Now again, we’ve got -Gate! And it’s got both snub-by and head garb-led elements. CNN calls it Barack Obama’s “Muslim Scarf Controversy.” (Hey, haven’t we already had one of those, too?)
While Politico was first out of the gate on ScarfSnubGate, reporting yesterday that “two Muslim women at Barack Obama’s rally in Detroit on Monday were barred from sitting behind the podium by campaign volunteers seeking to prevent the women’s headscarves from appearing in photographs or on television with the candidate,” it’s all over the place now (LA Times, “Obama workers snub 2 Muslim women;” Detroit Free Press, “Muslim calls out Obama after being snubbed at rally;” and myriad others.
It remains to be seen what plot this one will ultimately earn on Megan’s Gate-rix, but I’m thinking somewhere slightly closer to the “justified” side than the “absurd” side. Yes, it was the actions of a couple of Obama campaign volunteers, not some from-Obama-himself directive or general policy, but it’s the kind of thing that could/should force us to look at why we live in a society where a candidate’s volunteers think it’s in the candidate’s best interest to avoid having their candidate photographed near people who look a certain way— this certain way— and what that says about us and what candidates have to say about all of that (here was Obama, no stranger to this terrain, recently: “I’m a Christian and so these [Obama-is-a-Muslim] e-mails are misinforming people. They’re also feeding on anti-Muslim sentiment. And that’s also wrong.”)
As for where this will land along the Gate-rix’s “prolonged attention” versus “condensed attention” axis, my guess would be proloooonged. But maybe not. In a promising sign for the Obama camp, CNN’s Candy Crowley, for one, has already this morning “accepted” their apology.
CROWLEY: The Obama campaign apologized, saying the actions of the volunteers were offensive and not reflective of the candidate. It also sent out several pictures showing be him with women and men in Muslim dress. Apology accepted.
Liz Cox Barrett is a freelance writer and graphic designer in Kalispell, Montana. She worked as a newspaper journalist in Denver and Kalispell for 20 years.