Friday, September 18, 2009

The GOP Record on Race & Gender: IS Racism a Part of the Problem With Obama?


Call me daffy, but if racism still does exist in this country, then I would say that it has to be ipso facto at least part of the problem here. If Jimmy Carter knows anything at all about the part of the country he grew up in, then I suspect that much of the animosity still exists. And if it exists, you can bet it is rearing it's ugly head in this hour when we have a Black Man as President.

What will we say if- God forbid- there's an assassination attempt on Obama's life because of all of this? If some whack job tries to off him because they have been stirred up by all this "Obama is gonna take this country down" talk, then you will see the cracks show & how much animosity bubbles up to the surface! When I see these pictures floating around in even my own highly Liberal City -of Obama made to look like an evil clown, I know what's behind it. Wake up!

Think about it for a minute: Just how honest is the rhetoric that Obama's Health Care Plan is Socialist in nature, when it is
SO pock-marked by Coproate Special interests, and is not near the overhaul of our Health Care System that the Single Payer Method would be, if enacted in this country. Or how about the highly discredited, yet persistent Obama Birth Scandal? Would such inaccuracies have even arisen if he were not African-American? Doubtful, since John McCain was born in Panama & no one has said squat about that.

George Bush' policies weren't exactly healthy for the nation either! Did any of those same fine individuals utter a peep when he tried to destroy Social Security, lie us into a needless war, & committed an frontal assault on civil liberties? Nope, because a White Male Republican can do that & it's ok.

But take a step back for a minute & consider the long history the Republicans have had on Race & Gender. What can these things tell us about what we see today?

Lots of Republicans like to bring up the fact that the Democratic Party was at one time home to many of those who supported Slavery & Segregation. That's actually only part of the story. "The Democratic Party evolved from Anti-Federalist factions that opposed the fiscal policies of Alexander Hamilton in the early 1790s. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison organized these factions into the Democratic-Republican Party. The party favored states' rights and strict adherence to the Constitution; it opposed a national bank and wealthy, moneyed interests." (Source here and here.) 

Concurrently, there has been a movement of Democratic Progressives who opposed Slavery and Segregationist policies as far aback as 1848, with the Free Soil movement (many of whom joined the Republican Party upon is formation in 1854.) The remainder of the Democrats actually split over whether or not to support Lincoln's military polices during the Civil War.

But in the latter half of the 20th Century, profound changes began to occur.

The Separatist Southern Democrats bolted in 1948 when Hubert Humphrey denounced segregation & the party nominated Harry Truman. They formed their own party -The "Dixiecrats" or States Rights Party & nominated Strom Thurmond. There's been a GOP-ward migration of Racist whites to the Republican party ever since, culminating in 1980 when Ronald Reagan announced his run for President in Philadelphia, Mississippi. Along the way, Robert Byrd & George Wallace lost their respective bids for the Democratic nomination. David Duke, former head of the KKK was a Republican Presidential candidate in 1990. Bob Jones University, until very recently a school that disallowed interracial dating & marriage, was major bastion of Christian Conservativism. Most of my fellow Christians let them get away with it, if they were a true partner in what they saw as a political struggle. The Separatists Whites left the Democratic party in droves, and the Republicans welcomed them with open arms.

But that's still only part of the story!

Anyone notice how the Republicans have almost never had a Woman or African-American Candidate run in their primaries that was very successful? Alan Keyes runs & he's ignored. They parade Colin Powell & Condi Rice & then neither of those enter the primaries. Liz Dole announces but pulls out before the primaries. Then in a desperate attempt to cover up their tracks they nominate Sarah Palin as a sort of "me-too-ism" when the Democrats nominated Obama (they already nominated a woman VP candidate in 1984, Gerry Ferraro.)" The last even slightly successful woman in the GOP primaries was Margaret Chase Smith in 1964, but the results were hardly newsworthy. The Dems have had Chisolm, McCormack, Jackson, Clinton, Schroeder & Obama. Who really today is the party of White Male privilege? The Republicans are, and they don't seem to be interested in changing. The only GOP Candidate for President in 2008 to show up for an event put on by the NAACP when invited, was Tom Tancredo.

OK so now after all of that, what were we talking about?
Oh, yeah - the fact of this current trend of Obamaphobia being somewhat racist in nature. Does it necessarily have to be racist in order for it to be a lot of scare-mongering by irresponsible Right-Wing demagogues? Certainly not. I still remember my friend Troy sitting at his computer, pontificating that with Clinton "We have a Hitler In charge! Now we're going to know what it feels like!" None of his - or anyone else's prognostications of Clintonesque doom came true.

And yet, when Rush Limbaugh gets on his bully pulpit and declares an incident of Black kids beating up a White Kid a result of "Obama's America," I have to conclude that somebody is wanting a Race War. Rush, as I have stated on this blog before, has no room to talk. When Glenn Beck can get on Fox News and play the Reverse Racist card, I have to surmise that somebody wants to stir up animosities. When I start
hearing honest debates about what's wrong with Obama's Health Care Reform that's not couched in rhetoric, such as the Ralph Nader links I posted above, I'll believe that the Politics of Hate aren't a huge part of this that the Republicans are aiming to profit from. History has shown they have done it before.

Jim Wallis adds some other thoughts to the whole issue on his Sojouners blog.