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March 22, 2006

Your Turn: Let’s Roll


“Fighting Democrat” Tammy Duckworth wins Democratic Congressional primary in Illinois’ 6th. Story here.

Is it politically incorrect to discuss the visual power of Ms. Duckworth and her candidacy?  In general, people seem uncomfortable publicly dealing with the subject of the “physically challenged.”  Still, Ms. Duckworth is a woman; an Asian-American; an Iraq War veteran; she’s charasmatic; and she’s missing two lower legs.  With heavy backing of the Democrat party, she just beat a more experienced Democratic challenger.  How do you read it?

(With Henry Hyde’s seat in play, Rahm Emanuel reads it like a potential slam dunk.)

(image 1: Chip Somodevilla/Reuters. March 17, 2005. Via YahooNews.  Caption: Maj. Tammy Duckworth testifies during a Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing in Washington. Duckworth, an Iraq war veteran who lost both legs in the conflict held a slim lead on Wednesday in her bid to run for Congress as a Democrat in a district held by Republicans for 32 years)

  • ummabdulla

    I don’t want to ignore her, but the first thing I think of is Franklin Roosevelt. I’m not quite old enough to remember that time, but from what I understand, he was NEVER seen in his wheelchair.
    Once, in a high school art class, we had to do a political caricature, and I did FDR. I drew a huge head, of course, and put him in a tiny wheelchair; it turned out pretty well, I thought, and I was expecting a compliment from my teacher.
    I was shocked at her reaction, though – she was absolutely horrified, and pretty furious. Even then (early 1970s), she was not going to accept him being shown in that (albeit tiny) wheelchair.
    [Now that I write that, it's interesting to compare her reaction to the Danish cartoon controversy...]
    Anyway, times have changed – and to get back to the picture, Tammy Duckworth will probably always be seen in the wheelchair. I did see a TV interview with her a few months ago, and she was impressive. She’s got the military credentials, so she can criticize our involvement in Iraq and still “support the troops”. According to the article, she was working “on a doctorate degree focusing on Southeast Asia’s economies and public health”, so she’s obviously aware of the rest of the world out there, which would be refreshing for a politician. I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of her, and I’ll be interested to see how it goes.

  • marysz

    No doubt the Republicans will give Duckworth the Max Cleland treatment. They’ll probably use someone like Michelle Malkin, along with the usual gang of belligerent Republican women to attack her, while Rove and his cohorts stay in the background.
    Who are the men across the aisle from Duckworth? The expressions on their faces are pretty grim. There’s a lot of anger building among Iraq veterans. They’re learning some hard lessons about how little the current administration cares about their military sacrifices.

  • martin

    Anyways, ummabdullah. Post thanks. Juan cole has this via proxy about conflict:
    “Sustained military combat, primarily internal, resulting in at least 1,000 battle-deaths per year, pitting central government forces against an insurgent force capable of effective resistance, determined by the latter’s ability to inflict upon the government forces at least 5 percent of the fatalities that the insurgents sustain.” (Errol A. Henderson and J. David Singer, “Civil War in the Post-Colonial World, 1946-92,” Journal of Peace Research, Vol. 37, No. 3, May 2000.)
    Sustained milatary conflict has a tendancy to put people in chairs. Anything else, seems to me, to be almost indulgent…thoughts?

  • Cactus

    The photo: The BG is bright but the photographer forces your eyes back to the wheel chair by the bright reflection of the bar across the wheel. Then the red carpet recalls the blood on the sand in Iraq. Then you become aware of the apparently young woman in the wheelchair, still in uniform. And the grim soldiers in uniform behind her.
    I don’t know how accurate this is but I heard on the radio today that 80 Iraq vets were running for office and all but 2 or 3 as democrats. They may be including state offices and vets from ‘91.
    What troubles me is the DLC interference in these local elections. In two instances lately, they have trashed a viable candidate in favor of a hand-picked candidate. Are the dems eating their young? It reminds one of the bad old days when the pols in smoke-filled backrooms picked the candidates and it was a fait accompli before the voters knew what happened.

  • Cactus

    OK, so the revised photo has no reflected bar on the wheelchair. But now there is more of the red rug, so the effect is the same, that the red brings your eye back to the wheel chair which is, incidentally (?), photographed almost at eye level.

  • RomanticOtaku

    She’s positioned above the eyelevel of the seated men (and a woman in the back).
    Partially implied that even though she is in a wheelchair she has experience, charasma and qualifications that elevate her above the crowd.
    That’s the positive spin.
    The Republicans will use the wheelchair as showing that Dems are handicapped on defense or crippled by their liberal tendencies.
    The FDR angle should be emphasized when she does campaign.

  • zatopa

    “Democrat Party”? Are non-Bushites saying that now?

  • Rafael

    A great war leaves the country with three armies – an army of cripples, an army of mourners, and an army of thieves. ~German Proverb
    And for better or for worse Tammy Duckworth is one of them. She has both the physical courage to face enemy fire and her injuries and the moral courage to fight for her convinctions. In this times many have the former but few have the latter.

  • Chuck

    Apologies if this is considered too tangential… but I was recently confronted with my own misconceptions of being wheelchair-bound with the splendid documentary Murderball. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it. The mentality of the whole thing is really summed up with one guy’s statement “What, you’re not gonna hit a kid in a chair? Fuckin’ hit me — I’ll hit you back!”
    I was simply blown away by it.

  • noah v

    what’s up with the backwards flags? I’ve been seeing these
    more and more. Are people forgeting to refer to their
    cub scout manuals? These appear to be on official uniforms.
    Is there some significance?

  • readytoblowagasket

    noah v: The backwards flag means they are Democrats. (just joking)
    Actually, it’s supposed to look like the flag is fluttering in the breeze as the soldier moves forward (into battle), an homage to when the cavalry literally rode into battle carrying the flag. For the true believer’s and a skeptic’s views on this, see these two articles:

  • George Myers, Jr.

    Jodies have been bursting in soldiers’ hearts for more than 50 years. As the story goes, a formation of exhausted troops was returning to its barracks at Fort Slocum, N.Y., in May 1944 when a rhythmic chant arose from the columns.
    Pvt. Willie Duck-worth, a black soldier on detached service with Fort Slocum’s Provisional Training Center, sang out the first-ever rendition of “Sound-off,” “Sound-off; 1-2; Sound-off; 3-4; Count cadence; 1-2-3-4; 1-2 — 3-4.” Other soldiers in the formation joined in and their dragging feet picked up momentum.
    Jodies: Songs on the Move

  • jt from BC

    George Myers, Jr. Help, I’m trying to figure out how your post relates to anything on “Lets Roll”, I do notice the word “Duck-worth” and read your link, what is it you wish me to know, learn or understand ?

  • hauksdottir

    He *might* be responding to the thread title: “let’s roll” does mean “let’s get moving”, and certainly we have talked about momentum and incentive?

  • MAJ K

    She can’t wear the uniform correctly? US Flag never authorized on Class A uniform, she just making up her uniform

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