Tuesday, August 31, 2004

RNC Agenda - "People Of Compassion"

Why, when Republicans talk of compassion, do they suddenly trot out their United Colors of Benneton parade, as if compassion and diversity are somehow one and the same. We know that being compassionate and being diverse are both things the Republican Party has to try very hard to be, but someone should tell them it doesn't mean they're the same thing.

Tonight's theme at the convention was "People of Compassion" and it's no coincidence that on this night, the list of speakers from 7pm-11pm included several women, from elected officials such as Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, Senator Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina, and Representative Anne Northup of Kentucky, to TV personality Elisabeth Hasselbeck from Survivor and The View, to a wide ranging multiracial coalition including George W. Bush's own Mexican-American nephew George P., the lovely and bi-racial Miss America 2003 Erika Harold, African American Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele of Maryland, and a slew of Latin Americans such as Carmen Bermúdez of Tucson who led in the Pledge Of Allegiance, Bonnie Garcia, the Assistant Secretary of the Convention, and music by Jaci Velasquez. And that's not even including immigrant and new Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger or the beautiful Bush women, who finished off the night.

This conflation of diversity and compassion isn't anything new for the Bush campaign, of course. A look at the President's own campaign website, www.georgewbush.com, reveals a "compassion" link that leads to a virtual schmorgasbord of diversity. The top of the page shows Bush sitting and laughing with two young African-American women sitting to his left, the two apparently white figures to his right obscured by large text. In addition, the headlines on the right side of the page include the following:
  • Laura Bush Dedicates the National Underground Railroad Center
  • President Bush Promotes Values That Span Cultures
  • President Bush Signs African Growth And Opportunity Act

This idea that reaching out to those that are not white is by definition compassion speaks volumes about the difference between the parties. You need only look at the racial make-up of the delegates at the two conventions to see that to Democrats, reaching out to an African-American is more likely to be a daily activity, while to a Republican, it's community service.


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