Tag Archives: racism

Racial Politics in a Post Racial America

Since the election but really finding its stride this summer, the GOP/right has found its voice in some of the most scary demogagic race- baiting  the country has experienced since the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts of the mid 1960s, and busing crisis of the 1970s.

Our president is being depicted on posters as an African tribesman w/a bone thru his nose; as Hitler, Stalin; as someone who wants to kill old people and disabled babies. He was forced to open a recent press conference by saying. No, we are not trying to kill grandma.” as John Stewart observed, if this is your opening line, your inspirational moment for reform has passed.

The recent Gates-gate had police arresting an african american home owner in cambridge for having entered his own home and then arresting the cop who arrested him to the white house for a beer.

And consider the Sotomayor nomination battle that pitched the most experienced nominee to the court in generations against cries that she had not proven herself as fit to serve because of one perfectly appropriate comment she made in terms of empowering the Latino community to serve in the field of law. Sotomayor’s “wise Latina” comment became the meme pushed ad-nauseum by the 24/7 news cycle, that eventually forced her to recant by insisting she believes “wise latinas” are no better than wise white guys.  Absurd to have to even say such a thing.

This discussion barely conceals the incredible fear of a small and shrinking number of aging whites about looming demographic changes in the country– the fear that one day soon whites will not longer comprise the majority–

Suffice it to say, this formula of scare and attack became clear during the current health care debate, as richly described recently by Rachel Maddow. Right wing activists and self appointed leaders 1) fabricate wildly distorted untruths designed to scare  core followers (ex. Sotomayor or Obama for that matter don’t like white people); use the media and corporate funded and constructed faux grass roots (astro turf) orgs to whip up the hysteria and unleash small and unrepresentative but angry and intense crowds–teabagging; town halls…; then GOP leadership and MSM observe a populist uprising that they insist represents the fears of most americans; mainstream conservative dems and moderate repubs take notice and feel intimidated; their support for reform weakens…and the cycle continues

Along the way, facts get no play for one key reason: the right has no agenda of their own other than their desire to defeat/eradicate Obama at all cost, which includes Sotomayor, health care and whatever lays in waiting, immigration reform?  It’s all the same.

Thus it matters little that Obama is compared to Hitler/ fascism/ socialism. anyism… or Sotomayor to Lucy Ricardo.  The purpose is to destroy an agenda. It is nihilistic, and as Howard Dean has observed, it is self defeating. The GOP core is shrinking with each death panel and birther fabrication.

The consequences however could be quite real and long lasting. The seem to be forcing the voices of reform to compromise beyond what is necessary, thus subverting good faith efforts to address really difficult and comples social problems in society.

It is also whipping up latent and not so latent racism that is playing out in increasingly violent ways, which is something that should concern everyone.

Our president may want to act as if we live in a post racial  society, but is being confronted w/ a much different reality, to our chagrin.


It’s the Racism, Stupid

As Barack Obama mounts an impressive lead over John McCain in several states McCain needs in order to win the election, Republican gurus Karl Rove and Grover Norquist have been reduced to making not so subtle subliminally racist comments about Barack Obama. 

As Norquist refers to Obama as “Kerry with a tan,” Rove paints a silly portrait of Obama smoking cigs in a country club with a (presumably white) gal on his arm. 

for these two dunderheads, the issue this fall is simple:

its the racism, stupid!


Touching (on) McCain’s Bearings

When the media covered the story about McCain associating Obama with Hamas, the stories led with questions about ageism, rather than about the act of smearing Barack Obama.

Shortly after the story broke, the press then poked fun at the issue of McCain’s “bearings” by reporting that Joe Lieberman proudly said he personally checked McCain’s bearings and gave them something like an  A-OK.

Once again, the real issue (the press will allow McCain to make good on the lethal threat to make race the major issue in the fall campaign) was ignored, and unexamined.

The real issue here is several-fold but can be tied together under the theme of the media still being McCain’s base. Consider: McCain gets away with smearing Obama. By linking the words Hamas and Obama together in the same sentence, the media gives McCain a pass on negative politics, allowing him to tie Obama with terrorism and question his patriotism. Forget about the larger issue here that Hamas happens to be in control following a legitimate election and the US government should be talking to hamas not ignoring them. Next, consider McCain’s response, pretty smart actually, given his relationship with the press.

First, McCain framed Obama’s response as ageist. Obama’s comments about McCain having lost his bearings, actually have nothing necessarily to do with McCain’s chronological age, or diminished capacity. It appears that McCain has lost his bearings several times in the past, recently and in much younger days, like when he graduated 3rd from last at Annapolis, or when he has said he couldnt stand one more minute (down from one more day, one more hour…), at the Hanoi Hilton, or when he curried favor with Charles Keating, or with Vicki Iseman, or when he called his wife vile names or physically accosted other members of Congess. These are all examples of one having lost their bearings.

By placing all these questionable activities under the cover of ageism, however, McCain very cleverly (only with the Media’s assistance) attempts to push much of his past off the table, and the same time saying it is all fair game.

His sudden conversion to the politically correct terminology, invoking ageism, also has the quite deliberate intent of placing the Obama camp on notice that McCain will adhere to the code that ageism=racism. Thus any comment Obam makes, and that the media helps define as ageist, gives McCain’s camp cover to go racial on Obama.

In short, with the media’s permission, McCain, is about to launch some scorched earth shinanigans that makes Hillary look minor league.

Clearly John McCain has his wits about him, but clearly too, he lost his bearings a long time ago.