14pm
Steve:
There's a meaningful distinction between discriminating based on product versus discriminating based on something completely unrelated to product (e.g., political association).

Well then, see the Mets/Yankees example in my subsequent paragraph. When you're relatively indifferent as to which competing business establishment you happen to patronize, it's really not that uncommon at all to make the choice based upon factors which have nothing to do with product.
10.16.2008 6:14pm
Adam J:
Bored Lawyer- Of course it is childish to boycott someone based on the political candidate they support. But it's hardly undemocratic or "thugocracy." It's just part of the silly typical partisan behavior we see every 4 years from supporters of both sides of the aisle. To suggest it is somehow more malevolent then that is just disingenous.
10.16.2008 6:16pm
Steve:
Orin, that goes to whether they saw it as an insult. It doesn't really address the issue of whether "retributive punishment" was an overstatement.

Most business establishments refrain from openly expressing a political preference simply because they'd rather not alienate a portion of their customer base. Thus, when a business chooses to display a McCain sign in what they presumably know is a largely pro-Obama community, I find it easy to understand how some people could conclude "wow, they really must not care what their customers think."

Keep in mind, also, the story is identifying the most extreme reactions from the members of a large group. Most people, regardless of who they support, would not feel "blatantly disrespected" in this scenario.
10.16.2008 6:25pm
titus32:
Steve, your very hypothetical hypothetical aside, the point I'm making is that deciding to harm a business based on its viewpoint (i.e., a boycott) smacks of punishment. Usually the people who conduct the boycott would admit that they are punishing the business for wrongdoing (and be proud of it).
10.16.2008 6:26pm
hawkins:

There is a difference between what the First Amendment protects and how a mature, civil polity acts. Boycotting someone because he supports the other candidate is well within the First Amendment -- but it is childish and coarsens civil discourse by dividing the nation into enemy camps rather than citizens of a common polity who have civil disagreements on policy and candidates.


I agree completely


And let me see if I understand the logic here. Putting up a McCain sign in a certain neighborhood is the equivalent of a "stink bomb," but the fact that his opponent launched his political career in the house of an unrepentant terrorist who told the NY Times the only thing he regrets is not placing more bombs, is simply yesterday's news?


I do not follow
10.16.2008 6:26pm
hawkins:

There is a difference between what the First Amendment protects and how a mature, civil polity acts. Boycotting someone because he supports the other candidate is well within the First Amendment -- but it is childish and coarsens civil discourse by dividing the nation into enemy camps rather than citizens of a common polity who have civil disagreements on policy and candidates.


I agree completely


And let me see if I understand the logic here. Putting up a McCain sign in a certain neighborhood is the equivalent of a "stink bomb," but the fact that his opponent launched his political career in the house of an unrepentant terrorist who told the NY Times the only thing he regrets is not placing more bombs, is simply yesterday's news?


I do not follow
10.16.2008 6:26pm
hawkins:

There is a difference between what the First Amendment protects and how a mature, civil polity acts. Boycotting someone because he supports the other candidate is well within the First Amendment -- but it is childish and coarsens civil discourse by dividing the nation into enemy camps rather than citizens of a common polity who have civil disagreements on policy and candidates.


I agree completely


And let me see if I understand the logic here. Putting up a McCain sign in a certain neighborhood is the equivalent of a "stink bomb," but the fact that his opponent launched his political career in the house of an unrepentant terrorist who told the NY Times the only thing he regrets is not placing more bombs, is simply yesterday's news?


I do not follow
10.16.2008 6:30pm
Kelly (mail):

Boycotting someone because he supports the other candidate is well within the First Amendment -- but it is childish and coarsens civil discourse by dividing the nation into enemy camps rather than citizens of a common polity who have civil disagreements on policy and candidates.


I think it's a bit different when you're talking about Democrat-leaning social or political organizations deciding that they would prefer not to hold their meetings, events, etc. at the hotel in question. Maybe some people don't care about such things, but I don't find it irrational or childish for such groups to prefer a different setting for their gatherings.

Yeah, the "betrayal" and "slap in the face" rhetoric from the article is overblown, but there's a lot of that going around right now, on both sides.
10.16.2008 6:31pm
hawkins:
sorry...
10.16.2008 6:32pm
OrinKerr:
Steve,

If I feel insulted, and I decide to punish you because I feel you have insulted me, then that is a form of retributive punishment. That is what the article suggests many people feel.

Perhaps the article is wrong, but I'm just going on what it says.
10.16.2008 6:35pm
Nebuchanezzar (mail):
I dont know if I agree that its viewed as a "question of morality," but as a commenter noted above in regards to the Dixie Chicks, is this anything new?

It's been a while, but to the best of my knowledge the Dixie Chicks didn't just put up a sign that said "Vote John Kerry." As I recall, they made derogatory comments about the President of the United States in front of a London audience during a European tour.

Then, in an effort to repair the damage, they apologized "as concerned American citizens" for saying something bad about the President on foreign soil. Later they retracted the apology and went back to London and made the same comments again -- basically once they realized they weren't going to get that part of their fan base back and they instead needed to play to their new fan base. Truly a profile in courage...
10.16.2008 6:44pm
wfjag:
Dear Kelly:
Responding like a true lawyer -- a factually accurate, non-response. I didn't ask "what" the NAACP's involvement was (the article is clear -- it logged calls). I asked "why" it was involved?

The NAACP is a tax-exempt organization, whose exemption and the deductability of donations to it rest on its alleged non-partisan status. If it's favored tax status is revoked or is voluntarily given up, it can engage in partisan disputes to the hearts' content of any of its members. Till then, why is it involved, in any fashion, in a partisan dispute?
10.16.2008 6:46pm
LN (mail):
I'm very angry that John McCain took a private citizen and tried to turn him into a political prop during last night's nationally televised debate. What about Joe's privacy, his right to livelihood, his employer's livelihood? Why was John McCain so cavalier about these issues?
10.16.2008 6:49pm
Federal Dog:
"Stupid AP, reporting on the background of someone who has become important in the political discource!"

Investigation and full disclosure of Obama's financial dealings with Annenburg/Ayers, Rezco, and Raines, e.g., would be more helpful. Not to mention thousands of instances of illegal campaign contributions that are funding Obama's current fivefold outspending of McCain.
10.16.2008 6:55pm
loki13 (mail):
wfjag,

Maybe it takes a 'lawyer' to figure this out. A group that takes ("logs" in the vernacular) calls is not involved. If someone posts an Obama sign in a conservative neighborhood and complaints are made to the local police (or the Heritage Foundation) that are 'logged', and nothing is done about them because there is no problem, how are the police/Heritage foundation involved?
10.16.2008 6:56pm
Brian K (mail):
If I refuse to go to a bar that posts a sign saying "Democrat's dilemma: a boob with nuts or a nut with boobs," does that actually bother you for some reason?

that's not much of a dilemma. boobs are better.
10.16.2008 6:57pm
Kelly (mail):
Dear wfjag:

Unless I'm misunderstanding what it means to log calls, the NAACP received calls, presumably from members or other interested parties complaining about the hotel's McCain sign. A representative talked to the Post about the calls, and some of the feelings that had been expressed. There's no indication in the article that the NAACP took any action in relation to those calls, or that there's any action it was contemplating taking. So, I think my question stands. What involvement is objectionable?
10.16.2008 6:59pm
Clinton Resident:
I grew up in Clinton, Maryland. I lived in the neighborhood behind the 7-Eleven across the street from Colony South. (It's been a few years, and Clinton has had much construction recently, so the 7-Eleven may not be there anymore.) Although I no longer live there, I still visit friends in the area, and I would guess that, were they to put up a Republican sign in their yard, the sign would be stolen and their property vandalized. That's just PG county.
10.16.2008 7:09pm
Angus:
I find it interesting that this was not just "a McCain sign." Rather, it was the hotel changing its sign to a pro-McCain one. In other words:
$49 Night Free Cable TV!
Country First. McCain-Palin

To use someone else's example of Burger King, say you are a strong McCain voter in a deep red state. You drive by Burger King and see:
Whopper Have It Your Way
Change We Can Believe In
Obama-Biden 08
Would you as a McCain voter find it odd that a business decided to endorse a candidate in that way? Would you be less likely to eat there than before?

That, I think adds a new dimension in that the space normally reserved for advertising the business has been made into a political statement. IMHO, the hotel owners are free to do so, and people in the area are free to boycott the hotel if they so choose.
10.16.2008 7:15pm
Al (mail):

We have an Obama-Biden sign in my front yard. For several weeks, almost every weekday morning between 5:30 and 6:00 am, someone would drive up on our front lawn and run over it. We got to recognize the sound of the car lying in bed in the morning and knew when we would find the sign flattened and when not.

After suppressing my first urges (hide in the hedge with rocks to throw, put down a piece of wood with nails, put a steel bar in the ground just behind and hidden by the sign), my wife and I simply bring it in at night and put it out in the morning. No one can see it in the dark, anyway.


pheski, I would have gone with the wood with nails.
10.16.2008 7:17pm
Sarah (mail) (www):
Of greater concern is the idea that so many people apparently followed a thought process along the lines of:

-- That business supports John McCain!
-- John McCain is running against Barack Obama, who is black!
-- [something about blacks, civil rights, and/or deep confusion over the commonly accepted interpretation of the phrase "Advancement of Colored People"]
-- I should complain to the NAACP!

The only thing that people in my mom's town (which voted 75% for Bush in both 2000 and 2004) do when they see a McCain or Obama sign they don't like on someone else's lawn... is put up one of their own on their own lawn. The lady across the street put up a McCain sign, and within three days there were two more McCain houses and two Obama houses. Same thing applies in the working-class area near my employer's training center -- an Obama sign in March spawned a Hillary sign within a week (the Hillary sign went down in September; a house two doors down put up a McCain sign a few days after that.)

It's almost like people treat it like a rational "go team" expression of support, rather than a declaration of war, or something.

(I can't wait for this election to be over.)
10.16.2008 7:18pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
"I also don't think its racist in this situation for blacks to be voting largely based on race."

Your advocacy for a double standard cuts many ways. Virtually any group other than WASPs can invoke your excuse. As far as I'm concerned, any group, and that includes white people, can vote their interest because that's what democracy is all about. If white people are fearful about electing someone who was a member of a church that advocated Black Liberation Theology, then they should vote against him. And they should not be subjected to the defamatory charge of racism. You narrative has an Orwellian quality to it.
10.16.2008 7:19pm
Jim Rhoads (mail):
The article is interesting because it explores the tension between free speech and the right to conduct one's business as one sees fit.

Most good business owners know not to ***t where they eat. Know thy customer and meet her needs is rule 1 to succeed in business. It appears this motel owner didn't get that lesson.
10.16.2008 7:41pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
This incident shows the problems critics will have in dealing with a President Obama. He will wrap himself in a racial security blanket to fend off the opposition. Critical remarks could become "hate speech." And who defines what is "hate speech?" The SCLC of course. They keep lists. Already many companies will filter out web sites on the SCLC list. Example Fidelity filters out Vdare. Note carefully how the McCain sign was made into a racial affront. Today people are so afraid to being labeled a racist they will simply shut up out of fear of social and business ostracism. In some cases this includes getting fired.
10.16.2008 7:50pm
Oren:

It was as if the choice of President was not a question of different policy preferences, but rather a question of morality. I thought that was pretty interesting.

Seems quite in line with the [IN]DS posts -- if you disagree with me you are a fascist/socialist/commie/baby-eater.
10.16.2008 7:55pm
LSM:
Orin wrote:


It was as if the choice of President was not a question of different policy preferences, but rather a question of morality. I thought that was pretty interesting.


Orin, I'm surprised you would say this. Why wouldn't the choice of President be in part a moral question? Doesn't this decision affect who lives and dies in war, how health care will be distributed, whether or not states are free to prohibit abortions, the extent of people's rights in their private property, and (to some extent) how we will define our national character? Do none of those seem to you to implicate moral questions? Just because a question has a moral component doesn't mean people should be uncivil or take others' disagreement as personal insult; to the extent that's what you were pointing to, I agree that the story is pretty telling. But the idea that how we choose to govern each other is divorced from moral principles, and is instead just a question of battling policy-wonks, seems to me a pretty strange assertion. Are only small choices moral? I don't get it.
10.16.2008 7:59pm
OrinKerr:
LSM,

I think this is just a misunderstanding. It seems to me that you can and often do have policy preferences that are based on your own perception of morality. As a result, your choice of a President can be "in part a moral question." At the same time, that does not mean that someone who disagrees with you is immoral -- that in the words of the article, they are insulting you and "slapping you in the face," committing a wrong deserving of punishment. That was the point I was trying to make, however inarticulately.
10.16.2008 8:12pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
LSM.
You missed the point. While it certainly is a matter of character rather than of policy positions, since policy positions are often overtaken by events, the actual question is whether it is moral to put up a sign for McCain in community which doesn't like him. And cause wet pants and angst and slappedfacedness and whatnot.
Separate question altogether.
10.16.2008 8:13pm
Gabriel McCall (mail):
Definitely the wood with nails. Or caltrops- caltrops are cool and there are so few opportunities to use them in today's society.

Seriously- why suppress that urge? This person is trespassing on your land, damaging your possessions, and impairing your enjoyment of property. A few flat tires are no better than he deserves. Estoppel suggests that if he acts as if he does not believe in property rights, he cannot claim any of his own.
10.16.2008 8:24pm
Jmaie (mail):
I also don't think its racist in this situation for blacks to be voting largely based on race.

I'm afraid I don't follow. How can it not be racist to vote for Obama simply because he is black?

Actually, I don't find this particularly objectionable. Unfortunate, perhaps. One hopes there are better reasons to vote for the man.
10.16.2008 8:30pm
LSM:
Orin,

Gotcha. I now think we basically agree about what's interesting about this story. Though I'm not sure it's so obvious that a person who thinks a particular political question is a moral one shouldn't think a person who disagrees with him is immoral. Surely it depends on the question. Prince George's residents would be right to take personal affront at a candidate who, for instance, argued for the return of Jim Crow in the style of Strom Thurmond. Surely if the hotel had a "David Duke for President" sign, you wouldn't think the protesters were wrong to take offense or to view those who support Duke as immoral people.

So it has to be that we just think McCain supporters aren't objectively immoral; both candidates' views are within some kind of range of moral debatability. People in good faith can subscribe to either candidates' views, so it's wrong to take the simple fact of another person's adherence to the other candidate as offensive.

I'm fine with that, but imagine that I felt very strongly (I don't) about issues on either side of the culture war? Abortion? The death penalty? Gay rights? Church and state? Why can't I find McCain's (or Obama's) views and proposed policies on these issues so morally outrageous that I'm entitled to take it personally? The answer can't be the widespread nature of the disagreement, because that would exclude segregation in the 50s and 60s from the category of "political issues that slap you in the face." And that can't be right.

So while I agree that people shouldn't take a McCain sign like a personal insult, that's only because I've made my own moral judgment that McCain's not beyond the pale. From there, it's turtles all the way down.
10.16.2008 8:32pm
Jmaie (mail):
Tough choice between the nails and the rocks. Could be more satisfying to see the persons face while bouncing rocks off his windshield. Tire damage also good.
10.16.2008 8:35pm
Curt Fischer:
Man, people aren't very creative. All of those boycotters, vandals, and confiscators haven't accomplished as much for either side as one effort I saw. At a restaurant one night a few months ago I walked into a restroom, and in there they had a box of those dispensable paper toilet seat covers. Someone had scrawled "McCain Campaign Hats" on the box.

Not exactly a laugh-out-loud funny, but definitely better than anything else reported so far on this thread.
10.16.2008 8:39pm
festivus (mail):
I don't see the problem. I routinely "vote" in one way or another with my pocketbook on issues of interest to me.

If one of those issues had mass appeal, say, my personal pet peeve against blacksmiths, in my neighborhood, and a blacksmith set up his shop next door to me. . . I would *expect* my neighbors to march up and back in front of his shop, and refuse to have their horseshoes made there.

If you and your neighbors all despise stuffed house pets, I would expect a similar welcome if I came to your neighborhood to open up my small animal taxidermy service.

Some people care about some things deeply. Sometimes those people, sharing a cause, live near each other. I'll call that a "community." If the gathered community feels strongly about something in its midst, it is certainly entitled to take lawful and reasonable actions to state its own position. That, apparently, is what happened here.

Orin, it's interesting for the conversation it generated (here, not at the website's own comments pages). But for the event itself, it's not a big deal.

As a side note, the racial overtones of this thread are a bit weird. I would hesitate to assume, as some posters apparently have, that the same thing wouldn't have happened twelve years ago when Bill Clinton was the Democratic nominee.

festivus
10.16.2008 8:53pm
PDXLawyer (mail):
OK: Surely your point about disagreement not equalling immorality has its limits. I agree with you that the curent election comes nowhere near to being an epic battle between right and wrong. On the other hand, some elections might be. The 1864 Lincoln - McClellan election comes to mind for me.

I'm a Republican and I don't like a lot of Obama's policy positions. I probably won't vote fo him. But given the history of the US, particularly prior to 1960, I'm inclined not to be too critical of blacks whose attachment to Obama seems a little over-the-top.
10.16.2008 8:54pm
PDXLawyer (mail):
Nails, definitely.
10.16.2008 8:58pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
PDX.
You can understand history all you want, but the results of voting for Obama are going to be what they will. And if they turn out to be bad for blacks, except for the organized complainers....it probably won't make any difference.
10.16.2008 9:00pm
pheski (mail):
@ Al, Gabriel and Jmaie ~>

Two very good reasons to suppress the urge:

1. I'm civilized, know it wouldn't be useful, and am able to modulate my behavior.
2. Someone who will (repeatedly) drive up on my lawn to run over a silly political sign with NO provocation would probably lose no sleep after setting fire to my house if I shred his/her tires.

P
10.16.2008 9:00pm
whit:

Personally, I think its a poor decision for someone to vote for this reason, but hardly racist


of course it's racist. it may be a benign, understandable form of racism, but it's racism.

if you treat people differently based on their race, it's racism. that's simply definitional.

the easiest "racism" detector test is to reverse it.

if a white person's decision to vote for candidate X was based (partially or wholly) on the fact that said candidate was white, would that be a form of racism?

of course.

reminds me of sports. we prohibit men from playing on women's teams or competiting against women (like at the olmypics) because we know women are weaker and slower. is this "sexist"? of course. but it's a "benign" form of sexism we accept.

we know that if we didn't discriminate on account of gender, that even (for example) the best female sprinter, wouldn't even be a decent male sprinter. so, we discriminate on account of gender. it's sexism, but it's "ok"

but call it as it is. people who vote based on a candidate race are employing racism. by definition
10.16.2008 9:05pm
The General:
it would take more than waterboarding to get Obama to tell the truth about, inter alia, his tax plan, his pro-abortion record, his anti-gun record, or his relationship with Bill Ayers.
10.16.2008 9:05pm
PC:
The General, which form of torture would you prefer?
10.16.2008 9:21pm
Observer:
Is there any town in the country where placing a pro-Obama poster would attract half as much rage? (This is a rhetorical question; the answer is "No.")
10.16.2008 9:30pm
Gabriel McCall (mail):
1. I'm civilized, know it wouldn't be useful, and am able to modulate my behavior.

Self-defense and defense of property rights are not uncivilized. A case could be made that civilization could not exist without widespread respect for property rights and the justified defense thereof.

I think encouraging people to stop driving on my yard and infringing on my right to express political opinions from my own property would be useful. I also think that saving myself a twice-a-day trip to the garage would be useful. How do you define useful?

I can modulate my behavior too. Whether, when, and why it is best to employ that capability are valid questions.

2. Someone who will (repeatedly) drive up on my lawn to run over a silly political sign with NO provocation would probably lose no sleep after setting fire to my house if I shred his/her tires.

You see a short slippery slope between yardsign vandalism and arson? I think that's a pretty giant step up the escalation ladder... but, even if it is, at least when you call the police on the guy whose 4-flatted car is stuck in your yard, you and they will be able to identify the criminal, which should tend to discourage further activity.
10.16.2008 9:53pm
LM (mail):
Though I think some of the reactions were somewhat overwrought, it should surprise no one that such reactions would be provoked by a sign that says not just "McCain-Palin" but "Country First -- McCain-Palin" (my bold). Never mind that it's a campaign slogan, the intention of which is arguable. The negative inference likely to be drawn from such a slogan by historically demonized outsiders isn't far-fetched.
10.16.2008 10:31pm
Jmaie (mail):
We have different definitions of useful. The perpetrator could be a young'un (as in young and dumb) and your lesson could be the catalyst for a little maturation.

OK, shredding their tires is not the most civilized response. *No* response, IMHO, is an even worse choice. Barbarians at the gate and all that. You don't want to do damage? OK, dig a small trench just past the sign. Maybe a foot deep. No permenant harm but will surely get their attention.

As a side note, obviously this person feels that you have provoked them, otherwise they wouldn't be driving on your lawn.
10.16.2008 10:37pm
MS (mail):
Observer,

Come to Lubbock, TX. We'll kick your pansy butt just for using the word "rhetorical."
10.16.2008 10:48pm
LM (mail):
whit,

I'd have thought you were at least partially right, the other part being that there are many people use "racism" only when the distinctions are invidious. But to my surprise, at least in the first online dictionary I checked, the latter definition is the only one offered.
10.16.2008 10:51pm
Hoosier:
>>>The negative inference likely to be drawn from such a slogan by historically demonized outsiders isn't far-fetched.<<<

Yes, it is.
10.16.2008 11:05pm
Hoosier:
PC:
>>>The General, which form of torture would you prefer?<<<

I can't speak for the General. But I'd opt for 72 consecutive hours of the Jonas Brothers piped into his hotel room. (All the scars are on the inside.)
10.16.2008 11:07pm
Asher (mail):
I'd just note that there are surely some neighborhoods in America where big Obama signs wouldn't be particularly welcome either.
10.16.2008 11:07pm
whit:
LM, i feel your pain.

this is similar to the idea that "black people can't be racist because they don't have power" and other such claptrap.

the reason the OP didn't want to admit that preferentially voting for obama because he was black was in fact "racist" is because ...

racism is always bad
therefore
it can't be racism
or else it's bad.
and he doesn't think it's bad
so, it isn't racism.

this is a common "logic" we see.

here's another test. are racial preferences "racist?"

of course. they discriminate on account of race. you would hope, honest supporters of racial preferences would admit that, but getting them to admit it's racism is like trying to get superman to join you at House of Kryptonite (tm). It just aint gonna happen.
10.16.2008 11:07pm
PDXLawyer (mail):
Am I crazy in thinking there ought to be a difference between the legal and the political? Surely this is a propositon that most of my fellow right-wingers can get behind.

Is it not at least plausible that racial considerations might have a place in politics, even if they have no place in law? If thinking in racial terms is a sin, it is a sin like lust which I cannot in my present imperfect state completely avoid. All I can do is try to compensate for it.
10.16.2008 11:30pm
Syd Henderson (mail):

Observer:
Is there any town in the country where placing a pro-Obama poster would attract half as much rage? (This is a rhetorical question; the answer is "No.")
10.16.2008 8:30pm



Nope, couldn't happen at all:
http://tinyurl.com/6cuq83

Nope, nowhere at all:
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,373426,00.html

Stop bloviating go on any search engine, search on "obama" "vandalized" and watch what comes up.

"In Indiana, Obama's campaign headquarters was vandalized"
"Hundreds of Obama signs, stickers, stolen or vandalized in East Texas. KILGORE (KLTV)"

You can probably do the same with "McCain" and "vandalized."
10.16.2008 11:41pm
trad and anon:
1) This is an absurd overreaction by the locals.

2) Anyone who didn't foresee lost business from putting a GOP sign up in an overwhelmingly Democratic area has no business being in business.
10.16.2008 11:42pm
Brian G (mail) (www):
If Obama wins, racism will still be alive and well. If Obama actually won all 50 states and Guam, racism would be still be as strong as ever. You know why? There are way too many people whose livelihoods depend on it. Why do you think Jesse Jackson hates Obama so much? He knows he's basically out of business if Obama wins, although he fade into "Bolivian" without a fight.

Plus, should Obama win, anyone who opposes him will be a racist, as if no one every criticized Bush, Clinton, etc.

You know why am I sure of this? Because the state I live in is majority Hispanic, with a Hispanic governor, legislature, and Supreme Court. And they place the race card all the time.

I don't support Obama because of the union "card check," the liberal judges he will appoint, his inevitable confiscatory tax rates, and his ridiculous position on abortion. Does that make racist? To way too many people, the answer is sadly "yes." So be it. Many conservative bastards like me had been called racist for so many dumb things, we don't even bother to listen anymore.
10.17.2008 12:17am
LM (mail):
whit:

LM, i feel your pain.

I'm not sure which of my comments you're responding to, so I don't know if you're being facetious. Either "thank you" or "go to hell," as applicable. Let me know.

this is similar to the idea that "black people can't be racist because they don't have power" and other such claptrap.

Are you referring to racism as defined in the dictionary I linked? FWIW, I assume people of every description judge each other on all sorts of beliefs and motives, benign, malign, and in every permutation. In a field laden with traps, I'd think clearing away some semantic misunderstandings would be a relatively easy place to start narrowing differences. Vocabulary tyranny by either side isn't helpful.

the reason the OP didn't want to admit that preferentially voting for obama because he was black was in fact "racist" is because ...
[...]
this is a common "logic" we see.

I'm again not sure which OP you have in mind, but there are certainly people who make this sort of proprietary argument about racism. As I just said, I don't consider it at all helpful. If something's not properly called racism, fine by me. We'll come up with another word for the invidious racial distinctions some black people make about white people.

On the other hand, there are also many people, including some on this thread, who apparently conflate all "racism" (broadly defined), bigoted or benign, into one morally undifferentiated category. That's the asserted principle of all racism being equally evil that underlies efforts to characterize affirmative action as a sort of reverse Jim Crow. In reality, as your prior comment implies, there's a long, nuanced spectrum of racism, and the shades of gray have meaning. One relevant example is that history and context make hypersensitivity to racial animus more understandable by members of some groups than by others. And that doesn't mean that racial hostility by members of some groups is more excusable than by members of another. It isn't.

here's another test. are racial preferences "racist?"

of course. they discriminate on account of race. you would hope, honest supporters of racial preferences would admit that, but getting them to admit it's racism is like trying to get superman to join you at House of Kryptonite (tm). It just aint gonna happen.

This is why generalizing is dangerous. I support certain racial preferences, and I think it's obvious and uncontroversial that they're racist, broadly defined. That doesn't mean they're wrong. Pretty much anything government does benefits (and thus detriments) some people more than others. If governmental action is appropriate to repair damage inordinately suffered by certain groups at the hands of society (I think it is), it's silly to pretend that doesn't come at the cost of everyone else.
10.17.2008 12:36am
A. Zarkov (mail):
I doubt an Obama election will tone down charges of white racism. It would not surprise me to see the frequency of charges actually increase. Obama, his supporters and apparachniks will scream "racist"at his critics.
10.17.2008 12:43am
Bama 1L:
Here's what FantasiaWHT was going on about early in the thread: the Elm Grove police removed 20 McCain and 6 Obama signs because of setback violations.

I'm surprised there were that many Obama signs in Elm Grove, which is, indeed, a very Republican suburb. I would have expected all the signs--whether in yards or removed by police--to have been McCain signs. I'm not surprised to learn that Elm Grove has a very restrictive ordinance or that the village police enforced it in this fashion.
10.17.2008 1:14am
LN (mail):
I'm feeling oppressed by all the accusations that Obama supporters will accuse non-Obama supporters of being racist. HELP! Oh how will I ever survive!
10.17.2008 1:35am
whit:

This is why generalizing is dangerous. I support certain racial preferences, and I think it's obvious and uncontroversial that they're racist, broadly defined. That doesn't mean they're wrong.


exactly, and thank you for the honesty. i *do* think they are wrong, but it seems that many who are for them simply will not admit that they ARE racist, since that is like admitting that they are automatically wrong, which is not necessarily the case.

the thing that has always disturbed me about the PC people (not you... them) is the redefining of words. Since racism is BAD, any "benign" examples (like black people naturally being more likely to vote for obama in the same way catholics might vote for kennedy) are discounted as (Not-Racism).

It is refreshing to hear your pragmatism.
10.17.2008 1:48am
~aardvark (mail):

As Michael Barone wrote the other day, the Thugogracy cometh. Obama and his followers are not much on dissent.


and


It was as if the choice of President was not a question of different policy preferences, but rather a question of morality. I thought that was pretty interesting.


How quickly the forget Defending Civilization!
10.17.2008 4:44am
Eli Rabett (www):
A couple of curious things here. First, no one seems to know who ordered the sign to be put up (it was not the manager, but could have been the owner) Second no comment on the relationship of the hotel to the community around it. No one seems to be willing to cut them any slack.
10.17.2008 9:09am
PC:
Posting in the correct thread now...

Perhaps the people in this neighborhood would have felt differently if the GOP didn't have one of its party offices sending out mailers with a picture of Obama juxtaposed with fried chicken, watermelon and ribs. Maybe there wouldn't be so much animosity towards the GOP ticket if the right leaning Fox News didn't call Senator Obama's wife a "baby mama." If GOP supporters weren't showing up to rallies with Obama monkey dolls, maybe the people in this neighborhood wouldn't feel so much animosity.

Yeah, yeah, I know. Pointing out that these things have happened is playing the "race card." The sad thing is Obama gave a great speech about race and how we need to move beyond the divisions of the past. Obama is certainly no race baiting Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton. But people in the GOP insist on stoking the fires of racism.
10.17.2008 1:16pm
wfjag:
Dear Kelly:
IF all that happened is that people called the NAACP and all the NAACP did was logged that someone called, then I agree with you. I may be reading too much in the WaPo article - or assuming more professionalism on the part of the reporter and editor than I should. In a newspaper article, every sentence should advance the reader's story in some material way. But, maybe you're correct. Maybe all the article means is that some people saw a sign they didn't like and ran hope and called the NAACP -- and not a Dem Party or Obama Campaign office -- which logged the calls and did nothing else. Still, that seems like a useless bit of info -- unless you're getting paid by the word and the editor doesn't know how to edit out details that add nothing to the story.

Meanwhile, this is an interesting development:


Lawsuit says supporter fears for Obama's life
KANSAS CITY |

A Kansas City lawyer and supporter of Barack Obama for president has filed suit in federal court, alleging that the Republican ticket has incited violence against the Democratic nominee.

In her lawsuit against Sen. John McCain, Gov. Sarah Palin and campaign manager Rick Davis, Mary Kay Green said she had been injured by their campaign tactics and suffered "terror of the heart, anxiety and grave fear" for Obama's life.

Green said the GOP campaign had used hate speech to work its supporters into a frenzy, leading to death threats against Obama.

The lawsuit, which was filed Tuesday, has been assigned to a federal court mediation program for resolution.

www.kansascity.com/115/story/843091.html
10.17.2008 1:29pm
DiverDan (mail):

Economic liberty works. You're free to run your business as you see fit, and I'm free not to patronize you if I don't like your style.



Can you imagine the unholy response if I announced that my Bank would no longer make any residential or car or business loans into any neighborhood that voted 75% or more for Obama? Just how many of you who think this was an appropriate response would support my economic liberty then?
10.17.2008 1:47pm
Helene Edwards (mail):
Black people are so nice.
10.17.2008 2:32pm
LM (mail):
Helene Edwards:

Black people are so nice.

Care to elaborate?
10.17.2008 2:37pm
byomtov (mail):
I don't think viewing a black candidate's race as a positive factor is necessarily racist.

Voters generally take candidates' backgrounds into account in making their decisions, presumably becase they think that an individual's specific experiences will (or won't) be valuable in office.

For example, lots of people are attracted to candidates with business backgrounds, on the reasonable premise that such experience helps in a number of policy areas. Similarly, many voters regard military experience as useful in dealing with various issues.

Now, if you regard race, and the circumstances of African-Americans, to be an important matter for the country, wouldn't it be reasonable to think that a black candidate might have a strong understanding of those problems, based on personal experience, and would be able to deal with racial issues in an especially effective way?

Partly too, for black voters, it might simply reflect the idea that "he understands us - he thinks the way we do." Voters identify with candidates all sorts of ways - southerners tend to vote for southerners, for example. The "favorite son" is a staple of politics.

So why single out one particular preference of this sort, or one set of life experiences, as being an invalid criterion?
10.17.2008 2:41pm
bad imitation (mail):
@LM:

tell you what, if Helene Edwards doesn't elaborate, I will. This incident, in which blacks ran to the NAACP claiming a pro-McCain yard sign was a display of "disrespect," exemplifies why I would not hire a black lawyer. (not that I get all that many resumes, but even if I did). Are you white? If so, in all the time you've worked in the white business world, have you ever heard a white professional demand that others be "respectful"? In our law office, it's common for people working on cases together to tell each other with caustic sarcasm that they haven't thought something through or they don't know what they're doing or they should find another line of work. We all pride ourselves on having thick skins, and if your standard response was to whine about being "disrespected" you would be beneath contempt. How do I fit into this atmosphere people who run to a "rights" organization because someone merely displayed a preference for the other political party?
10.17.2008 2:57pm
LM (mail):
Hoosier:

>>>The negative inference likely to be drawn from such a slogan by historically demonized outsiders isn't far-fetched.<<<

"Yes, it is."



My first comment may have been ambiguous, so let's make sure we agree on what we're disagreeing over. Here's what I meant:

"Country First — McCain-Palin" can be interpreted two ways. It can mean that McCain and Palin put their country first, or it can mean the person displaying the message believes it puts country first to vote for McCain and Palin. I had the latter reading in mind when I said, "The negative inference likely to be drawn from such a slogan by historically demonized outsiders isn't far-fetched." In other words, the negative implication of that reading is that supporting Obama doesn't put country first. And that's an implication to which people who have been historically demonized would be understandably sensitive.

Is that what you disagreed with? If so, please explain.


(And why am I getting error messages about open HTML tags when I try to block or italicize the OP?)
10.17.2008 3:04pm
sabinefemme (mail):
If a business in a town where the beef industry was important took down their advertising and replaced it with "Support PETA..say no to animal cruelty!",,would all the residents that used to go to that business be out of line to no longer go there?

I don't support PETA at all,andif a business were so foolish as to not realise who their customers are..then, well..there you go. This is similar.
10.17.2008 3:29pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
sabine
I think the question is not the threatened boycott. This thread is oversupplied with comments to the effect that boycotting this is perfectly legitimate.
So saying boycotting is perfectly legitimate one more time indicates you missed the point.
The point is the supposed reaction of the community. "disrespected" "slap in the face" and so forth, and what that means.
10.17.2008 3:34pm
NickM (mail) (www):
FWIW, the person who put out the "Obama Bucks" (the person in charge of the newsletter for a local Republican Women's Federated group) is Hispanic. Her daughter was interviewed on TV news saying in effect "How could my mother be racist? She's Mexican-American." Oddly enough, if you buy into the "racism is about power" claim, she might be right.

People boycotting businesses because of the business owner's political leanings isn't a big surprise. People organizing group boycottts and putting enough effort into it to draw media attention is, however, new.

Nick
10.17.2008 3:42pm
whit:

"How could my mother be racist? She's Mexican-American."


bwahahahaha!

fwiw, I have heard some incredibly racist (anti-black) comments by both mexican-americans and by mexicans (I travel sometimes to mexico.

next, we will hear that japanese-americans can't be racist (lol - tell that to the chinese).
10.17.2008 3:47pm
whit:

I don't think viewing a black candidate's race as a positive factor is necessarily racist.

Voters generally take candidates' backgrounds into account in making their decisions, presumably becase they think that an individual's specific experiences will (or won't) be valuable in office.

For example, lots of people are attracted to candidates with business backgrounds, on the reasonable premise that such experience helps in a number of policy areas. Similarly, many voters regard military experience as useful in dealing with various issues.

Now, if you regard race, and the circumstances of African-Americans, to be an important matter for the country, wouldn't it be reasonable to think that a black candidate might have a strong understanding of those problems, based on personal experience, and would be able to deal with racial issues in an especially effective way?

Partly too, for black voters, it might simply reflect the idea that "he understands us - he thinks the way we do." Voters identify with candidates all sorts of ways - southerners tend to vote for southerners, for example. The "favorite son" is a staple of politics.

So why single out one particular preference of this sort, or one set of life experiences, as being an invalid criterion?



you are AGAIN conflating two issues

1) whether it's racist
2) whether it's "ok" or "invalid"

for pete's sake. if you MAKE a decision partly or wholly based on race, that is BY DEFINITION a racist action/decision. that's definitional. you do exactly what my previous schematic suggested, in trying to say it's not racism by saying it's ok, so it can't be racism, cause racism isn't ok. etc.

it MAY be "reasonable" to take a candidates "background" into account, but if you take their race into account (which may or not relate to certain background issues), it's racist.

period.

fwiw, a black guy growing up in indonesia and hawaii (i used to live hawaii fwiw), has about as much "background" in common with a black guy from chicago or DC as an hispanic growing up in japan might have with an hispanic growing up in spanish harlem.

if you make a decision based on race, it's racist. whether it's "reasonable" or "valid" is an ENTIRELY different issue.
10.17.2008 3:51pm
LM (mail):
bad imitation,

This incident, in which blacks ran to the NAACP claiming a pro-McCain yard sign was a display of "disrespect," exemplifies why I would not hire a black lawyer. (not that I get all that many resumes, but even if I did). Are you white? If so, in all the time you've worked in the white business world, have you ever heard a white professional demand that others be "respectful"?

Yes, I'm white, and over the years I've been actively involved in hiring hundreds of attorneys at a large firm. And yes, I've heard many white professionals, and for that matter professionals of every ethnicity, gender and other relevant identity demand to be treated respectfully. Indeed, I've seen countless interactions between colleagues, between partners and associates, attorneys and support staff, with clients and with opposing counsel where the only possible way of being treated respectfully was to insist on it. And when that sort of demand is made firmly but respectfully, it's more often constructive than problematic (though in the moment things can get heated).

Have I seen African-Americans and members of other groups demand respect or sensitivity specific to their identity? Yes. Have I seen complaints and litigation ensue? Yes. Have I found the members of such groups more likely than the general population to be unreasonably demanding or litigious? No. There are obstreperous people in every segment of the population. Demanding that irrespective of their background every person object only to things you find objectionable is a rigid, intolerant recipe for antagonism. Here's a suggestion for starters. Stop thinking of it as the "white business world." It's just the business world. Framing that type of exclusion and opposition tends to be self-fulfilling.
10.17.2008 4:20pm
LM (mail):
whit,

for pete's sake. if you MAKE a decision partly or wholly based on race, that is BY DEFINITION a racist action/decision. that's definitional.

As I said above, I've always assumed the same thing. But the definition I referred you to suggests it's not that clear cut. And here's another. There's obviously at least some support for the notion that what you and I refer to as "benign racism" is a misnomer, i.e., "racism" may indeed only properly apply to the invidious kind. We may need a new word. Whether that's a recent development I don't know and don't have time to trace the etymology. Regardless, it's something to keep in mind.
10.17.2008 4:33pm
byomtov (mail):
Whit,

I don't think it's definitional. Racism suggests a belief in the inherent superiority of one race over another, or actions taken solely on the basis of race. That's not what I'm talking about.

I am not saying it's OK to vote for the black candidate because you think blacks are superior to whites. That would be racist.

I'm saying it's OK to do so in a particular situation where you think the racial background has shaped the person's experience in a way that helps him understand and deal with important problems.

Now, if you're going to claim this is "racist," tell me what term I should use for someone who really does consider one race superior, and would never vote for a member of another.

If we accept your notion then we also have to define terms for the other categories I mentioned. Are you a "businessist" if you prefer candidates with business experience? A "regionalist" if you prefer someone from your area?
10.17.2008 5:19pm
bad imitation (mail):
LM:

but see, black people themselves think of it as the "white business world." Their every waking moment is devoted to assessing: "how black can I be when I'm around these people?" Here's a "racism" story for you:

guy comes to my office, he's been fired from his job as a forklift driver at a large glass bottle factory. Says, "they don't like black people there, man." He's union, so I call up his rep. Rep says well, he likes to smoke dope in his car on his lunch hour, they gave him two warnings, and he did it again. There's nothing we can do. I say to the client, is that right? He says, "yeah." I ask, so where' the racism? He goes, "they let the white guys do it." Did I mention it's a glass factory?
10.17.2008 6:23pm
LM (mail):
bad imitation,

Nice story, but how does it show that black people are more disruptive in the workplace than anyone else?
10.18.2008 7:23am
Jmaie (mail):
next, we will hear that japanese-americans can't be racist (lol - tell that to the chinese).

Indeed. My Japanese in-laws are the sweetest, nicest people you would ever want to meet. Now, they don't much care for blacks, hold Mexicans in contempt, and don't even get them started on the "lesser" Asian races...
10.19.2008 1:53am
Jmaie (mail):
Heck, they might even vote republican for the first time in 50 years.
10.19.2008 1:55am
Clinton Resident:
I noted earlier that I believed that I believed that putting McCain signs on private property in PG County would result in vandalism to one's property. I was right. See article here: Anti-McCain Vandalism Hits Maryland
10.22.2008 10:27am
paealos (mail) (www):
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10.24.2008 6:07am
Neighborhood Gal:
Like Clinton Resident, I am also a resident of Southern Maryland. So I know the county and the Hotel.

Colony South posts political signs on its property every election year. They had Bush-Cheney signs posted there next to Steny Hoyer signs (Hoyer is a Democrat US Congressman for that area.) So it's not like this is the first time they ever posted political signs. But it may be the first time they have received complaints/threats for doing so.

It's also located off Route 5 near the county border. Therefore, the traffic that passes the hotel is either leaving or entering the other county, not Prince Georges.
10.24.2008 12:24pm
Neighborhood Gal:
Also, I was at a craft fair in the vicinty of the hotel a couple of weeks ago--there were a number of McCain signs on the lawns of some homes and businesses. I think Colony South is being singled out because it's located along a heavily traveled road.

But the Prince Georgians should be worrying more about their county government than about a stupid sign in front of a hotel. A cop killer is murdered in their county jail. A woman is nearly burned to death because a judge wouldn't extend a restraining order. The county director of homeland security shoots at two furniture delivery men and kills one of them. They have the worst public school system in the state. But no, they are more worried about a stupid sign.
10.24.2008 12:34pm