Monday, May 22, 2006

Have You Ever Played Telephone?

Do you remember that game from elementary school where you get a group of people in a line and whisper a short phrase or paragraph in the first person's ear and they have to pass it down, whispering the whole way? And when you get to the end of the line, the last person says the message, and it's almost always completely different than the original message?

Even when the words are clear and plain as day, printed on the screen for all to see, sometimes the same effect can happen.

Gov. Mike Huckabee was in DC last week, sitting down with some reporters, talking about his "non-candidacy" for Prez in '08. While talking about illegal immigration, he mentioned that at least some of the people who are against immigration, might be motivated by racism. The implication was that this was not a large group, and certainly not descriptive of the majority of people who are against immigration. The title of the ADG story was even "Huckabee: Anti-alien mood has racist strain." From the story:

WASHINGTON — Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said Tuesday that he believes he knows what’s behind the anti-immigration feelings of some Americans.

“If I were to say some of it is driven by just sheer racism, I think I would be telling you the truth,” Huckabee said as he shared sandwiches and salad with close to 20 national and regional political reporters.

“I’m not saying everybody who is very, very angry [about immigration ] is a racist. I want to be very clear about that. But I’ve had conversations with people, and it became evident what they really didn’t like is that people didn’t look like them, didn’t talk like them and didn’t celebrate the holidays they do, and they just had a problem with it.”

So, the Huckster, perhaps speaking from some personal experience in talking to some of his constituents, makes the "crazy" claim that some people who are opposed to any sort of immigration might be racists. I've lived in the South long enough and in close proximity to plenty of ignorant rednecks to know he's absolutely speaking the truth. (And keep in mind, he's not even getting into who is "right" and who is "wrong".)

But look at what happened when this story got referenced on a couple of my favorite NWA blogs. (Don't take this personally, you two..) From Rita's post last week:
If disliking those who break the law makes me racist, then yep. I'm a hardcore racist. Frankly I don't care if an illegal immigrant is pea purple polka-dotted. They are breaking the law. I have sworn an oath, two of them in fact, to uphold the Constitution, the laws of the United States, and the laws of the states of Arkansas and Oklahoma.

Apparently that means more to me than it does to our Rev. Gov.

And this man is thinking about running for the presidency?

Did I miss something? Now the Huckster has "said" that disliking those who break the law are racists? Did I read a different story?

After that, our good friend Matt at Overtaken by Events saw Rita's post and the confusion continued:
While, as Rita points out, our higher office-seeking Governor is telling the national media that most people who support controls on immigration are probably just racists, there's an interesting tidbit in an editorial in the D-G...

So there you have it. A case study in how someone says one thing, and all of a sudden, they've said something completely different entirely. The Huckster started with a claim that there is some racism inherent in some of the anti-immigration folk. (Personally, I think anyone'd be naive and foolish to think otherwise. There's probably more racism involved than we care to admit. Do people think that we somehow cured racism here in the last 20 years? Does anyone really think he's nuts for saying this???)

Now, Huckabee "believes" that most people who support controls on immigration are racists.

Wow. "Telephone" is alive and well.

(disclaimer. So the same thing doesn't happen to me, I'm not accusing ANYONE or EVERYONE of being racist who is anti-immigration. You can CERTAINLY be anti-immigration without being racist. Just like you can be anti-immigration and be VERY racist. Both are possible.)

read more: politics, huckabee, nwarkansas