The Rapidian

The ad heard 'round the world

Pete Hoekstra wants you to know... that he's not a racist for his racist TV campaign.
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Response from Hoekstra to charges of racism

Response from Hoekstra to charges of racism /Courtesy of Facebook

It's been a few days since the now infamous Pete Hoekstra ad aimed at Sen. Stabenow hit the airwaves (and social media) for the first time. Hoesktra is running for US Senate against Stabenow, and will represent you in Washington DC if he were to win. So, like many of you, I was horrified to see such an unbelievably ignorant and hateful message coming from anyone, let alone someone from the area I now call home. If by chance you haven't seen this yet, it's worth a look. As is his accompanying, possibly worse-than-the-video, website.

I'm relatively new to Grand Rapids, moving here last year. During the last year, I've watched Michigan fight stigma. Each and every "Top Ten" list across the web gets its own coverage in the local media. The lists that highlight negatives get a thorough investigation and rebuttal as to why we're not [insert perceived or real shortcoming here]. I receive an almost universal response when I tell people around the country that I moved to Michigan. It's a raised eyebrow and a look as if to say, "on purpose?"

There's been a lot of hurt in this state. As an outsider, that's easy to see. But there's also a tremendous amount of good. Good people, fighting hard for real change. There's love for communities and one another. It's part of why I've become, not necessarily on purpose, a foot soldier for the Pure Michigan campaign. To anyone who will listen, I get on my soap box and stump for the mitten. But much bigger efforts try to bring positive coverage to a state so often derailed in the media.

Dramatic productions like the Grand Rapids Lip Dub hope to bring eyeballs to Michigan for positive reasons. Auto makers are trying to make, "made in America" cool once again by spending millions on rebranding and advertising with Eminem and Clint Eastwood. Detroit is fighting hard for its rebirth, and those Pure Michigan ads hope to lure tourists to a region that has been forgotten. In fact, President Obama recently announced a signed Executive Order. It demands the Department of Homeland Security process tourist visas for Chinese tourists (and those from Brazil) more quickly. Do you think Mr. Hoekstra's ad says, "come to Michigan, we're here, welcoming and awesome?"

But none of that is hitting the national headlines, of course. Without question, the media is partially to blame for that. But in just 30 seconds of TV time, Pete Hoekstra has changed the Michigan narrative. He showed the nation, and certainly China, that Michigan is racist! As if a chinese accent performed by an American actress weren't enough, you should check out the website. Paper lanterns, Chinese dragons and corny Asian inspired font all help to undo the work of so many who are trying to change the image of this area. Is that a bit over dramatic? Probably. But this isn't the kind of Michigan story that should be in the national headlines. 

Shame on you, Pete Hoekstra. You're not the kind of person I am looking to for leadership to help Michigan turn this ship around. 

If you agree with me, then I urge you to get yourself to the polls this November and make your voice heard by voting for anyone other than a guy with such an unequivocal lack of judgment. Is Pete Hoekstra the representative you want in this global economy? 

Am I wrong? Maybe the ad served its purpose and got everyone talking about his campaign? Let me know in the comments.

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Comments

Point of information: the ad aired only here in Michigan. The national buzz is coming from reactions to it, spurred by locals.

Right on, Jon.  Hoekstra's cluelessness is showing big time.  He should not be representing Mittenland on the international or national stage.  The man is pulling up the welcome mat for anyone who thinks diversely.

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