Is the opposition to President Obama driven by racism?

September 16, 2009 at 11:25 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

I would have to agree with President Carter’s assessment, when he says that racism lies at the core of the current venomous attacks on President Obama. (To be clear, Carter said that he was talking about a “radical fringe element”, rather than all people who oppose Obama’s policies). While the extreme language and behavior of many people involved in the Tea Party movement in addition to the rantings of people like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh has been veiled in manufactured political causes, they are clearly driven by anger that a black man is sitting in the White House. At best, they are attempting to tap into the undercurrent of “white man’s anger”, especially in the southern states, in order to score political points. We also have people like Michelle Malkin attacking Mrs. Obama, and a pastor in New Mexico preaching that the President and his family should die and go to hell. All of this is symptomatic of a concerted effort to de-legitimize Barack Obama’s presidency before he has even been in office for one year.

When people refuse to listen to reason and continually ignore the facts as they are presented to them, then hallucinate nefarious schemes such as death panels, secret nationalist armies, and concentration camps for political enemies, we are witnessing the kind of ignorance and fear that are the building blocks of bigotry. When people scream, “I want my country back!”, they’re really saying that the President of the United States isn’t a true American. When they walk around carrying signs that say “Bury Barry with Teddy” and hold up forged Kenyan birth certificates, they’re saying that they truly believe the President is the enemy. One man even stated on camera at a Tea Party rally that Obama was more dangerous to the United States than Osama Bin Laden. This is not rational behavior, and it’s edging closer to sedition every day.

This monster has been created by the right-wing of the Republican Party and the Tea Party movement, whose organizer is a blatant racist. On his website, he refers to the President as an “Indonesian, Muslim communist thug”. Like any good propagandist, he hand-picked each of those words to push the most sensitive buttons without regard to the fact that none of them have a thing to do with reality. Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Michelle Malkin are the incendiary personalities who are inciting these crowds with their strident and almost comical accusations. At a certain point, this country is going to have to deal with them, just like it dealt with Joseph McCarthy, another political opportunist with a sick agenda.

If you think Joe Wilson would have yelled “You lie!” to a white president, you’re on crack. Mr. Wilson, a member in good standing of the Sons of the Confederacy as well as other organizations with ties to white supremacists, is an overt racist. He has also been a staunch proponent of making the Confederate flag the standard for his state. On top of violating decorum during a presidential appearance before a joint session of Congress with his Tourette’s-like outburst, he was just plain wrong. All five of the reform proposals currently before Congress contain ‘verification’ provisions. Just because those provisions don’t go as far as he would like them to go does not mean they are not there. The Republican amendments which were voted down required that emergency room doctors and nurses refuse treatment until an incoming patient’s status had been verified by some unnamed bureaucrat. Imagine a situation where a bleeding child who has been hit by a car is brought into ER and somebody who looks like Joe Wilson steps in and says “Don’t touch that child until we make sure he’s not another Mexican trying to get free health care.” Preposterous.

The longer that the Republican Party remains in denial about the emergence of racism within its own ranks, the sooner this country is going to have a one-party system. The problem is that the GOP actually relishes this grotesque phenomenom because it is energizing its notorious right-wing base and creating doubt among more impressionable independents. For that reason, you will never hear Michael Steel admit that there is any racism going on in the Republican Party and that all these lunatics at Tea Party rallies are just hard-working Americans who hate President Obama’s policies. Of course, we’re talking about the policies as characterized by the likes of Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Michelle Malkin.

Here is another interesting and eye-opening video which compares Canadian health care to the U.S.:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x3EoziMcFvE&feature=response_watch

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12 Comments

  1. Posts about Michelle Malkin as of September 16, 2009 » The Daily Parr said,

    [...] no change (0) Michelle Malkin, Barnes and Noble, 2pm (1) Health [Insurance] Reform rally pics (0) Is the opposition to President Obama driven by racism? – johnrj08.wordpress.com 09/16/2009 I would have to agree with President Carter’s [...]

  2. 12stepgolf said,

    Conservatives have a leader-Michael Steele

    • johnrj08 said,

      Mike Steele has come very close to being booted out by the RNC several times, just in the last six months. His most recent brush with the RNC came when he dared to say something less than adoring about Rush Limbaugh, who is the de facto leader of the conservative movement in this country. Before that, he almost got canned because he made a public statement which amounted to support of Pro-Choice. The fact is, the man should be a democrat, because he makes a terrible Republican.

      What is stupendously ironic and what many Republicans refuse to admit is that Steele represents a political party dominated by white men. If you watched the President’s speech to the joint session of Congress it was painfully evident. On the right side of the screen the audience was filled with men and women of many colors. That was the Democrat side. On the left sat a group composed almost entirely of white men. Those were the people represented by Mike Steele. So, the obvious question is, what was the criteria used to select Steele, who came to his post one week before Barack Obama was sworn into office? Coincidence? I don’t think so. Shameful tokenism and political manipulation? Probably.

      The real point here is that the Republican Party has no real leader now. The tone and content of the conservative movement has been hijacked by people like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Michelle Malkin, who are all getting rich off the anger of old white people. One of the reasons that the RNC is in such disarray is because George W. Bush left such a vacuum. Dick Cheney has tried to step into that void, but he has no credibility with a majority of the country. John McCain made too many political enemies during the campaign to lead the party, and Sarah Palin is just an embarrassment. Whenever you have a vacuum like this at the top of a political party, the nuts who scream the loudest take control of the podium. This insane and largely unAmerican behavior is going to come back to haunt the RNC in 2010. I can’t wait to see the clips and sound bytes that are used by their democratic opponents in their campaigns.

  3. 12stepgolf said,

    I know and the GOP better stop being so elitist itself.
    They have talked in the past wanting us to follow-well it is time they followed us. We are the party and we need to take it back-Where are the real conservatives in the RNC?

  4. Shayne Cameron said,

    Very late comment; I arrived at this link through a series of sites bashing the Repubs.

    I am Canadian. I’ve lived in the US for 6 yrs. I know the Canadian system and the American. The video clip linked here has a gentleman with a foreign accent making mocking remarks about Americans who do not want universal health care. He touts Canadian health care as a standard. There are three points *no-one* seems to either know, remember, or admit about Canadian health care; 1) there are incredibly long lines for most specialized (ie non-GP doctor appointments, surgeries, any testing) services as the use/ abuse of the ‘free’ medical in Canada is near universal, and ties up all the resources unnecessarily , 2) Canada is in a state of flux where a large portion of the country wants a 2-tier (ie user pay or public) health care system, where paying users get premium care, and 3) there is no free lunch; Canadians pay much higher taxes than Americans, in large part to pay for their ‘free’ health care.

    Stay deluded friends. Ignore the facts. That is what the author of this blog wants.

    • johnrj08 said,

      Yes, very late comment. But worth answering.

      The fact is that Canadians as a whole give that country’s health care system a very high approval rating– well over 80%, even with all its problems. Nobody has said that Canadian health care is perfect. However, it is vastly superior to the system we had in the US, where an insurance company could arbitrarily raise rates or cancel a policy whenever a policy holder tried to file a claim. On top of that, in the US the private insurance industry is exempt from our anti-trust laws, giving it the ability to collude and fix prices, even in states where there may only be one or two insurance companies. This makes buying insurance across state lines a totally meaningless customer advantage. The Republicans in Congress made a huge thing out of allowing individuals and companies to buy insurance across states lines, but they wouldn’t consider revoking the anti-trust exemption. As far as the “2-tier system” is concerned, most countries have it. Even Britain, which has the most socialized system in the world. Private insurance companies have offices everywhere for people who want to purchase supplementary coverage. The AARP provides it in the US.

      I agree, there is no “free lunch”. However, the fact is that the larger the pool of customers, the lower the per unit premium costs. That’s how the so-called free market works. There is no larger customer than the federal government. It is the only entity that can organize a nation-sized group, then go and negotiate lower rates with the private insurers. Of course, the best way to have the lowest possible rates would be to have no private insurance companies and go to a single payer. Until that happens, our for-profit insurance system will continue to charge exorbitant premiums, which most middle and lower income families cannot afford. And, even those who can afford to pay +$23,000/year in premiums, could have their policy cancelled under the old system if they made a claim.

      NOBODY, especially President Obama, has ever said that health care would EVER be “free”. With the grotesque amount of money this country spends on the military, which is twice as much as next eleven countries combined, even a small reduction of military spending would pay for the best health care in the world. But the Republicans would never agree to reducing it one penny, especially for health care. At the same time, they refuse to do anything to rein in the abuses of the insurance industry, since they are recipients of huge campaign donations from that and other industries.

      I resent your final comment that I want people to “stay deluded” or “ignore the facts”. I want exactly the opposite. The clip I provided says nothing inaccurate about the Canadian health care system. For every person in Canada who says they’ve had a bad experience with their insurance, I’m sure you can find another Canadian who has had a positive experience. In the United States, for every person who has had a good experience with their insurance, you can find 20 who have had a disastrous experience, including losing their coverage entirely. How many bankruptcies occur in Canada every year due to excessive medical costs? In the US there are millions. That’s with 6 zeroes.

  5. Shayne Cameron said,

    Wow, I am impressed by the prompt (or any) response. Kudos to you.

    You have raised good points, and underscored the major issue the US has with its politics; both sides are quite happy to share whatever facts will shore up their arguments, but neither presents a fair and balanced view. Any discussion with either faction leads to harsh feelings, because each feels that they are correct, and the others are evil. And ignorant. And stupid.

    I apologize if you are not a typical political blogger. Clearly you and I have different viewpoints on American politics, but if you are truly more concerned with the truth than simply winning the argument, I applaud you.

    Having said that, the video clip you included says nothing that is inaccurate about the Canadian health care system, but leaves out many relevant details that need to be considered before we dive head first into such far reaching and revolutionary piece of legislation. I raised 3 points in my previous post which you never hear discussed. They need to be. As far as the level of satisfaction with the Canadian system as opposed to the American, you fail to consider the point that Canadians are typically ignorant about how good and bad their system is. Yes it is far-reaching, and covers a lot (though there is a maximum cap on what they will cover; my cousin was busted up pretty bad in a wreck and after a certain point they told him he was on his own). However, most Canadians don’t realize that there are little if no waiting lists in the US for extraordinary services. It is simply the way of things to wait several weeks or months for an appointment with a specialist, or for surgery for a non-immediately-life-threatening situation. I’m sure that if I spent more time on the issue, I could bring up other points, but I think what I’ve already mentioned is enough to show that there was not enough dialog on the issue before it was forced on the country.

    I was quite disillusioned by the President when he bulled through his health care reform while ignoring any Republican ideas. And yes, they had some ideas. However, the Democrats had the political muscle to simply ignore what they said. And that is unfortunate. This legislation is going to affect us all, and Mr Obama appears to only want to be President of half the country. He wants to bully the other half.

    As I am starting to ramble, and my lunch is growing cold, I will wind up with this. Health care needs reform. Wall Street needs reform. Heaven knows Immigration needs reform. None of our systems are perfect, and several are in dire need of overhaul. However, until someone in this country decides to stop blustering and bellowing, and works towards a dialog between the opposing sides, there will be little accomplished, and a lot of hard feelings. And so far, Mr Obama has not proven to be that man. He talks a good game, but his actions drown out his pretty words.

    • johnrj08 said,

      You think the President “bullied through his’ health care plan “while ignoring Republican ideas”? You can’t be serious. If the President had, indeed, bullied anything through, it would have included the public option and revoked the insurance industry’s exemption from anti-trust laws. If anything, the President did everything humanly possible to accommodate Republican concerns, to the detriment of the final bill. Since Obama’s inauguration, the Republican Party has made it abundantly clear that their strategy is to obstruct ANYTHING substantive legislation which this administration supports. They will even vote against bills which members of their own caucus have co-sponsored in order to prevent any political victories for this president. The majority of people who are upset about “Obamacare” think it didn’t go far enough. And it didn’t. But, ultimately, no important program in this country has ever been passed which didn’t require further improvement. The initial Social Security Act denied the benefit to African-Americans. Aspects of Medicare are still being modified every year. At every opportunity, the President has stated that this health care reform bill was only a “first step”. Like all previous social legislation in US history, it needs improvements. The problem is, of course, that the Republican minority will continue to do whatever it can to demonize this president and vote as a block to obstruct anything he tries to do. Then, after gutting the bills that he has proposed, they will stand back and claim that his programs can’t work. Just as they’re doing now with health care. The only thing that the GOP can be counted on for in the next three years is a strategy of continuing to block or de-fang every single piece of essential reform that the Obama tries to do. They did with health care reform and Wall Street reform. Next, they will do it with Immigration Reform and energy. That is their sole objective. Having used the filibuster more times in the last 15 months that it was used in the 1960′s, 1970′s and 1980′s COMBINED, and encouraging its own lunatic fringe, they devote themselves everyday to bringing down this president.

  6. Shayne Cameron said,

    Bulled is the word I used; he rammed it down the throats of the repubs, as he had the power to do so. Bullied might also fit, but that was your word ;)

    He had to water down his original proposal not to try to compromise with the repubs, but to get enough votes in his own party. His special deals with his own people weren’t enough to get his ideas passed. Fortunately, imho, the days of the demos having their overwhelming power base are soon to be past, and we’ll see more balanced government. Any time one party has the capability of ramming their ideas down the throats of the country, especially when popular opinion is against them, we have a problem. By the same token I wouldn’t like to see a repub landslide, either. But, to get back to the point, don’t fool yourself into thinking that Obama’s compromises were to try to get repubs on board. Without them the healthcare reform bill would have floundered and sunk within his own party.

    Now, to address the concept of ‘lets get the bill out there while we have the power to ram it down people’s throats, and then fix it.’ If the bill doesn’t have enough merit to at least have popular support, that suggests to me that it is flawed. If it doesn’t even have the partisan support of your own party, it is obviously more flawed. Does it make sense to just get the bill passed, creating a mess that will require more time, effort, debate, time, tax dollars, debate, and tax dollars to re-form it into something worth the paper it’s printed on? I think not. Instead, craft a bill that makes more sense, listen to the opposition and try to compromise (and if you say he did that, reread the paragraph above, but think about it this time), and bring out something that the public likes, and will support. If you don’t, I think the word you chose, bullying applies.

    As far as your comment about the GOP trying to bring down this President goes, my response is so? Isn’t that what the demos did with Bush? Unfortunately this country get so inflamed about its politics that the ‘other side’ is considered either ignorant, crazy, or dangerous. Or all three. This is simply perpetuated by tactics like those used by Obama. And of course the repubs filibustered so much during this presidency. What other tool have they had? Obama has the power at this point, and he is flexing it. All the repubs can do is stall and hope that the tide turns. Again, your word ‘bully’ is appropriate.

    I guess November will tell.

    BTW, sorry that my responses are slow; I work pretty long hours on my job (ie up to 16 hr days, 7 days a week for several weeks at a time). No guarantees that I will always respond to your comments, but I will try.

    • johnrj08 said,

      I really don’t know how to respond to this comment. It seems completely deluded. Everybody who paid attention to the news over the last year knows why Obama wanted to push through health care reform. And anybody who knows anything about American political history knows that no piece of social legislation has ever passed that didn’t need retooling and repair over a period of time. Obama knew that and he also knew that getting the main piece of legislation through would make future fixes of the bill easier because there wouldn’t be as much political contention.

      As for November, I think the GOP is in for a rude awakening. Too much time appealing to its own right-wing base, and not enough time governing and listening to most Americans, who happen to be moderate.

  7. Shayne Cameron said,

    Oh c’mon! What a cop out; completely deluded! I answered your points and parried. There’s no denying that if Obama didn’t make his special deals, and didn’t sign an executive order tying in the Hyde Amendment to his healthcare reform bill, it would not have passed within his own party.

    Bah; completely deluded. John, I am disappointed by this response. Next you’ll say ‘It’s obvious that you are not open-minded enough to ever know that you are wrong,’ and end the conversation.

    Completely deluded.

    • johnrj08 said,

      Parrying with pejorative terms like “bullying” and “down the throats” does not denote objectivity. It’s more like the kind of tripe that is spewed on FOX News. If anything, Obama wasn’t enough of a bully during the health care reform debate. As for the Hyde Amendment issue, the Democrats in Congress were faced with a group of religious conservatives, which included several Democrats, who were trying to use the President’s desire for a heath care bill to erode Roe vs Wade. The Hyde Amendment didn’t need to be tied into the health care bill as it was already the law of the land. But it was the bone that Obama had to throw to Stupak to get the right-wing religious conservatives off his back.

      OK. Deluded was the wrong word. Just run-of-the-mill partisanship.

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