Friday, April 17, 2009

"They Hate Him Because He's 'Black'"

Turkana at DailyKos, via Jack & Jill:
I deliberately use the word black rather than the words African American. The latter lacks the proper emotional value. It is cultural and geographical. The former is visceral. Bigotry is not subtle. It is primal. It is not about ideas. It is irrational.

He is smarter and more educated and more articulate than they. A self-made man, he represents everything they would claim to value. But he looks different, to them. They hate him because he looks different. They hate him because he is dark. In "Western" "Culture," the very words black and dark have powerfully negative value. They often are used as synonyms for the sinister.

They hated President Clinton, and tried to destroy him. But one of their elected governors didn't talk secession. They didn't talk revolution. They didn't attempt (and miserably fail) to launch nationwide protests against him. Bill Clinton was a lot of things. He was not black.

President Obama is no crazy liberal. He is increasing defense spending. Even Alan Greenspan is suggesting economic solutions more akin to "socialism." Gun lovers have nothing to fear. On policy grounds, we crazy liberals have been criticizing him from day one. The radical right have been lambasting him. With the nation fighting two wars and an economic meltdown, they openly hope he fails. But they are not about policy. They are about hatred. And they hate Obama as they have never hated any president. It's not complicated.
No, it's not. From Hannity and O'Reilly, to Glenn Beck and the Coultergeist, the naked racism is openly on display. Look around the net at the various non-Fox reports on the teabaggers this week: the Obama effigies, the offensive posters, the wild accusations of "fascism", "communism", "socialism", frequently made by people whose most intellectually challenging activity of the day is putting on their socks. Look at the series of orchestrated attacks by Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, Ari Fleischer, and then look at who didn't point fingers: Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice.Coincidence that the two most prominent black members of the Bush Administration have kept their silence on Obama's performance and policies? I doubt it.

They didn't do this to Bill Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky scandal. They didn't do this to Jimmy Carter during the Iran Hostage crisis. And they damn sure didn't do it when Dubya started an unjust and illegal war with a series of lies, tortured people, and put us deeply into debt. John Kerry's birth certificate wasn't doubted. Joe Biden's citizenship wasn't questioned. John Edwards didn't inspire cries of "Kill him!" from rabid, unwashed crowds of the Republican base. Hillary Clinton, of all the recent Democratic candidates, most closely suffered the same level of hysterical outcry, and there's a reason for that, too. But that's for another post.

Barack Obama, alone of all recent Presidents and presidential candidates, has suffered the most egregious, outrageous, insulting, and treasonous protests and criticism. After his election victory, there was widespread talk that Obama's presidency would usher in a "post-racial" atmosphere in America. It's pretty obvious now that not only are we far from post-racial, but in some ways we seem to have regressed to a pre-1964 level of discourse.

At least, on the Republican side. The party has regressed to its Dixiecrat origins, entering the last stages of Nixon's famous Southern Strategy, but is in danger of declining to become merely a regional party. However, this is when it could be most dangerous to the Republic, for the seeds of hatred the Repugs have sown for the last forty years are beginning to bear fruit, in the time of our first black President. Only time will tell if this noxious weed will find fertile ground to grow.

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