Archive for March, 2013

When it became clear in 2008 that Barack Obama was going to become the first Black President of the United States, several top leaders of the Republican Party met in a hotel in Washington D.C. and hatched a strategy to discredit him.

Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky stated it succinctly, “Our goal is to see that Obama is a one-term president.”

To achieve their goal, the Republicans agreed that the Party would withold any Republican stamp of approval from any and all Obama initiatives, legislative actions, appointments, and suggestions of bipartianship.

This often led to ludicrous legislative decisions that required the party as a whole to oppose bills and other actions it had previously supported.

To make matters worse, Republican leadership condoned and carried out the continuation of election season slurs against Obama meant solely to create an image of Obama as incompetent in the public mind.

Among the more inflamatory labels Republicans tagged Obama with were Nazi, socialist, commie, and Kenyan anti-colonialist, the latter a creation of perennial loser Newt Gingrich.

Others, such as John Sununu, employed code words signifying Obama’s race as Black, conveniently ignoring his White Kansas ancestry.

Among other derogatory terms, Sununu described Obama as lazy and, on one occasion, wished Obama would “…learn how to be an American.”

More juvenille yet, Donald Trump and a host of lesser luminaries on the right continued to question Obama’s place of birth despite official records showing he had been born in the Kapiolani Women and Children’s Hospital in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Even the words of no less an authority than the Governor of Hawaii, who verified the existence of Obama’s long form birth certificate, failed to silence the Republican furor over a sitting President supposedly born in Kenya or Thailand or God knows where else.

Overcome by their belief in the conspiracy  theories that swirled around Obama’s head like buzzing mosquitoes, the Republicans were thus all set to celebrate his defeat in the Presidential Election of 2012, lulled asleep in part by the repetitive predictions of Republican pollsters that the Republican candidate Mitt Romney would win.

To the shock of everyone who supported Romney, Obama carried both the popular and electoral votes with room to spare. And to this date, the Republicans haven’t figured it out.

But the major question isn’t how and why Romney lost to Obama. Romney was an incompetent canddidate who listened to a group of incompetent campaign advisors. Everyone in the Romney camp failed to recognize the changing demographics in America as well as the staleness of conservative ideas and policies on women, rape, abortion, and birth control.

The real question is, why have the Republicans refused to cooperate with President Obama on even the most mundane matters even in the face of his two overwhelming presidential wins.

The most obvious but also the largely unspoken and most vexing explanation is racism. Americans almost to a person will deny that they are racist. Yet, racism exists. How could this be? 

Either Americans are racist and are lying when they deny it, or else they are racist but are unaware of it. In either case, racsm is pervasive in the United States and it’s effects are clear to see for anyone who cares to look.

True, everyday on every level of interaction, White and Black Americans work with each other without the overt displays of disrespect White Republicans have demonstrated toward America’s first Black President.

But these everyday interactions are marked by a noticeable distinction: with few execeptions, Whites are in positions of economic and social superiorority to the positions of Blacks.

We know that the primary element  in racism are feelings of superiority over a group of people. In America, those feelings are conflicted by a history of the American insistence that “all men are created equal.”

Thus, a dichotomy: on the one hand, Blacks and Whites are equal. On the other hand,  they clearly are not. Consequently, Whites are often unable to accept the reality of the authotity of a Black person over a group of Whites.

The two overwhelming wins of Obama over war hero John McCain and economic hero Mitt Romney thus gave rise to a level of disbelief in the legitimacy of a president heretofore unknown in the United States.

The Republicans’ stunned disbelief, fueled by the sudden emergence of an extreme right wing element in the Republican Party called tea baggers thus made it imperative that the Republican Party disavow any connection with Obama.

Moreover, the underlying fear that Obama’s policies may prove successful and acceptable to a vast majority of the American public would be proof positive that Republican policies and practices were outdated relics of past centuries doomed to fail in a 21st Century America of changing demographics and social mores.

Only time will tell if these conjectures will prove valid. In the meantime, Americans will continue to dance around the subject of race and of Obama’s forward-looking policies.

But in its usual cycle of depression and optimism, I expect that the U.S. will eventually overccome its racist tendencies just as Major League baseball eventually accepted Jackie Robinson as its first Black baseball player so many years ago.

Thanks, Jackie, for sticking to it in the face of slurs, slanders, and racial epithets and becoming one of the greatest players in the game.


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