Power and Politics - I am Not the Yellow Peril

The life and times of an Asian American activist who tells all the truth (and dishes news and analysis) but with a leftwards slant.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

SR Sidarth on the post-Macaca moment

SR Sidarth, whom lame duck Senator George Felix Allen nicknamed "macaca," a type of monkey, gets the last word ini a WashPost op-ed: I Am Macaca. In it, he owns his identity and describes how his experiences with the people of Virginia up and down the cmapaign trail were far more hospitable than the senator himself.
I was singled out at a GOP picnic, identified as "macaca or whatever his name is" -- despite the fact that Allen knew my name, as we had been traveling the same route for five days -- and then "welcome[d] to America and the real world of Virginia."
Allen's actions that day stood out because they were not representative of how I was treated while traveling around the state. Everywhere I went, though I was identifiably working on behalf of Allen's opponent, people treated me with dignity, respect and kindness. I cannot recall one event where food was served and I was not invited to join in the meal. In southwest Virginia, hospitality toward me was at a high point. . . .
The following day, at the picnic in Breaks, even after Allen's comments highlighted my outsider status, I was not allowed to depart without eating, because as one woman put it, "Political differences are set aside at the dinner table." In the same spirit, I was given accurate directions to Allen's next event, held in Bluefield the following morning.
Sidarth knows that Virginians were ready for a real leader in Jim Webb, and he is glad that the voters are done with the politics of hatred and division. As am I.
The politics of division just don't work anymore. Nothing made me happier on election night than finding out the results from Dickenson County, where Allen and I had our encounter. Webb won there, in what I can only hope was a vote to deal the race card out of American politics once and for all.
It sounds as thought Sidarth learned a lot from the experience, and that he is a pretty mature college senior. I wish him the best, and remain impressed by how he has handled all the attention. It is a fitting end to Allen's career.

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