“There were some pretty vile and hurtful things said during the South Carolina primary. It’s a really nasty side of politics. We tried to ignore it and I think we shielded her from it. It’s just unfortunate that that sort of thing still exists. As you know she’s Bengali, and very dark skinned. A lot of phone calls were made by people who said we should be very ashamed about her, about the color of her skin. Thousands and thousands of calls from people to voters saying ‘You know the McCains have a black baby.’I believe that there is a special place in hell for people like those.” — John McCain on the attacks on his adopted daughter Bridget in 2000, (DadMag)
This photo for People Magazine was brought to my attention by Professor Tracey at Aunt Jemima’s Revenge. Two happy families, the McCains and the Palins, standing side-by-side looking curiously like “a really bad promo for an equally awful reality television show,” but something wasn’t right.
That something was the lack of Bridget McCain, the other McCain daughter. (Absent along with McCain’s two sons and Palin’s oldest boy). Meghan McCain gets a lot of play. She’s blonde and pretty and busty. She’s youthful, energetic and identifiable for other young voters. She’s like Chelsea Clinton, but not as brainy.
Bridget McCain (on the right in the last two photos), a teenage high schooler attending private school in Arizona, is originally from Bangladesh. She was adopted by Cindy McCain who was on a charitable mission there. Bridget was a sick baby then who needed care and Cindy chose to bring her back to the states where the McCains later adopted her. It’s a charitable thing and a good story. Yet it’s one McCain rarely shares on the stump.
She was featured briefly during Tuesday night’s RNC festivities, smiling next to her mother, Cindy McCain.
Dark-skinned with straight black hair, she is visually different from the other McCains, but she wasn’t raised in the basement under the stairs. She has always been treated and shown as a member of the family. But on the campaign trail she is rarely spotted. (Although Prof. Tracey recently caught a glimpse.) And is absent, yet again, from a recent family photo.
While I realize Bridget was unfairly used by the Bush Campaign in 2000 to claim McCain fathered a black daughter out-of-wedlock, it seems cruel to push her to the background.
There is the case that Bridget is either too busy with school (as her brothers are busy with their lives) or is just shy and doesn’t want to go out on the stump.
(S)he stays at home with her soon to be sister-in-law, Tess, who is studying to be a chef, while her parents and older sister, Meghan, travel together campaigning. Bridget said she enjoys supporting her Dad, but is thankful she gets to stay in Phoenix going to high school with her friends and attending study hall.
But seeing her MIA from family photo shoots is curious, leaving me to wonder if McCain cares more about projecting an appearance of pure white Americana rather than the more cosmopolitan picture of them and the Asian American they love and raised.
A father’s love should supersede political expediency. There is no shame in familial diversity. When George H.W. Bush ran for re-election he put his half-Latino grandkids front and center, shouting, “Viva Bush!”
But the Republicans were courting the Hispanic vote. Maybe that’s Bridget’s problem. There aren’t enough South Asians for the Republicans to woo
Either way, I hope this is all for more innocent reasons because, I can understand flip-flopping on issues, but not on your own child.