Columbus Day: Which Candidate Gives a Damn About Indians?:
The only time the Rude Pundit ever celebrated Columbus Day, other than making Pinta macaroni art, was by accident. He was sitting at an outdoor cafe' in the North Beach section of San Francisco, drinking wine with friends on a gorgeous October mid-day in 1992, when, well into the third bottle, we noticed that the streets were suddenly lined with people. We had been about to get the check, but instead, we ordered another bottle of red, slapped our foreheads, thinking, "Oh, fuck, it's Columbus Day and we're in Little Italy," and leaned back to watch the parade.
It was the 500th anniversary of Columbus's blind trust that God existed just to make sure that he would get rich and dark people would be slaves. And down at Fisherman's Wharf, a different event was going on, the Native American protest of Columbus and his not-so-merry band of drunk, white, greedy sodomizers sailing the ocean blue. We headed in that direction, hearing louder and louder chants as we got closer. Finally, down at the waterfront, we were blocked from going further, but we saw that the riot police had headed in to stop the protesters from stopping the parade and its organizers' effort to re-enact Columbus's landing. By that point, the white people had met the indigenous people (and their sympathizers, who way outnumbered anyone who descended from anyone actually native) and, as usual, things were not going to go well.
So, on this election year Columbus Day, a mere 516 years since Chris C. fucked up a perfectly nice beach in the Dominican Republic, let's take just a sec to see how the election is playing in Indian country.
A quick check of the campaign websites pretty much tells the entire story: Obama's got an entire section of his dedicated to Indian issues. He's hired Wizi Garriott as his campaign's First Americans vote director, who has been working with young Native leaders on outreach to engage the tribal communities in the election. And Obama's been endorsed by the councils and leaders of many tribes.
McCain? Well, he's got a page that says how long he's been on relevant committees. Which is cool since there's 20 tribes in Arizona, but some are dubious about McCain's record of accomplishment, other than holding hearings now and then. In an ironic twist, considering his love of the dice, McCain has been quite the advocate for tighter regulation on Indian casinos, which doesn't sit well with many a native. Shit, casinos have been a nice, slow Indian vengeance on white people for a couple of decades now (and a place for income for intensely poverty-stricken ares). They don't want him to fuck with that. It's a naked play for evangelical votes and an obvious attempt to distance himself from Ralph Reed and Jack Abramoff.
Bottom line: even though Indians traditionally vote Democratic, the party is not taking those votes for granted. Republicans? Like so many others throughout history, they've pretty much just written the tribes off.