I wore a sombrero once in Tijuana -- am I a Mexican?The photo of Obama in a turban plays to Americans most un-American urges.
In my photos albums, somewhere, there are photos of me dressed like an Afghan, a Mexican, an Egyptian, a Japanese, an Indian and goodness-knows-what. Am I somehow all those things? That's just a foolish notion.
It's good to dress like a local.* It's a gesture of friendship.
So why would anyone think a photo of Barak Obama dressing like a local could hurt him politically?
Because so many Americans are xenophobes.
And, sadly, this will be the strategy that John McCain and the conservatives will use against Obama in the fall -- that's he's a vaguely suspicious brown guy with a Muslim middle name.
I was listening to some right winger radio guy who got a call something like, "I'm a Democrat but I won't vote for Obama. I don't know... there is just something I don't understand about him."
This is exactly the strategy McCain is going to use against Obama ... exploiting Americans' worst impulses. An impulse -- I might add -- that is un-American. I strongly believe that we good Americans need to call-out and condemn this xenophobic strategy every time it's used against Obama.
I condemn it even if Hillary Clinton used it against Obama -- at last that's what the Obama people counter-charged. According to Drudge, a Clinton staffer passed it to them. I, for one, never believe what Matt Drudge says. Propagandists lie as their profession.
I certainly condemn Matt Drudge for playing the un-American xenophobia card againt Obama and I condemn any Clinton staff member if they passed it on to him.
By the way, when I first saw the picture of Obama, it didn't strike me as uniquely Muslim. It struck me as local. Is it? I have Googled without any success.
The photos of Hillary in head scarf, in contrast, is Muslim specific. (Not that this is a bad thing. All the Christian women I know routinely wear them in strict Muslim countries.) Head scarves are clearly a religious symbol and often political statement in the Muslim world.
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* If they invite you to. Tourists often make the mistake of dressing like a local un-invited and this can come across as mockery.