Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Power of Symbols

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

Somebody shook the Mitt Romney Etch A Sketch and now there's a picture of a car elevator on it!

Poor Mitt, a man who literally runs from one gaffe to another, had yet one more rotten day today when the staff of one of his sneaky opponents leaked a copy of his San Diego house renovation plans to Politico, revealing among other things that he has paid a lawyer over $20,000 to lobby San Diego County zoning officials for approval of plans to almost completely tear down and then rebuild his San Diego (La Jolla) beach house.  (I've owned houses that didn't cost $20,000!)  The plans showed that among other outrageous accouterments, the palace by the ocean will have an elevator to move his cars from floor-to-floor.  Nice, Mitt.  Car elevators certainly add to your credentials as Joe Six-Pack.

And then there was the remark about Ann Romney's Cadillacs (plural) and his being friends with owners of NASCAR teams.

When it comes to identifying with common Americans, Mitt Romney is right up there with George W. Bush, and just about as clueless.

President Obama, on the other hand, did show Americans that he gets it when it comes to stereotyping black kids as criminals - and the awful emotional burden that puts on the parents of black youth.  Obama told the nation that if he had a son, that boy would have looked like Trayvon Martin - the black teen who was murdered last month by a fellow who fancied himself to be a neighborhood protector, a fellow who had a history of racial profiling and insensitivity, a fellow who was armed and looking for trouble.

America understood the President's symbolism.  He is a father, and as a father he has a certain level of dread over the safety of his children.

Newt Gingrich tried to turn the President's statement into a bigoted remark by saying that Mr. Obama needs to worry about all children and not just black children.   What the President's statement said to me was that he is worried about the safety of all children in a society that is steeped in hate and guns.   The President stood proudly as a symbol for parenthood and sanity.

Geraldo Rivera (who once went by the name Jerry Rivers when he didn't think it was cool to be Hispanic) played a deft hand of blame-the-victim when he said that hoodie that Treyvon was wearing actually was part of the reason he was killed - he looked like a hood.  Bill O'Reilly, an entertainer on Fox News, got on board with that sentiment, with the implied conclusion being that if young Treyvon Martin had been walking around dressed as a Mormon missionary he would not have been stopped and ultimately killed by the neighborhood vigilante.

Yesterday I saw a photograph of Geraldo Rivera and Bill O'Reilly sitting together at a professional basketball game - and what were they wearing...wait for it...hoodies!  Apparently hoodies are cool on flabby old white men, but put one on a black youth and its an advertisement for an impending crime.

All things considered, I am inspired by President Obama's use of symbolism, and flabbergasted by Romney's.  I hope that America has the sense to elect someone in November who understands more than just the needs and aspirations of millionaires.  If Mitt wants to think that he is like the rest of us, he should invest in a carport.  They are very popular and practical in San Diego.

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