Maybe they’ve been “playing” it all along for so long that Washington GOP operatives running the campaigns figured showing racist images in political ads would have little electoral impact on racist Tea Party voters. Maybe with less than a month to go and nonpartisan women breaking for the Democrats, Republicans felt it was time to scare the bejeezus out of them. So they run ads meant to conjure up one of those subliminal visceral images ingrained in the minds of racist white America:
Three dark guys walking your way on a sidewalk. Terrified white woman clutches purse and thinks, “do I cross the street, or do I act casual. Oh Lord, what do I do …” Too late. The dudes are almost upon her. They’re speaking in tongues. Spanish. She holds her breath. They walk past her, voices receding in the yawning distance between them. She releases her breath and gulps for air. Her hands can’t stop shaking. Her knees are trembling. They buckle under her. She leans against a building for support …Maybe white America has gone totally over the edge, as this Village Voice article posits:
Ironically, it should be noted that illegal immigration in the U.S. has declined by almost one million from its peak of 12 million in 2007 to 11.1 million in 2009. In California the number of illegals as a percentage of the total U.S. population has had an even more precipitous decline, from 42% to 23%. Which also gives the lie to Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s fearmongering, that illegals are in this country to spread crime. No, they are in this country seeking work. When the jobs dry up, they don’t cross the border.
So Republicans trot out three scary-looking DARK dudes to stoke white America’s visceral racist fears with a veneer of lies about illegal immigration. The ads are even more reprehensible because they expose the lie that Arizona’s SB 1070 law isn’t racial profiling. How can anyone tell these three dudes are “illegal”? From the backward tilt of a hat? (Glenn Beck wears his caps backwards.) From the defiant looks in their eyes? Or from their features and the chocolate color of their skins?
It would be nice if these three semi-anonymous actors could be tracked down and made an appearance on GMA or MSNBC to opine about their faces being used to spread fear and racism. The trade-off would be, they could no longer make racist ads but would likely get a career boost in TV or the movies. And they’d vote for the Democrat in their state and electoral district. I see the possible outlines of a Democratic counter-ad with devastating national impact.