DNC Day 1: Kennedy and Michelle

Thanks to the kindness of a few very nice people, I was able to go to the convention for the Kennedy and Obama night, and I would be remiss if I did not give at least a short comment on both. Caroline Kennedy’s tribute as well as the video ably paid justice to a man who has done a great deal to benefit all Americans, especially in many cases immigrants. The issues of immigration reform and immigrant rights, healthcare, discrimination, poverty, and an intelligent foreign policy were all discussed in great detail at the many Asian American events today, and Ted Kennedy has certainly done a great deal of work on all of these issues in his extensive time in the Senate. When he said he wanted to “close the book on the old politics of race and gender, group against group..,” I thought he would certainly be encouraged by the bonds forged by the many different ethnicities in the AAPI caucus, which showed itself today to be formidable and only growing stronger and more cohesive in the near future.

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Michelle Obama’s speech probably brought the most enthusiastic response from the crowd, and it had a lot of messages that had the potential to resonate with the South Asian community. Craig Robinson introduced her as a devoted and caring mother and the Obama and Robinson extended family as one that has a strong emphasis on bonds and family values, a theme of extended connection that is common and cherished in South Asian communities. She discussed how her parents taught her that “America should be a place where you can make it if you try,” the idea of the American dream that certainly is powerful for all immigrants. Her major theme was that her and Barack see the “world as it is and the world as it should be,” and only accept the “world as it should be.” Whether you will vote for him or not, the fact that, as Michelle said, “a son of a single mother from Hawaii can go all the way to the White House” has to be encouraging to any proud immigrant parents or children of immigrants.

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85 thoughts on “DNC Day 1: Kennedy and Michelle

  1. The way you talk Dr. Amnom it seems you think that to be for social justice you have to support AA – give me a break – I just take a lot of other considerations into view and race based AA isn’t the answer.

    Yes, because in my opinion it is. You can make arguments that it should be changed, refined, etc., to include class or other mechanisms of disempowerment and I’d agree, but saying that it “isn’t the answer” begs for “what’s the question?” There is no such thing as merit-based admissions, much less merit-based advancement in most of the professional world. When George Bush speaks, I don’t hear too many people complaining about affirmative action for legacies or that they will be looked upon more negatively because of it (though, in fact, that’s the case).

    The best social justice argument I can come up with for opposing race-based affirmative action is that it coopts too many potentially great leaders of colour into the upper tiers of the elite and turns them into Barack Obama rather than Malcolm X. But in a liberal capitalist democracy, risking this tool for social mobility is dangerous, particularly when the opposition is coming from a less-than-benign place (not you necessarily- referring more to the people who have been and are promoting these anti-affirmative action referenda and whatnot which is ALSO part of a social movement – against people of many different groups, including migrants).

    If you comment there I’ll comment otherwise I think I’m taking away from the DNC -

    Sorry, don’t do threadjumps :) Conversation will die of its own accord :) Anyway, I’ll stop commenting, but if you’re interested, you should take a look at some of the writings of Mark Galanter on the reservation system in India and some of the theoretical arguments for affirmative action type programmes (which he calls “compensatory discrimination).

  2. 5 · bleh said

    “first time in my life I’m proud of America”

    The ugly truth is that till a few years before Michelle was born segregation was a way of life in this country, legally sanctioned and unquestioned.

  3. Sorry, don’t do threadjumps :)

    That’s unfortunate b/c that discussion pulls up a lot of facts and studies and isn’t as one dimensional as your outlook that AA based on race is the answer —- the question – there’s several questions – one is how does public policy make sure that all Americans have the opportunity to excel at what they want. Having a race based AA, that gives preference to blacks, latinos, as I’ve said less and less makes sense to me. Having it based on your background, income, opportunities you had in the high school you went to, etc…might be something much better.

    Anyway, I’ll stop commenting, but if you’re interested, you should take a look at some of the writings of Mark Galanter on the reservation system in India and some of the theoretical arguments for affirmative action type programmes (which he calls “compensatory discrimination).

    Sorry not so interested since I’m considering the situation in the US and other countries hierarchies and aa programs can be vastly different – the reservation system in India from the little I know about it, combines castes, tribes, religions and differentiates from region to region, with castes changing from OBC to upper caste depending on politics; an OBC caste can be socioeconomically dominant whereas a brahmin in a particular region can be backward…there’s major differences from the U.S.; Let’s stick with AA as an American tool that tries to advance social justice – a system imo that doesn’t really advance social justice in this country.

    You should read more about the issue with AA and the diversity of groups in latino and blacks (whether american or immigrant) in income – and which socioeconomic backgrounds that these underrepresented minorities represent in elite programs and colleges and why AA is in place to help them get into competitive programs with lower scores, while just as hard working Asians (and desis within that) many who may have come from ordinary backgrounds have higher scores they need to achieve. I mean really why are black immigrants and some latinos in any different category as far as standards than desis and other asians? Again, something wrong when just focusing on race – lots of other factors.

    Frontline on PBS did a great documentary also on SAT scores and ethnic differences and there’s diverse opinions — one thing that they discussed was that before today’s AA was in place, the gap between blacks and whites was closing in education – that happened without AA. The race-based AA we have today I’m afraid only pits ethnic groups against each other, lowers standards for some groups, and denigrates those who have “made” it w/o the need for lower standards. Hope you get a chance to check this Frontline doc out – really many anti-race-based-aa are not racist (LOL) – they just don’t see this system as fair nor helping those Americans that don’t have the same equal opportunity and also want to respect as much as possible individual rights within a public policy. Also thread hopping over to the other SM link gives a lot of different views and sources too, even if you don’t want to comment there.

    Here’s an opinion from that Frontline show-

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/sats/interviews/thernstrom.html


    Hillary was really good! Her speech was so important; My friends and I were holding our breaths just wondering if she was going to show that she did actually believe in Obama – I think she pulled it off.

    Did anyone notice how sappy Bill was getting? I believe he was mouthing “I love you, I love you” as a mantra there for a bit, while Hilary was speaking – I couldn’t help but think it was for the camera.

    And I forgot to say, thanks Ravi for getting in :)

  4. two patriots, two non-race baiters, and two people who reached the threshold. But you guys had to give us Obama and look how low the election has gone ;-)

    Where’s the gratitude? [link]

  5. 44 · Manju said

    Mark Warner just derisively mentioned jobs going to “Bangelore, India.” Disgusting appeal to xenephobia, protectionism, and anti-liberlsim. This, along with their desire to move back our 14th ammendment rights thru affirmative action, which some of you discussing, shows you where much of the democratic party wants POC: as objects of charity a la a new “liberal” noblesse oblige.

    Liberalism has guided this nation from its founding and shown the way out of its most difficult moments since then – through the Civil War, recovering from the obscene extravagance and dehumanisation of the Gilded Age and its Robber Barons, reversing the Great Depression, the post-WW2 economic expansion, the times of the Great Society, and capping it with the all too brief renewal of trust of the Carter years following the dishonest times of Nixonian presidency, and an ushering in of the 21st century through the great Clinton-Gore years. And it is the enlightened liberalism that will help us put these disastrous eight years of drift, chicanery, cronysism, and deconstitutionalism behind us. America has always shown the world how to bring about sustained progress through accountable government, even if its wealthy trust fund class has managed to hold back progress every now and then. Government in America by keeping economic power at a discreet distance from the levers of political power has wrought epic changes in the lives of millions and billions. Let us ignore the poorly informed ravings of a few politicians and hacks.

    Manju, speech may have been too good. reminds me of reagan in ’76 and everyone went “we chose the wrong guy!”

    The nation went ahead anyway and 4 years later and again eight years later chose not just the wrong guy but the stupid guy. Since only a few vote you can fool a few people all the time and remain in power! Obama not qualified? How about a dunderhead like John McCain who makes much of his injuries as a POW although they were all sustained before his capture, just after his plane was shot down, who walked out on his invalid first wife to marry into money, who knows nothing about economics or even how to switch on a PC, but knew enough to extricate himself fro mthe Keating five scandal and also helped his wife escape an Rx drug abuse rap after she was caught dipping into the Rx reserves of her own charity? Does that hurt or are you numb from clapping for your not too smart GOP candidate?

  6. Having a race based AA, that gives preference to blacks, latinos, as I’ve said less and less makes sense to me. Having it based on your background, income, opportunities you had in the high school you went to, etc…might be something much better.

    If I’ve already acknowledged that affirmative action with modifications that include taking into account all of these things in addition to race (let’s call it affirmative action +) might be a better alternative to most of the present systems, then what is the remaining argument to eliminate race as a factor? That racism doesn’t exist in the U.S.? Tell that to the Obama campaign, to get back to the original point – and a time for me to again ask – why did this question come up – why are we talking about the merits and demerits for race-based preferences of Black people vs. desis in a thread about Michelle Obama? How and why did it come up? That it did is evidence of the continued existence of racism, in my book. We’re not talking about her as a mother or a woman or anything else; we’re not even talking about her as the beneficiary of affirmative action preferences for women (not sure if she got those…but it hasn’t come up).

    If you want a comprehensive programme to address disempowerment at the unviersity level, in terms of congressional seats, in terms of government contract outlays, i’m all for that. just don’t see how it helps for the many non-racists who are against affirmative action to ally themselves with the many racists who are against affirmative actions. i’m all for keeping an open mind, but not stupid enough to put myself in a position to be stabbed in the side at the end of a policy debate.

  7. Mark Warner just derisively mentioned jobs going to “Bangelore, India.” Disgusting appeal to xenephobia, protectionism, and anti-liberlsim. This, along with their desire to move back our 14th ammendment rights thru affirmative action, which some of you discussing, shows you where much of the democratic party wants POC: as objects of charity a la a new “liberal” noblesse oblige.

    Sorry, don’t care. I’d take a Green Party candidate’s politics or anyone remotely open border over Obama’s or Clinton’s but I’ll take any of the aforementioned possibilities over where the Republican Party has landed. At least there’s room for growth here ;)

    But on more entertainingly:

    Before:

    Clinton tonight is dangerous terratory for Obama. History has not been kind to those who went thru bruising primaries. Ford vs. Reagan, Carter vs. Kennedy, and even the vanity candidacy of Buchanan deeply hurt Bush. The democratic party is divided and that’s exactly what the Clinton’s want. Obama must lose for them to regain their party, power, and arguably reputation….

    After:

    speech may have been too good. reminds me of reagan in ’76 and everyone went “we chose the wrong guy!” CNN has a black woman on TV crying on the convention floor saying that was a presidential speech and Obama’s not qualified and still has to convince her. ouch!

    Hilarious :) I agree, she did a great job….on behalf of Obama supporters, thank you for the kudos :)

  8. manju, please be sure to take a big dose of tums. otherwise all your burning up about clinton might have some really serious after effects.

  9. 55 · jyotsana said

    Obama not qualified? How about a dunderhead like John McCain

    I don’t know why you’re asking me when I made no such accusation. Take it up with Hillary “I know Senator McCain has a lifetime of experience to the White House. And Senator Obama has a speech he gave in 2002” Clinton.

  10. That racism doesn’t exist in the U.S.?

    Does it only exist for blacks and latinos – b/c that’s what race based AA seems to state to me.

    why did this question come up – why are we talking about the merits and demerits for race-based preferences of Black people vs. desis -

    partially b/c I brought up the point about AA and partially b/c some guy wanted to put down Michelle b/c she was a beneficiary of AA and you made some outrageous statement about if you are against aa as it is today, than you must be racist or stupid.

    just don’t see how it helps for the many non-racists who are against affirmative action to ally themselves with the many racists who are against affirmative actions. i’m all for keeping an open mind, but not stupid enough to put myself in a position to be stabbed in the side at the end of a policy debate.

    Who said someone who dislikes the situation of today’s AA is aligning themselves with the racists? There’s plenty of nonracist to align yourself with. There’s plenty of “liberals” who are racist and not just white racists. Not all disempowered groups have the exact same needs, cultures or histories. Latinos and blacks have such a divide and they are socioeconomically similar in the U.S. I’m all for finding similarities that transcend race or religion or socioeconomics – but that doesn’t mean you need to deny that there aren’t different concerns or issues within the overall goal of social justice – I just find that silly.

  11. 58 · the doctor said

    manju, please be sure to take a big dose of tums. otherwise all your burning up about clinton might have some really serious after effects.

    funny thing is i’m ok with the clinton’s policy wise. they gave us nafta, welfare reform, and ushered the world into the age of triumphant capitalism… essentially completing the Reagan revolution, if one defines victory as when your opposition embraces your ideas.

    one of the funniest aspects of this campaign is not only watching democrats, and black american in particular, finally realize that the VRWC was largely right about the clinton’s nixonianism, but also the vrwc realizing the clintons where relative conservatives this whole time, including even richard mellon scaife!. just look at how the clinton campoign admitted that fox news is actually the most fair and balanced. heh.

  12. 61 · Manju said

    completing the Reagan revolution

    damn the clintons must have been good if now you are claiming that (a) they were successful, and (b) all their great ideas were from reagan.. which i guess he cooked up in his spare time between planning his galactic defense master plan, forgetting about allowing guerillas to sell drugs and axis of evil members to buy guns, and, of course, ending communism.

  13. since we are talking about aa, interestingly, Nixon was critical to the ascent of affirmative action via the philadelphia plan. he also gave us price and wage controls as well as detente. he was a mirror image of the clintons, socially conservative when governing liberally…as the clintons did the opposite.

    the old anti-semite gave us a jewish sec of state and saved israel from extinction. in contrast, clinton didn’t have a racist bone in his body but gave us welfare reform, a few sister souljah moments, and now a modern day southern strategy.

    the clintons where always dem versions of nixon, complex and pragmatic, for better and for worse.

  14. oh, i forgot to credit the clintons with wall street friendly policies. i know, it ended in an historic market crash and a few scandals like enron and worldcom; but the net result was great.

  15. 63 · Manju said

    the clintons where always dem versions of nixon, complex and pragmatic, for better and for worse.

    who knew bill clinton was an alcoholic paranoid wingnut who prolonged a bloody war (the bloodiest till the current repub) to win an election and beat up his wife?

    and i didnt’ know manju stole his talking points from 538:

    9:30 PM MDT: How you’ll know that Hillary’s speech was a winner: If the principal Republican talking point tomorrow is: “the speech was too good! It just proves that she should have been the [Presidential/Vice Presidential] nominee!”

    in a weird way, though, i admire manju’s disciplined repetition of the clinton racism, er, fairy tale, although i’d like to think he’s smarter than to actually believe what he is peddling.

  16. 65 · the doctor said

    who knew bill clinton was an alcoholic paranoid wingnut who prolonged a bloody war (the bloodiest till the current repub)

    iraq is bloodier than vietnam?

  17. 64 · Manju said

    oh, i forgot to credit the clintons with wall street friendly policies. i know, it ended in an historic market crash and a few scandals like enron and worldcom; but the net result was great.

    boy, they do burn you up, don’t they?

    (and, of course, i mean boy in the racist way, just like everybody does when they use boy, or even tenuous synonyms like kid).

    iraq is bloodier than vietnam?

    oh, i forgot you are a repub. that means that iraqi deaths (or lives) don’t matter. my bad.

  18. 65 · the doctor said

    in a weird way, though, i admire manju’s disciplined repetition of the clinton racism, er, fairy tale, although i’d like to think he’s smarter than to actually believe what he is peddling.

    hey I’ve repeatedly given examples and named names and provided links. a good percentage of your party is on my side, though many hard working white Americans disagree.

  19. 67 · the doctor said

    oh, i forgot you are a repub. that means that iraqi deaths (or lives) don’t matter. my bad.

    Vietnamese lives don’t count for you?

  20. 67 · the doctor said

    boy, they do burn you up, don’t they?

    they don’t. at least not policy wise. you can’t mention the Internet crash and financial scandals while simultaneously crediting them?

  21. 57 · Dr AmNonymous said

    Sorry, don’t care.

    no prob, dr a. i also don’t care about getting in bed with racists to oppose affirmative action. i knew we’d find common ground.

  22. 30 · Jay said

    “I am sure that Michelle is a beneficiary of affirmative action, but if this is the product of affirmative action” And why exactly are you “sure” that Michelle Obama “is a beneficiary of affirmative action”?

    Jay, Sorry for getting to your question rather late. I spent my evening watching Hillary coverage with fellow feminazists at Jezebel. But more to the point, I’m afraid I don’t have any specific links. I could get you some, but I am in a hella lazy mood, and right now I want my ice cream and some bad infomercial.

    Anyway, during the primaries, when the “YT” rumors were swirling and when things got stomach-churningly nasty, I frequented several black blogs for Obama. There were some evidence provided there of Michelle being an AA beneficiary, and the information was provided as “Who the F. cares. We [the Black] have built this country for free for hundreds of years and we deserve a leg up.” That was the tenor of the blogs and the tenor of the commentaries. The AA thing seemed to be accepted as fact.

    Do I personally have proof? No. Someone on those blogs seem to. Of course these things are hard to prove because most admissions procedures are confidential. So who knows. After several grueling months of canvassing for my man Barack, in between overseas travels, I walked away with the distinct understanding, from the preponderance of chatter, that Michelle is an AA kid. Apparently her senior paper at Princeton does not meet basic expectations of a senior thesis, which made Harvard a long shot. But I don’t know. All this could be those nutjobs at the Repug machines churning out the fiction.

    What are your thoughts? Do you have evidence to the contrary?

    Caveat: In case it is not clear, AA doesn’t mean that a candidate is not qualified to be in college and only got in because of her race. In many cases AA does bring into students into our system who cannot even pass remedial ENG 100. And then we get the other end of the spectrum as well.

    All that said, I am against AA as it is now. Disenfranchised recent-ish immigrants, the ones who are often the most vulnerable in this country, need our help, badly.

  23. 72 · Manju said

    57 · Dr AmNonymous said
    Sorry, don’t care.
    no prob, dr a. i also don’t care about getting in bed with racists to oppose affirmative action. i knew we’d find common ground.

    And yet more – I agree with you that the Clinton Administration was profoundly Nixonian (both in the role it played in American politics as well as in its approach) and very conservative. I think our difference lies in that you actually like this :)

    But it’s never on analysis we disagree…it’s just because you choose to be on the darkside and then have the gall to call yourself a feminist ;)

  24. 62 · the doctor said

    61 · Manju said
    completing the Reagan revolution
    damn the clintons must have been good if now you are claiming that (a) they were successful, and (b) all their great ideas were from reagan.. which i guess he cooked up in his spare time between planning his galactic defense master plan, forgetting about allowing guerillas to sell drugs and axis of evil members to buy guns, and, of course, ending communism.

    The Clintons were just a lesson in Democrat != Good; Republican = Bad. Democrats who signed into law or otherwise supported the rightwing agenda (just look up clinton’s record from 1996 alone) were at best a mixed blessing that kept worse stuff from coming in. At worst, especially on trade, they fundamentally damaged the prospects of progressive politics in the U.S. for a while. And not resigning in 1999 probably did more to keep Gore from getting elected in 2000 than anything Nader did ;)

  25. “The best social justice argument I can come up with for opposing race-based affirmative action is that it coopts too many potentially great leaders of colour into the upper tiers of the elite and turns them into Barack Obama rather than Malcolm X.”

    That is a funny statement…To steal from Aunt Mae “With great knowledge come inexplicable boundaries on reason…”

    67 · the doctor on August 27, 2008 02:44 AM · Direct link · “Quote�(?) oh, i forgot you are a repub. that means that iraqi deaths (or lives) don’t matter. my bad.

    Yes, because I’m a Republican…Not for any other reason…but because I’m a Republican – Iraqi lives matter less to me than Vietnamese lives…

    Can we flame any better? plzthxbai

  26. 76 · RahulD said

    “The best social justice argument I can come up with for opposing race-based affirmative action is that it coopts too many potentially great leaders of colour into the upper tiers of the elite and turns them into Barack Obama rather than Malcolm X.” That is a funny statement…To steal from Aunt Mae “With great knowledge come inexplicable boundaries on reason…”

    What are you failing to understand? If you have a system that takes the top tier out of particular disempowered communities and puts them in the general elite, allows individual social mobility out of a group over group based mobility, then one of the consequences is that you’re pulling organic intellectuals out of places where they would do different kinds of work than running for president – perhaps more valuable kinds of work–though that’s a much longer conversation. But this is, in fact, what Obama’s and Clinton’s candidacies signify – growing elite acceptance of multiculturalism at an elite level, but very little evidence of that extending (yet) to their treatment of working class communities.

    Think of it as a new variant on “how the irish became white.”

  27. 59 · Manju said

    I don’t know why you’re asking me when I made no such accusation. Take it up with Hillary “I know Senator McCain has a lifetime of experience to the White House. And Senator Obama has a speech he gave in 2002” Clinton.

    I don’t wait, I simply call you out. Pay some attention to what Clinton spoke yesterday. If you think that it is OK for Rethugs to call Hillary and her daughter vile names and then shed fake tears over her stepping aside for Obama, you must be a v. dense Reaganite. Get used to it the “Reagan Revolution” never was and is in tatters today. Any doubts? Ask stooge Sakashvili anohter one of those 2-bit dictators!

  28. 78 · jyotsana said

    I don’t wait, I simply call you out. Pay some attention to what Clinton spoke yesterday. If you think that it is OK for Rethugs to call Hillary and her daughter vile names and then shed fake tears over her stepping aside for Obama, you must be a v. dense Reaganite. Get used to it the “Reagan Revolution” never was and is in tatters today. Any doubts? Ask stooge Sakashvili anohter one of those 2-bit dictators!

    i have no idea what you’re talking about. i have no problem with obama’s experience and never made an issue of it other than to point out hillary did, especially with he commander and chief/threshold argument. nor did i call her or her daughter vile names ( i believe the most prominent person to do sa was some msnbc liberal who called her a prostitute or something). foxnews has been for than fair to her (her camp concedes) though msnbc’s chris mathews was more than a little sexist, according to the feminist establishment.

    and I certainly didn’t shed any tears, fake or otherwise, on her demise. on the contrary, I spent countless hours chronicling her southern strategy in painful detail here on SM, so i was thrilled with her demise, though that doesn’t mean she didn’t give a great speech…clearly on a higher level than all the previous speakers.

    as far as the end of the Reagan rev, take it up with bubba who declared the end of big government, or obama who called him more transformational than bubba. i don’t know what the rise of petty dictators has to do with anything. thats a step up from the orwellian madness that was the ussr and mao’s china.

  29. 74 · Dr AmNonymous said

    And yet more – I agree with you that the Clinton Administration was profoundly Nixonian (both in the role it played in American politics as well as in its approach) and very conservative. I think our difference lies in that you actually like this :)

    I like their policies, not their politics. It long been ironic that they where hated so much by the right, despite being genuine conservative democrats and early suppoters of the DLC, a bastion for great liberal anti-communists. My guess is that it was a cultural thing, they where culturally liberal and the VRWC couldn’t see that. Add to the mix the corruption, treatment of women (and now blacks) and you have a powder keg not unlike NIxon who was relatively liberal but definitely culturally conservative.

  30. 77 · Dr AmNonymous: What are you failing to understand?

    Its not that I failed to understand what you were saying; I honestly appreciate a lot of the information and the perspectives you provide. But in this case, the way you phrased it as “the best I can come up with” could only have been appropriate if you were being witheringly sarcastic…as that is not the best argument against AA, not even statistically and I doubt the social variables you mention can be measured.

    And I could be reading it wrong, but I did not think that the statement you made in #51 is congruent with the explanation in #77. Moreover, can we take the hypothesis you make in #77 and apply it to the differences in the Socio-Cultural acceptance/amalgamation in/into the American psyche & society, of Indians who came in the previous generations to the ones who are immigrating now?

  31. Its not that I failed to understand what you were saying; I honestly appreciate a lot of the information and the perspectives you provide. But in this case, the way you phrased it as “the best I can come up with” could only have been appropriate if you were being witheringly sarcastic…as that is not the best argument against AA, not even statistically and I doubt the social variables you mention can be measured.

    And I could be reading it wrong, but I did not think that the statement you made in #51 is congruent with the explanation in #77. Moreover, can we take the hypothesis you make in #77 and apply it to the differences in the Socio-Cultural acceptance/amalgamation in/into the American psyche & society, of Indians who came in the previous generations to the ones who are immigrating now?

    Thanks for your kind words and apologies for the lack of clarity – I would probably have chosen some of my words differently, but then, this is what conversations are for. I’ll try to make what I was saying clear so the common thread will be more apparent. What i said was The best social justice argument I can come up with for opposing race-based affirmative action. By “social justice” I mean the best means for advancing the interests of the disempowered – which many people have framed in numerous ways, from advocating for separatism and revolution to integration and upward mobility. This is separate from looking at the two questions of how the indivdiual members (as opposed to the disempowered group in question) benefits and whether or not you can improve “conditions” without addressing fundamental power inequalities. You can see this in the debates over the “immigration reform” bill that was debated a few years ago where even among progressives there was disagreement about whether creating a guestworker status would be a good tool for assisting undocumented people by creating a legal platform on which they could base further claims for rights as well as removing to an extent the fear of further horrible anti-immigrant legislation at various levels and those who opposed it like me because I felt it was not half a loaf, but a tenth of a loaf and waiting would be better. Both sides have some valid claims and furthermore, both sides were largely unrepresentative of the opinions of undocumented people, friends, family, communities who took to the streets, imo.

    In any case, my point being that advancing the interests of the disempowered by allowing them to claim power (in the form of assets, social and political capacity, etc.) is the basis on which I measure social and economic policy. So it’s on those grounds that I said that this was the best argument against affirmative action I could come up with from a social justice standpoint. People can advance all kinds of other arguments like individual vs. group equality, etc., which are, i think, more relevant in other contexts but not in this one as well as ones that i would consider totally oblivious (e.g. that affirmative action somehow “creates” racism or is among the worst problems of racism). I am totally open to reconsidering any and all policies from this vantage point. I simply don’t see an “end” to racism in American society as a whole (just look at the polls of Obama vs. McCain in the context of the last 8 years, their respective charismas and gaffes, etc.), but I think that the way that race, class, gender, etc. have changed might necessitate reconfiguring how people in power address those issues in society and how we respond to them (as that seems to be the only privilege we’re given as americans).

    But I brook no bull$hit, and the first step in any conversation for me is to come to an agreement with the other person that we both share a substantive interest in addressing disempowerment rather than solely conditions or ideological ends. Which is why until I hear otherwise, I start with the premise behind affirmative action – that individuals from disempowered groups need assistance to advance given the weight of social hierarchies against them – and would be interested in hearing modifications on those, not in arguments that simply attempt to undercut the entire moral basis of the policy.

    On one final point – I don’t think looking at people’s social position by when they immigrated to the United States is fair without bringing in all kinds of other factors like language proficiency, family wealth or poverty (including educational degrees and whatnot), race, gender, sexuality, citizenship status, etc. An “Indian” who immigarted in the wave after the professional wave might be a taxi driver or he/she might also be a doctor like the post 65 immigrants – have to look at that.

  32. I like their policies, not their politics. It long been ironic that they where hated so much by the right, despite being genuine conservative democrats and early suppoters of the DLC, a bastion for great liberal anti-communists. My guess is that it was a cultural thing, they where culturally liberal and the VRWC couldn’t see that. Add to the mix the corruption, treatment of women (and now blacks) and you have a powder keg not unlike NIxon who was relatively liberal but definitely culturally conservative.

    I disagree with this analysis. The cultural component was that Clinton was a working class person, but that was not really relevant in his economic policymaking (see below). I think it was rather that Clinton after 94 was essentially legislating half loaves (or imo 3/4 loaves) of the rightwing agenda the same way that Nixon put some things into place that were half loaves (or imo, 2/5 loaves) of the progressive agenda of the 1960s/1970s.

    Clinton frustrated rightwingers because he had formal power while not belonging to their party, and so they grew incensed, and he repeatedly frustrated their efforts to get him. But what he did has been done continuously in American politics post wwii (Eisenhower, Nixon, Clinton, etc. – maybe even Carter). What I object to are the policies and the extent to which they forwarded the agenda the same agenda that Reagan and Bush II had. It would take more analysis to really understand the extent to which he did so and the extent to which he headed it off (the most convincing argument I’ve heard is that by passing NAFTA, he created the culture wars because both parties became pro-corporate and that was the only way to mobilize the bulk of the electorate that was not rich or otherwise heavily invested in finance capital).

    The corruption, as is clearly evident, pervades all political parties pretty much everywhere (whether defined as “legal” or “illegal” (e.g. what are earmarks?)).

  33. Thank you for that explanation. That makes it clearer. I actually agree with you.

    I will be able to elucidate my thoughts/objections to it better when I’m done with my Mock Drafts or stop crying that I seem to end up with LenDale White.

  34. anti-racist, we are anti-troll. Your comment added to the discussion until you started frothing at the mouth over how desis are darker than African-Americans (who cares?) and how the Obamas’ degrees offend us. Once you called us racist “trailer trash”, I knew what was up. Thanks, but no thanks.