Wine From Outer Space

Wine From Outer Space is intoxicating, unearthly and surprising. It's also where I write about whatever I choose, and that's nice.

16 September 2009

Use Your Illusion

As the Republicans continue to re-shape theirs into the Party of Hyperbole, former President Carter noted yesterday that opposition to President Obama, in his opinion, is based in racism. Carter believes he identifies this to be "the belief among many white people, not just in the South but around the country."

The White House is not going along with Carter's take on the current political climate, but recent events--sparked by South Carolina Congressman Joe Wilson's "you lie" outburst during the President's address to the House and Senate--suggest the level of hostility among at least some of those opposed to the President's plans (including everything from the stimulus package and the auto and banking industry bailouts, to his television address to American schoolchildren) is grounded not in practical or even moral reactions to policy proposals, but in fear and ignorance.

RNC Chairman Michael Steele called on Obama to denounce President Carters comments, saying that "President Carter is flat out wrong. This isn't about race. It is about policy." Except in some widely reported cases, it is not about policy, but instead fantasies of where that policy (which has yet to be determined) will take us: socialism, communism, marxism, fascism. It is about death panels and birth certificates, and, as some signs at the 9/12 march on DC revealed, racism was indeed a part of people's opposition to Obama's administration.

Or take the sign of an African witch doctor, onto which was pasted Obama's face, with the word "Obamacare," complete with a Soviet hammer and sickle. At least this sign uses a multicultural approach to creating new racially generated denouncements.

Syndicated arch-conservative bellwether Cal Tomkins writes in the 9/16 edition of the Salt Lake Tribune "As the president's approval ratings fall and rise and fall again, some of his supporters in journalism and politics are returning to days of old when the label 'racist' could end any discussion and force the accused either into stunned silence, or groveling repentance. I suspect the tactic won't work this time because Obama supporters will have difficulty explaining how a mostly white country could elect a black man president last November and 10 months later become a racist majority."

Except that Carter is not charging the white voting majority that elected Obama as being racist--Carter refers to "the belief among many white people, not just in the South but around the country."

The argument has already shifted from "is there a race-based element to those opposing Obama?" to "Are those racists--among those opposed to Obama--a majority or a minority?"

A story in the news, not related to the health-care debate or any other Obama policy push, is perhaps poignant in this most recent question of racism and politics: according to CNN, the FBI is "investigating as a possible hate crime an incident in which a [black] woman was beaten to the ground in front of her [7 year-old] child at the entrance to a Cracker Barrel restaurant in Morrow, Georgia, south of Atlanta."

The attacker, Troy Dale West, a white man, is currently out on bond. The report continues, "Police say Hill stated that 'West punched her in the left cheek, forehead, kicked her body in several places, and punched her head in many areas several times.'"

If Michael Steele and other conservative leaders and pundits truly believe there is nothing to Carter's charge of a racist element in those opposing the Presiden't policies, then conservative leaders and pundits would do well to stop passively accepting and using that racist attitude to feed the contempt and disregard for this administration's programs among their adherents.

Steele said "This isn't about race. It is about policy." If that's the case, then fewer signs with monkeys, lions, watermelons, buckets of fried chicken or African priests should appear at these rallies, but I don't see that happening any time soon.


Post a Comment

<< Home