Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Mississippi McCains

I shouldn't - and really don't - care about this, in terms of the campaign or what it might mean for potential governance, but John McCain's Mississippi roots include a family history of slave ownership:
In a year when the historic nature of Sen. Obama's candidacy is drawing much comment, the case of the Teoc McCains offers another quintessential American narrative in black and white. For the black McCain family, it is a story of triumph over the legacy of slavery; for the white McCains, it is the evolution of a 19th-century cotton dynasty into one rooted in an ethic of military and national service.
Genealogy has always fascinated me, in part because I have absolutely no knowledge of my roots beyond four generations or so and, most likely, my family roots will snake back into the days of slavery.

But I don't know what, if anything, the aforementioned story means about McCain, his family or his campaign. Maybe nothing at all. I'm not all that interested in holding present-day folks responsible for the actions of their ancestors; I care specifically and very personally about how those actions inform their present-day behavior and beliefs.

To that end, McCain should be held responsible for the race-baiting tactics his surrogates have engaged in in recent weeks. He should know better, and perhaps naively, I expected better from him.

UPDATE: If this post seems a tad incoherent, I apologize - this is an issue I'm still working my mind around and I'm unusually tired this morning. I may come back to this one.

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