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Birth of a Campaign

Nicholas Powers Apr 29, 2008

Clinton was down and almost out. Her campaign limped into Pennsylvania. Obama was cutting her lead down to single digits. Her hold was fingertip only.

Then Pastor Wright’s prophetic calls to America were looped as a racist rant. She jumped on that and painted Obama as part of the secret Black Brotherhood. Then his statement at a San Francisco fund raiser that small town voters, “cling to guns and religion” was leaked on the Huffington report.

Even before McCain could use it, Clinton instantly declared that Obama was, “elitist and out of touch.” She’d been angling for the white working class vote as a bulwark against Obama’s growing coalition and to do so, used racism to rebirth her campaign and turned, unknowingly, to Birth of a Nation.

Birth of a Nation was the first American blockbuster, the first American movie to use cinematic techniques and the first to so widely disseminate unabashed racism. Birth of a Nation established in cinema the core racial archetypes we are surfacing again in today’s culture and more, specifically today’s presidential campaign.

Often, we see Republicans use racism in the same way. It is blacks as bestial violent animals. The famous Willie Horton ad, about an ex-con who stole and raped on weekend furlough program, supported by Gov. Michael Dukasis, was used by President George W. H. Bush in his campaign is an example. So is the ad used against Dem. Harold Ford, in which a white woman coos “call me” stirring racial fears of miscegenation. We are familiar with this use of race.

What is rare is the other racial archetype of the evil Mulatto, ambitious, ensconced within the white elite and a dangerous saboteur. If he gets his hands on the military, the levers of governance he will let loose a horde. Chaos will insure. Clinton plays on this key of racism. Obama is the evil Mulatto elitist Silas Lynch from Birth of a Nation.

He doesn’t know the white working class. He will overturn its world. But how? Obama will talk to any dictator. Obama will take away your guns and religion. Obama is unreliable. In pounding these messages, Clinton is securing herself in the unconscious layer of racism. If any lesson can be taken from this is if you use fear to gain power, you become the very power we fear.

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