Wednesday, February 17, 2010
"Post Racial?" No
By Frank Schaeffer
Okay, race isn't all of it. Yes there are many factors as to why the Republicans are stonewalling our president. But then again if our history is any guide when it comes to the problems Obama faces we Americans have a history of pretending we're more tolerant than we in fact are.
Here's the truth: when the electoral high and hype wore off America woke up to the fact we had elected a black man for president. And then right wing America decided nothing he did could be right.
(Just for the record: I'm a white 57-year-old former right wing evangelical leader and Republican that in the mid-1980s left my far right nutty ideology behind as I explain in my book Patience With God: Faith for People Who Don't Like Religion (or Atheism).
Could race be a factor in opposing absolutely everything the President does?
Hell no! What an insult!
Lots and lots of mere coincidences!
Republicans just happen to not want to cooperate with anything this man does.
It's not about race it's just a coincidence that the Tea-Party movement is lily white and just happened to come along now!
It's just a coincidence that the all-white militia movement has become reanimated.
It's just a big fluke that the Republicans are voting against things they've always asked for as soon as the black man in the White House says he's for them.
I say the "black man in the White House" not the President because "We Real Americans" know he isn't even an American citizen!
It also has nothing to do with him being black that we say he's the anti-Christ.
It just so happens that the threat level that the Secret Service investigates is up 400% above that of any previous presidency.
And that all those white evangelical leaders and Roman Catholics and Orthodox bishops just happened to sign their so-called Manhattan Declaration warning the black president that he'll be the "next Hitler" if he supports abortion rights and stem cell research happened on Obama's watch is also a mere coincidence.
Evangelicals ganging up on Obama has nothing to do with the energy drawn from the Obama/Hitler posters being circulated by the likes of people who also portray Obama with a bone in his nose! So when the evangelicals draw parallels to the Nazis that's just a coincidence too!
And the "fact" that Fox News calls Obama a Socialist, Racist and even a Communist, has nothing to do with race! It's perfectly normal for a news channel to work 24/7 to denigrate a president!
That Fox News has crossed the line to advocacy by actually organizing Tea Party events that border on calls for revolution and violence also just happens to have occurred now that a black man is president.
And the fact that Glenn Beck is a Mormon and the Mormons have a long and recent overt racist history (only Johnny-come-lately apologized for) is just a fluke too as Beck's emerged as the loudest of the Obama-isn't-one-of-us-prophets-for-profit.
And the fact that the white former VP Dick Cheney -- for the first time in American history -- has as a former VP accused the head of state of not wanting to keep America safe is also of course, nothing to do with disrespect to a black man!
And the fact that much of the country is turning against the president -- and will thus stalemate the government and face potential ruin -- has nothing to do with the fact that in the hard cold light of day many white Americans -- no matter what they say -- just can't accept in their gut that they not only have a black man for president but that he's manifestly smarter, kinder and more patient than they are.
So why won't president Obama or his closest advisors say race is more than just a factor? Maybe for the same reason that I refused to acknowledge that as a polio victim that when I used to do downhill ski racing there was something rather unique about my achievement. I just wanted to be like everyone else. And Obama has understandably and laudably just wanted to be a good president not a "black president."
Trouble is Obama's trying to lead anything but a good country. Too much of America is racist to the core.
Well consider this: so much of what the right says it believes about our country is also so patently absurd that something else must be going on. I suggest that "that something else" is that a big chunk of white America would rather die than admit to their racism so they latch onto any excuse -- no matter how far-fetched -- to dismiss our black president.
How else to explain not a few thousand nuts but (according to the polls) millions of sane people who are "birthers", deathers" believe that the Federal Reserve is involved in an international plot to destroy our freedoms, say that they are stockpiling weapons and food because the government will -- under Obama -- soon declare a dictatorship?
In fact the right wing hero-of-the-hour -- Sarah Palin -- goes out of her way to say she doesn't know much and is suspicious of both experts and facts. She's in a regular guy competition for Most Ignorant Lowest Common Denominator Prize. She actually says that her ignorance proves she's a Real American not like those "elites." I'm afraid she's right about that. Palin is a real American all right, and all-too typical.
We're living in a country where tens of millions of so-called conservatives would rather embrace outright and absurdly silly paranoid lies, go bankrupt, fail, lose our place in history and saddle ourselves with virtually infinite debt than work constructively with a moderate, decent, smart, kind and honest black man.