Forget the (imagined) blue state/red state split. What the practitioners of wedge politics are currently fixing in place — in collusion with a media hungry for conflict, fear and negativity — is a black-pink divide.
In a piece titled “Rights vs. Rights” in today’s NYT WIR, the article lends historical energy to a Campaign ’08 race-gender split by playing up friction between women and blacks in gaining access to the ballot box.
The article offers two images side-by-side, one of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and the other, Frederick Douglass. Cites the caption, Stanton and Douglas “worked together on abolition, but then had a bitter split over who should be first to get the right to vote.”
The problem with the juxtaposition, as well as the article’s other photo, featuring Bella Abzug, Gloria Steinem and Jesse Jackson, is that the figures can’t help but serve as proxies for Clinton and Obama. Surely you’ve seen shots of Clinton and Obama eyeing each other warily, often at the end of a debate.
The period photos of Stanton and Douglas are oriented as if they are facing off but, in states of pique, are refusing to look each other in the eye. (The other image, with Abzug and Steinem spatially offset from Jackson and a male colleague also telegraphs this gender – race divide.)
I was expecting the wingnuts to eventually engage full-force in racial or gender baiting. It is very troubling that the shaded blue teams, stoked by the ratings-hungry media, appear to have beaten them to it.
(revised 9AM PST)
(image: Bettmann/Corbis via nytimes.com)