I used to have the hardest time understanding why the GOP/Tea Party (they are one and the same now) want as many Americans as they can muster, uneducated, poor, and unhealthy.
That is, until Barack Obama became President. It’s pretty clear that despite the cries of socialism, destroying the economy, the national debt, and on and on, it’s really all about one thing and one thing only. White supremacy. And, by the way, the Civil War was not about state’s rights…it was about one and only one right of the states..the right to literally own and totally control other people.
To that point, there are two indisputable historical facts that too many white Americans, especially the wealthy ones, choose to ignore.
- The United States of America was established as a white society, founded upon the genocide and near extinction of the native race already inhabiting this country(Manifest Destiny)
- The enslavement of yet another race, to do the labor and be treated as chattel by white male slave-owners, and is still viewed by the believers as some distorted “proud heritage” rather than the atrocity that it truly was.
The reaction to the notion that the real source of hatred for Barak Obama–that he is black–from the conservative right is both instructive and revealing. The historical record of how white Europeans conquered North America by destroying the native population and how they then built their new nation’s economy on the backs of kidnapped Africans who had been turned into chattel are facts that cannot be denied. But it forces those who would like to turn back the clock to those “glory days” to cloak themselves in words like “heritage”, “patriots” and “freedom” and omit the descriptive qualifier for each—white.
White Heritage. White Patriots”. White Freedom”. Yet to speak honestly of such historical facts is to be charged with being un-patriotic, a socialist, disloyal or anything else to camouflage the reality.
Why has this gone unspoken?
One reason is that racism was no longer a hot topic for decades, until Barak Obama was elected President. After a brief “racial crisis” in the 1960s, white America, including many of those involved in the civil rights movement, had gone on to other concerns. Also, the legal victories of black Americans in that period, as far as most white Americans are concerned, have settled the issue and even left many of the more vocal asking, “What more do blacks want?”
Admittedly, since the passage of civil rights legislation in that period, some things have changed but many things haven’t. What has changed is the personal racial attitudes of many white Americans and the opportunities for some black Americans to enter the middle levels of society. Legal segregation has been lifted off the backs of black people with the consequent expansion of social interchange and voting rights, and that itself has led to cosmetic changes in white attitudes.
What has not changed is the systemic and pervasive breed of racism in the large segments of the middle and southern United States and the condition of life for the majority of black people, women, and all other non-white male minorities. In fact, many of those conditions have gotten worse.
Racism, along with rape, voter suppression, and the social caste system, originates in domination and provides the social rationale and philosophical justification for debasing, degrading, and doing violence to people on the basis of color and/or gender. Many have pointed out how racism is sustained by both personal attitudes and structural forces. Racism can be brutally overt or invisibly institutional, or both. Its scope extends to every level and area of human psychology, society, and culture. And since the 1960s, other minorities have begun to exert their demand for equality; the most prominent being women, of every race, and Latinos.
The Most Overlooked Aspect of Racism in America
The heart of racism was and still is mutualistic to the level of symbiosis. Economics and power has always–up until the history-shattering victory of a minority U.S. President–manifests in the ruling class of the U.S.—white, male politicians—and those politicians seek to wrestle that position of ruling class back.
Under the Great Manipulator–Ronald Reagan—one didn’t have to be racist to thrill to Reagan’s declaration that “government is not the solution; government is the problem,” though it didn’t hurt. Republican strategist Lee Atwater explained exactly how it worked in a now-infamous 1981 interview that was secret for 30 years. Atwater explained how the GOP dialed down its racial rhetoric for fear of alienating white moderates who might buy the GOP’s anti-government crusade, but be uncomfortable with outright racism.
- “You start out in 1954 by saying, “N–ger, n–ger, n–ger.” By 1968 you can’t say “n–ger” — that hurts you, backfires. So you say stuff like, uh, forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff, and you’re getting so abstract. Now, you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites … “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, uh, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “N–ger, n–ger.”
Now all one has to say is “Defund Obamacare,” and everyone pretty much knows why.
That’s exactly how things got worse instead of better: Republicans including those who know better, and who probably aren’t “racist” in the traditional sense of believing in black inferiority and opposing the equality and integration of the races, nonetheless indulge those who are—if for no other reason than for political, therefore ruling, advantage; or more to the point, so that they won’t be “primaried” by those conservatives even more radical than themselves. And when the election of our first black president riled up the racists and they launched the Tea Party – supposed deficit hawks who tolerated skyrocketing government spending under George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan, but would be damned to let a black man get away with it — too many Republicans went along with the momentum, hoping to harness the votes but not cede power to them. And now the Republicans are stuck with the most radical segment of their party.
Until Harry Reid finally gave in and deconstructed the filibuster rules that had benefitted both political parties when they were in the minority position, the entire government had been taken hostage by leaders elected by this radicalized minority, who see Barack Obama as everything they’ve been taught to fear for the last half-century.
First of all, he’s not just black, he’s the product of a black father and a white mother; which explains one unconscious motivation for birtherism: They just can’t wrap their minds around the circumstances of his conception and birth. Then throw in his Ivy League degrees, and they are sure he must be the elitist beneficiary of affirmative action.
Leading Republicans, who should really know better, have demeaned the president with a long list of racially coded slurs.
- Obama is “the food stamp president,” Newt Gingrich told us.
- He wants to help “black people” (or was it “blah people”?) “by giving them somebody else’s money,” Rick Santorum said.
- Even his so-called GOP “friend” Sen. Tom Coburn insists Obama is spreading “dependency” on government because “it worked so well for him as an African-American male.”
Where Mitt Romney’s father, George, stood up to the rising tide of racism in his party and marched in fair housing protests in the 1960s, Mitt welcomed the birther-in-chief Donald Trump during the 2012 campaign. And when things got tough in the fall campaign, he and Paul Ryan doubled down on racial appeals by accusing Obama of weakening welfare reform – he hadn’t – and of giving white seniors’ hard-earned Medicare dollars to Obamacare recipients.
And we all know who they are. More code words for African-Americans, despite the facts on the ground that poor white people need more government assistance that poor black people.
Now we have John Boehner, who cries more than a professional onion-slicer, elected House speaker thanks to the Tea Party wave of 2010, shutting down the government over Obamacare. In one of his first major media appearances after becoming speaker, he showed how weak and ineffectual he would be when he refused to rebuke the birthers in his caucus. “It’s not up to me to tell them what to think,” he told NBC’s Brian Williams.
Now he’s kowtowing to the roughly 30 House Republicans from bright red districts that also happen to be almost exclusively white, in a country that is more than one-third non-white. They want to shut down the government to torpedo Obamacare, the signature program of our first black president. Although the speaker told reporters after Obama’s r-election that Obamacare was the law of the land, and that a government shutdown would be bad for the country, he changed his tune when confronted with an insurrection, and the de facto House speaker who happens to be a senator, Ted Cruz. (Cruz’s father, by the way, just joined the ranks of those who seem to believe Obama is a Muslim, telling a Colorado woman who made that claim: “[Sen. John] McCain couldn’t say that because it wasn’t politically correct. It is time we stop being politically correct!”
In the end, it’s all about Obama. I keep waiting for John Boehner to have his “Take this job and shove it” moment, since he’s not the House leader, he’s being led by Ted Cruz and the House suicide caucus. But I’ve been waiting a long time for Republicans to do the right thing and repudiate their party’s lunatic fringe, particularly its racist fringe.
I assume I will be dead before that actually happens. After all, it’s America’s Manifest Destiny for the white males to rule the country. Who are “We the People” to challenge that?