Monday, September 10, 2012
Fear and Loathing of Obama
It seems the dream of a Post-Racial America has yet to emerge. I get a kick out of articles like this one that try to dance around the race issue in this campaign. Jesse Washington seems to go out of his way to present both sides of the issue, when it is so damn apparent that race is at the center of the Republican fear and loathing of Obama. It's as Alec Baldwin tweeted, "If Obama was white, he'd be up by 17 points."
The Republicans, and in particular the Tea Party, have tried a number of strategies to gainsay Obama from the notorious birther argument, to the current attempt to link him to a black poet and socialist activist, Frank Marshall Davis, but at the core is race. Here is what I get when I type in obama racist political cartoons. Quite a sampling. One is uglier than the next. This one drew the most ire.
Young Republicans like to claim they are too young to be haunted by the specter of racism, but that strikes me as a rather lame argument as well. It is quite clear that the entire modus operandi of the Tea Party, by association the Republican Party, has been to paint Obama as the "Other."
This comes out in many of Mitt Romney's stump speeches. His attitude has been one of insolence toward President Obama, as if he doesn't deserve to be in the White House to begin with. This was palpably present during the so-called Republican debates, when the only candidate to show any deference toward the President was Jon Huntsman. Herman Cain even went so far as to project himself as a "real black man."
The irony is the Republican Party stood for racial equality and women's suffrage at one point. The Radical Republicans of the 1860s and 70s pushed for Civil Rights legislation across the board, and managed to get three Constitutional amendments through Congress that explicitly gave the black man the right to vote. Sadly, universal suffrage wouldn't come until much later. But, it seems this sense of history is lost on present-day Republicans, who absorbed the Dixiecrats in the wake of the Reagan Revolution.