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Monday, August 15, 2011


Michael White

Arriving at the Waterloo Station

Those who naively thought that racism had quietly died when Obama was elected President of the United States had lost all sense of reality. There is a common saying in America which every young boy has heard a thousand times, that it is possible for anyone to become the President. To most white men, that is a reference to one of them, not to a black boy from….Hawaii (read Kenya!!)

Men like Eric Cantor, John Boehner, Mitch “Midget” McConnell, Joe “ You Lie” Wilson, Jim “Waterloo” DeMint, John “macaque” Allen, John “That One” McCain, Dick “ Karl Marx” Armey, Newt “Con Man” Gingrich, Haley Barbour, and Mitt Romney, could never accept that a Barack Obama would be the one for whom this prediction would materialize; to them the 2008 election was an unpardonable aberration, and an attack on the Constitution and on their divine rights that a black man would precede them as President. How presumptuous of him! They are seething with rage and the outlet for it is their recurrent “no” vote and their mean-spirited accusations and denunciations of the President.

Can you imagine if a black man would succeed in cleaning up the mess in America that a white President left behind? Can you not feel the pain of humiliation that implies? Also, can you not imagine how difficult it would be to dislodge the party of that President if he succeeded? If that should happen how then could, for instance, Boehner, McConnell or Cantor or the other pretender to the throne Tim Pawlenty, all with few or no chances by virtue of age, ever inherit their birthright and become President as their fathers promised? No way! This presumptuous (I think they say “uppity”) black man has to be brought to ruin- meet his Waterloo- at all costs. Hence, the “no” to every measure proposed by his administration or “regime”.

In the much touted 2008 US elections an estimated 136 million Americans voted. A little over 65,182,692 votes went to Obama, and 57,212,032 to McCain. Obama gained a cool 52.5% of the popular vote against John McCain’s 46.2%. This was a remarkable result on a number of levels as a diversity of Americans -blacks, whites, young and old -voted into office the first black American president, the most powerful man in the world. This was touted not only in America, but worldwide as a radical transformation of American politics, the beginning of a new era in American society and of, believe it or not, a post racial society.
A whole lot of “post-racial” white Americans defied American history by voting with the majority; without them Obama could not have won. What I am saying in this piece has to be viewed in this context, or it is just unhealthy, alarmist racist commentary. I have known personally too many right-thinking, decent and progressive (small “p”) white Americans over the years to fall into that trap.

What we must note is that of those who voted, pretty close to half voted against Obama. Buried in that number, amongst the many reasonable white men and women who voted for the right reasons, were all the haters, the diehard racists and bigots to whom it was and continued to be anathema to defile the people’s house with a “man of colour.” These latter did not overtly demonstrate their anger and discontent at the time; they bided their time in the shadows until circumstances provided the opening they knew they would soon precipitate to wear their hearts on their sleeves. They went underground; they stooped to conquer in due course, humouring their misguided compatriots.

The peers, heirs and successors of the KKK are out of hiding and are as virulent and purposeful as ever!!!

Of course, these good folks have long replaced their hoods with the even more ludicrous tea bags dangling from their hats, and instead of flaming crosses, they today sport inflaming placards, but it is all the same thing; now we have the sons and daughters who stood as innocents on the backs of their fathers and in the arms of their mothers as Wallace brought out the fire hoses to stop little black boys and girls from attending a white school, or as the beatings and lynchings of black men proceeded before their innocent eyes but very conscious impressionable minds.

Thanks to the maverick-iness of John McCain, the underground movement of bigots were provided with the anti hero they were waiting for, Sarah Palin, as their rallying point. They flocked to her as bees to a flower; she was the perfect image to put up against a black man in redeeming American “values” and “virtue”. The misguided and manifestly unintelligent Sarah Palin was able to read the tea leaves and play the American bigots like a violin. We are made to understand by the crazy part of America, that this woman, God forbid, may yet succeed President Obama as the leader of the free world!!

Beck and Palin, the messiahs of the bigoted subset organize a rally to commemorate the famous Civil Rights march on Washington, rightly anticipating a full crowd of their anti-Obama supporters. It’s like an old time southern Rally. The Rally speeches, like those of the predecessor Klan jamborees, are cloaked in Godliness- clearly a god who is decisively on the side of racism, prejudice, lies, ill-speaking, hatred, anger, jealousy and animosity.

Grandmaster Beck, Pretender Palin and the passionate Pastor who lauded his leader at the Rally should all have begun their sermons with the invocation “LET US PREY”…on the ignorance, the fear and the pathological hatred of the majority of their audience.

Who could miss the outstanding sprinkling of black faces glowing in the darkness of this Beckian masquerade? No surprise here. From the early slave traders, to Jim Jones to David Koresh to Glen Beck, crusading, crafty, devious, demented, pernicious white men have always been able to cajole a selection of misguided black people to join with them in working against their own interests and their own kind. It is a gift.

Then there are these black luminaries who are really like crabs at the bottom of the barrel, who mistakenly think they can regain some traction for their failed personal aspirations, among white people, by bringing Obama down: the likes of Alan Keyes, Larry Elder, Ron Christie. Ah, Ron Christie, what a piece of work; a sad failed architect of the Bush-Cheyney fiasco now determined to rewrite history to look kindly on him and cover his tracks. These types are blind to the fact that, like Michael Steel, they are laughed at and loathed behind their backs by those they seek honor from. They see themselves curiously, as somehow not included in the disgust of the haters.

Back to the famous Beckian-Palin Rally. Let us say that the bigots were a mere 10% of those who voted against Obama; that would be some 5.7 million people. Then let us say that only a modest 10% of these attended the Beck rally as a demonstration of their solidarity and hatred of Mr. President, that would be a mere 500,000. Let us be conservative and say it was only 5% who attended, that would take us to our 250,000 which Beck claims to have been in attendance. Why would such an attendance surprise anyone? I can see all the haters gladly wanting to be part of the re-honoring of America! They would be as motivated as Klansmen to come out to the party. These people and their personalities are accurately represented in the film “ Mississippi Burning.” Beck and Palin would do well to organize a public viewing of this remarkable motion picture for their fans, who would then have an opportunity to look at themselves!

Constantly during his infamous rally and dramatic plea, with the usual crocodile tears flowing, the latter day saint Beck brazenly invokes God, apparently egged on by a devoted bunch of men and women of the cloth too blind or self-deluded to see through that rascal’s manipulation, overt racism and hatred of the first black president. God is, however, not mocked. They should be careful of the wrath they may be calling down on themselves and on the church in America with their hypocrisy and their false religiosity.

When is the new black truth revolution going to start in earnest in America? When are the voices going to be combined in a mass movement with the likes of honest and fearless white men and women like President Carter, Ed Schutz, Joan Walsh and Keith Olbermann? Where is the genius David Plouffe anyway? Where is the super silent majority of Blacks, Hispanics, Jews and other people of hope who couldn’t wait to shout their approval on election day?

Why are the positions of manifestly racist clowns like Boehner, Cantor, McConnell and Armey still so dominant in the American dialogue? Were the folks who genuinely tried to move away from America’s dark racial “whites only” past, lulled into a false hope and security by the apparent Obama victory? Now would be a good time to wake up from this sleep of forgetfulness and get some heads out of the oilly coastal sand.

Don’t get me wrong. I have issues with President Obama. There are times when he seems to me more interested in political victory than in doing what God raised him up to do. I know I am not on the same ground as some of my liberal friends on some matters of faith, but how can a Christian be neutral on or even support the scourge of abortion? Why can’t he take a principled stand on promoting the word of God in schools and public places? Why can’t he say unequivocally that gay marriage is against God’s law for man? What is he afraid of? If God is for him who can be against him? Who does he take counsel from on matters of the Spirit? Why does he allow a miscreant like Beck to seem more spiritual than he is?

I have noted a weakness, an achilles heel in President Obama; he is afraid of the condemnation of his loyal opposition; from time to time he rises above this fear and launches a veild counter offensive. But in general he is over-respectful of Republicans to the point of weakness. His administration hurriedly brings down Shirley Sherrod without due process or cause, but comes out in strong defense of the lame headed Republican Alan Simpson, who is adamantly against the fair and just positions. Periodically he or his spokesmen take unfair shots at the members of his party that support him most consistently. It is unbecoming.

The President took an extraordinarily long time to recognize the obvious truth of what the brave Ed Schultz has been shouting to him for months: that the Republicans are playing a game and never had any intention of cooperating with him in any way. He played the bi-pattisan card to its limits with disastrous results.

His blindness to John McCain’s patent chicanery is to this observer one of his greatest blunders. I think Obama with his very big heart believed that he could trust John McCain, who he never failed to applaud as a true American hero. John McCain is one of the most dishonest, self serving and untrustworthy politicians in the United States, and I believe President Obama still has not, even at this late stage, seen through McCain’s duplicity. It is not an accident that McCain was the one who unleashed the hero of the bigots Sarah Palin on an unsuspecting American public. Things have a way of working together, though not always for good.

Obama kept silent through the intense left-right debate over the public option, resulting in a disappointing compromise Health Bill which eventually lost him a lot of popular support. He has this unimpressive tendency of remaining out of the fray and letting things drift till a watered down version of things prevails. It makes him look spineless, which we know he is not.

His behaviour as President can be seen in several national issues as weak and indecisive, while he tries to play it as keeping a campaign pledge not to do politics as usual. But despite all his effort to be faithful to the pledge, one of the most sustained and effective attacks upon him by the right is that he has not kept his election promise to be bi-partisan. It’s a game and he should be smart enough to beat his adversaries at it.

In September 2009 that sage among US Presidents, Jimmy Carter, spoke the truth loud and clear to his country when he reiterated his belief that racism is an issue for President Obama in trying to lead the country.

In the former President’s words:"When a radical fringe element of demonstrators and others begin to attack the president of the United States as an animal or as a reincarnation of Adolf Hitler or when they wave signs in the air that said we should have buried Obama with Kennedy, those kinds of things are beyond the bounds," the past President told his audience at Emory University."I think people who are guilty of that kind of personal attack against Obama have been influenced to a major degree by a belief that he should not be president because he happens to be African American.” He continued: "It's a racist attitude, and my hope is and my expectation is that in the future both Democratic leaders and Republican leaders will take the initiative in condemning that kind of unprecedented attack on the president of the United States."

The former President's comments were made soon after his statement that racial politics played a role in South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson's unruly outburst during Obama's speech to Congress and in some of the opposition the President has faced since taking office.

My amazement is that so few people seem to know or want to articulate the obvious truth of this. Carter was one of the brave and honest ones and he got bashed left, right and centre.

What is sad is that President Obama openly declared that he did not support what Carter so accurately presented. Was he again catering to the hostile, fearsome Republicans? It would have been better for him to have kept his tongue than to defend Carter’s critics, and in the process put the gentleman Carter in a position of him seeming to be wrong for speaking the rather obvious truth!

Carter knows of what he speaks, being a white man raised in the South. "I live in the South, and I've seen the South come a long way, and I've seen the rest of the country that shares the South's attitude toward minority groups at that time, particularly African-Americans….I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man, that he's African-American," Carter told "NBC Nightly News." How can anyone deny that?

Of Course, after this regrettable turn of events Carter has kept a respectful silence to Obama's loss. Did he lose one of his best and most perceptive and erudite advocates?

The great educator comedian Bill Cosby later put the matter in clear perspective with this statement:"During President Obama's speech on the status of health care reform, some members of Congress engaged in a public display of disrespect…. While one representative hurled the now infamous 'you lie' insult at the president, others made their lack of interest known by exhibiting rude behavior such as deliberately yawning and sending text messages." Cosby as usual is so correct!

James Baldwin, long, long ago, told us about another country. This is it, America in a disguise that cannot last; not when it is telling the rest of the world that it’s system is best and should be imitated globally, not when it takes up arms and puts its youth “in harms way” to plant and enforce that system in countries far away.

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