October 15, 2008

ACORN Meets The Man

Acorn Lv

“Many voters registered through ACORN are “working people and people of color and there may be corners of the political world where a high injection of new voters like those is unsettling some.”

— Matthew Henderson, the southwest regional director for ACORN

“If this were a stunt I would have put [Secretary of State] Ross (Miller) out there with a shotgun like Buford Pussey,” said Miller’s spokesman, Bob Walsh.

— from: ACORN Nevada Office Raided (The Trail/WAPO)

Check out this newswire shot taken outside the ACORN office in Las Vegas on the 7th.  In the foreground, we have an investigator from the Nevada Attorney General’s office — more a firearm, though, attached to a headless white guy.  Behind him, left, is a guy from the secretary of state’s office there to collect documents.  To the right is a guy setting up a video camera.

Dovetailing closely with McCain’s recent “ACORN ad,” this overly dramatic image could be seen as a “bandwagon reflex” in response to the “vote tampering” hysteria kicked up by the McCain campaign lately.  (ThinkProgress, by the way, has a summary on the ACORN offensive, including the less-than-earthshaking circumstances around this raid in Nevada.)

There are at least two elements here I find troubling.  First, the presence of the video guy speaks to the “media-centric” nature of this raid following McCain’s sudden flip-flop on ACORN.  Second, when you combine the presence of the generic white lawman — his arms folded and packing heat — with the fact that ACORN’s staff and its outreach involve people of color, the photo can’t help but evoke a racist dimension, as if “the man” or the white folks need protection from “those people.”

… By the way, I’m not an expert on “Walking Tall,” but I think the figure Mr. Walsh is referring to is the legendary sheriff  Buford Pusser, not Pussey.  I’m not sure if the verbal slip is WAPO’s or the spokesperson for the Nevada secretary of state, but it also hits on the testosterone-charged nature of the McCain campaign.

(10:15 am PST – Edited for clarity/links)

(image: Jae C. Hong/AP.  Las Vegas, October 7, 2008)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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