Monday, November 03, 2008

Shady Characters

Because HOBB(Husband of Bungalow Babe) is visiting our beautiful daughter Middle Babe in South Africa (where she is spending a semester studying ethnomusicology), he was unable to respond in a timely fashion to the reporters from the NY Times who contacted him about Rashid Khalidi last week, via email.

So the piece went to press without his contribution and came out just fine. Appearing in the Friday paper it gave a reality check to the scariness factor of Khalidi, the latest bogeyman produced by the McCain campaign in an ever-more-desperate attempt to scare voters out of electing Obama as the first Secret Muslim-Terrorist-Non-American-Socialist-Israel-Hating President this week.

(Hey Sarah...did I leave anything out? Maybe leader of the pro-abortion movement that John mentioned in that last debate? about Baby-Killing-Godless-Anti-American?)

Here is a snippet from HOBB's belated email response to the Times reporter about Khalidi, which he shared with me this morning:

i don't agree with his point of view, but he is a reasonable man worth hearing out. in fact, he came and gave a guest lecture in my "Covering Religion" seminar when i was focusing on Israel in 2006. He came and talked to my class? I guess I should never run for public office!

And it is that last sentence, of course, which is the crux of the issue. Would HOBB pass muster with the Guilt-by-Association police because of his own Khalidi konnection?

As I wrote in my last post, I am not stating that Rashid Khalidi is necessarily good news for the Jews but he is not an anti-Semite nor is he to be counted among those anti-Zionists who have called for the destruction of Israel.

He is pro-Palestinian and yes, has used some questionable language in talking about Israel. But that is not the point I wish to make.

The point is that Rashid Khalidi has NOTHING to do with Barack Obama's presidency.

And reasonable, honest people of all political persuasions know it.

And the further point is that the Shady Character Degree of Separation game has run its course.

In this presidential campaign and hopefully forever more.

And if you don't believe me, I invite you to play the game...with yourself.

Think of EVERY person you have EVER met in the course of your lifetime and make a list.

Then, put a scary red dot next to anyone who:

Did something illegal
Caused a scandal
Said something racist at a party
Said something stupid at a party
Acted like a d-bag
Has political views that differ from yours
Pissed anyone off
Is related to anyone who did something illegal, caused a scandal, said something racist at a party, said something stupid at a party, acted like a d-bag, stole, cheated or has political views that differ from your own....or pissed anyone off.

See where I'm going with this?

You would not want to be a proxy for your friends, your colleagues, your clients, someone you sat next to on the subway, someone who said something stupid or ugly at an event you attended, someone you sat next to at a dinner party or a professor you had once.

We deserve to be judged by our own words and deeds and wardrobe and haircuts, including the horrible ones from the seventies.

Judge me by my values and my policies. By my track record. By my writings, my legacy, my cooking, the music I listen to, the books I read, the impact I have made...just me, myself and I.

But please, please, not confuse me with my old gynecologist who went to jail for molesting patients and my Anabaptist friend who believes that homosexuality is a sin or my former boyfriend's sister who was a bigamist or my Shabbat host who calls black people shvartzes, or the Rubashkin's chicken breast I bought three years ago before I knew what crooks the owners were or the rich right-winger who sends me emails telling me that if Obama is elected president, he will have homeless people sleeping on his living room floor and he works hard for his money and doesn't deserve to have to subsidize sub-humans who earn less than him, or my state governor who was paying big bucks for sex with hookers or anything else that is not remotely related to me.

1 comment:

Ari Goldman said...

love the shady pomeranian!
also happy to be quoted in this column. yes, i'm in Africa where Obama fever is running high. It's nice -- for a change -- to be an American abroad and have people say nice things about your country.