Meghan McCain: But Are Asian American TV Hosts Even Senators' Daughters?
Democratic Senators Tammy Duckworth and Mazie Hirono weren't pleased that there are no Asian Americans or Pacific Islanders in President Joe Biden's Cabinet. (Katherine Tai, US Trade Representative, holds a Cabinet-level position but is not in the Cabinet.) They'd even threatened to withhold their votes for any boring non-minority nominees. This generated controversy because it was so direct and wasn't disguised as concerns about someone's mean tweets.
Asian Americans are a reliable Democratic voting bloc, more so than white voters who overwhelmingly supported President Klan Robe. White men serve in Biden's administration as secretary of State, attorney general, secretary of Agriculture, secretary of Labor, and secretary of Transportation. The demo that delivers the least for Democrats still enjoys the most perks.
Someone at the White House reportedly told Duckworth “multiple times" that Vice President Kamala Harris was solid AAPI representation and "you don't need anybody else," which is hella insulting.
This is a serious issue, and unfortunately, Meghan McCain felt like the world needed her input on "The View." She criticized the real racists here, Duckworth and Hirono, who prioritize identity over qualifications. Yes, this is the position of Senator John McCain's secret daughter.
Meghan McCain: "We’ve only had one Asian American host co-host host this show. Does that mean one of us should be l… https://t.co/ofPp7ioXCp— Justin Baragona (@Justin Baragona)1616599226.0
MEGS: We're going to a place where even if people need money or are qualified to get into Ivy League (schools), race and gender is more important than your skill qualifications, the content of your character. It is not what Martin Luther King Jr. preached.
If you've seen more than a YouTube clip of his “I Have A Dream" speech, you know that Dr. King said more in his life than the “content of their character" line conservatives love so much despite having no character themselves. For instance:
Whenever the issue of compensatory treatment for the Negro is raised, some of our friends recoil in horror. The Negro should be granted equality, they agree; but he should ask nothing more. On the surface, this appears reasonable, but it is not realistic.
A society that has done something special against the Negro for hundreds of years must now do something special for the Negro.
McCain warned of a “very, very slippery slope" where politicians actually reward their most loyal supporters. How many rightwing Christian extremists wound up on the federal bench over the past four years despite zero qualifications? C'mon, man!
She whined about “identity politics" some more, but I honestly couldn't keep listening to McCain's voice for much longer and retain my sanity so I'm gonna skip ahead to the most annoying part:
MEGS: "The View" is 25 years old next year. We've only had one Asian American host co-host host this show. Does that mean one of us should be leaving because there's not enough representation?
OK, in order: Yes, it's a problem that Lisa Ling was the only Asian American co-host on "The View" over the past 25 years. The show's based in New York City, which is 12 percent AAPI! Yes, one of the current hosts should leave the show, and my pick is the one whose hair and makeup person is actively sabotaging her.
Whenever confronted with a lack of diversity in white-dominated spaces, conservatives will pit representation against qualification. It's a false choice. Yet even the most well-meaning people might support making space at the table as long as they personally aren't expected to make room. McCain depicts this as a zero-sum choice. "The View" can't simply add another co-host who's Asian American. However, diversity is still a worthwhile goal even if it means Americans lose Meghan McCain's valuable insight.
MEGS: We're talking about — is identity politics more important than the qualifications for the job?
“Identity" isn't a superficial consideration that has no bearing on one's qualifications. That's an annoying argument even if McCain were just your typical clueless conservative blind to her immense privilege. However, she literally talks about her “identity" every day: She's Senator John McCain's daughter. She has no other observable skills.
McCain leans into her “identity" as a young(ish) conservative woman, who she claims represents “50 percent of the country." She doesn't, of course, because she's a senator and presidential candidate's millionaire daughter. She represents the MSNBC conservative demo but she'd still have to hide out from the MAGA mob at Whoopi Goldberg's house.
After last week's mass shooting in Atlanta, McCain condemned the "reprehensible violence and vitriol that has been targeted towards the Asian-American community," and she apologized for past comments that might've enabled the one term loser's racist agenda. Specifically, she'd dismissed the concerns from Asian Americans about calling COVID-19 the “China virus."
"I think that the Left wants to focus on PC labeling of this virus. This is a great way to get Trump reelected," McCain said. "I don't have a problem with people calling it whatever they want. It's a deadly virus that did originate in Wuhan. I don't have a problem with it."
John Oliver put it more politely, but fuck what Meghan McCain doesn't have a problem with. If there was an Asian American on "The View" panel, she might've called out McCain's bigotry. See, representation is a qualification. Media outlets are scrambling to elevate Asian American voices now, after a full year of ethnic scapegoating. Hillary Clinton called avowed bigots “deplorable" and the New York Times hired a bunch of conservative writers to “connect" with them. The former White House squatter refers to a deadly virus as “Kung flu" and "The View" still couldn't make a seat at the table for someone personally affected by the racism he promoted. "The View" isn't the Supreme Court. They don't need Joe Manchin's permission to add a seat.
AAPI representation matters, and I'm glad that Duckworth and Hirono are speaking out. The Biden administration can and should do better.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).