Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Politics of Race

I was talking to my brother Joe yesterday about Congressman Joe Wilson's disrespectful interruption of President Obama's Healthcare Speech last week. I mentioned that this spirit is nothing new in American politics, and in my opinion, ever since former President Clinton's Lewinsky Affair, partisan ugliness has been on display, especially in the media. George W. Bush was attacked harshly throughout his two terms- he was labeled as a "hick", "stupid" and "inarticulate". Well, I'll have to agree with that last one.

Anyway, Joe agreed with my points, but noted the particularly ugly turn which has occured since Obama was sworn in. "When it comes down to it, it's about race. At one of those tea parties over the weekend, on a sign, Obama was depicted as an African bushman with a bone through his nose and a loincloth on! The sign said something about 'Socialism' at the bottom, but what does that depiction have to do with socialism? They wouldn't be attacking him so viciously if he were white."

Joe isn't alone in his observation. Former President Jimmy Carter, our 39th POTUS, made the claim that Wilson's outburst was indeed based on race:

While Wilson labeled the Prez as a liar, other prominent conservatives have been all out hateful. Recently talk show radio host/bloviator Rush Limbaugh, infamous for his controversial sayings, made inflammatory comments linking a case of school bullying to President Obama's race. According to Crunchy Con, " we have Rush Limbaugh blaming Obama for black kids beating up a white kid on a school bus. This is what happens in "Obama's America," he said today on his radio show." He continues by taking some of his fellow party members to task:

"How low will these people go? Look, I think it's important to talk about black male violence, or at least as important as it is to talk about any other important social trend. I don't think we should be squeamish about discussing it in a responsible and fair-minded way, despite what the politically correct say. But good grief, Limbaugh is up to something wicked. He's plainly trying to rally white conservatives into thinking that now that we have a black president, blacks are rising up to attack white kids! Christ have mercy, what is wrong with these people?... I can't see this as anything other than Limbaugh deliberately trying to whip up racial fear and loathing of the president. This goes far, far beyond tough criticism of Obama. Does that man Limbaugh have any idea what rough beast he's calling forth?"

I suspect he does. And I loathe this obvious exploitation of fear and hatred for any reason- but especially for political gain. In the end, I agree with Con writer Rod Dreber: "THIS IS EVIL."


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