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August 30, 2006

This Virginia Macaca’s for Allen


The Democrats are thrilled. They’re as excited as can be. Though Virginia was one of the red states they had written off in their quest to pick up Senate seats this coming November, it’s starting to look like maybe, just maybe, they have a shot at unseating its Republican incumbent. In the process, they’re convincing themselves that the improvement of poll numbers for their senatorial candidate in Virginia, Jim Webb, is actually a result of their message.


The fact of the matter is that Democrats simply cannot win a state like Virginia by expressing their actual beliefs and proposing their veritable policies. They can, however, pull off a victory in one of two ways: First, they can run the kind of Democrat who would get politically lynched should he dare show his face in the party’s home bases of Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York City or coastal California. In other words, they would need a conservative, real or fabricated, who will vote the party line when necessary. Secondly, they can demonize the opponent on matters that have absolutely nothing to do with the issues.


In Virginia, the Democrats have clearly settled on Option ‘B’. The best thing that Webb’s campaign is offering voters has nothing to do with lower taxes, fewer abortions, less terrorism or economic growth (or as Webb’s campaign website calls it, economic “fairness”). Jim Webb’s campaign is now chiefly based on promising Virginians a potential senator who has never used, and will never use, the term “macaca” on anybody, anywhere.


Up to the point where the contest was still limited to candidates’ values and political issues, incumbent Senator George Allen maintained a solid, double-digit lead in the polls. Then, he jokingly uttered a word, and suddenly Webb had potential. Since one little incident gave the Democrat such a boost - some would argue even made the race competitive - it’s worth taking a closer look at it.


The Webb campaign enlisted a young man of Indian descent to follow Allen around the state and videotape his speeches, hoping that the Senator would say or do something foolish, which would give Democrats something to talk about that isn’t as complicated as convincing Virginians of the liberal cause. Sure enough, noticing the young man at several events, Allen finally made a reference to him during a speech in Breaks, Virginia, near the Kentucky border. Not knowing what it means and confusing it with a word used as an inside joke among his campaign staffers, Allen called the man “macaca.”


Never has so much research gone into a word uttered by a politician as a result of its obscurity and multitude of meanings. If the Democrats put half as much effort into understanding the term “national security” or perhaps studying up on the Social Security crisis that awaits us, America would be a much better and safer place. But this is clearly more important. After an exhaustive study and analysis of the origins and meanings of the word “macaca”, it turns out that it is the genus of monkey typically found in Asia and Africa.


That’s right. According to Democrats, Senator Allen referred to an Indian-American college student, who was videotaping him for the obvious and express purpose of showing the tape to the Webb campaign, as a “type of monkey typically found in Asia and Africa.” And, on top of that, he made the comment in front of a crowd of white rural southerners – though I could have sworn those were the uneducated religious nuts that liberals were referring to after the last presidential election. How would they know what “macaca” means?


An alternative result of the inquiry into the roots of the word showed that its cousin “macaque” is a word sometimes used in parts of Europe to refer derogatorily to people from Africa. So, Allen both used an ethnic slur and called the young man a monkey at the same time – because really, overkill is the good Republican way to do things.


But wait a minute. Webb’s cameraman is Indian, not African! If Allen is so brilliant at understanding the roots and definitions of ethnic slurs, why would he use the equivalent of the ‘N’ word on an Indian? It would have been much more witty, and equally derogatory, for Allen to ask the kid for a Slurpee at the next event or to end his speech with “Thank you, come again” using a good 7/11 accent.


Senator Allen clearly had no idea what the word meant at the time he used it. It is the Democrats who have turned Webb’s Indian staffer into a “macaque”, whereas the thought would have never crossed the minds of either Allen or the crowd of 100 Breaks residents who attended the rally.


Much of Virginia’s Indian community is now up in arms over what Allen did – that is, he used a word that is similar to one sometimes used derogatorily in some parts of Europe to refer to Africans. After years of minorities fighting to gain respect for their identity in this country, they are all suddenly back to being the same thing. Well, since the definition of “macaque” has now been apparently extended to include all darkies, and since I come from somewhere between Africa and India, I, too, am a “macaca”.


But more importantly, I am a Virginia macaca voter who wants to go back to the issues that I can vote on in November. After all, the last time I checked, Jim Webb wanted to restore “economic and social fairness”. Or are we not supposed to talk about that now?

© 2006 North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.


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