Tags: African Americans, black, Confronting Myths, Congress, Democratic Party, Democrats, Erica Wemer, European Americans, group identity, Mo Brooks, politics, Prejudice, President Obama, race, racial group identity, Republicans, skin complexion, The Associated Press, white, word race
Race is a power-packed word in American society and has been for decades because it possesses the power to separate and divide human beings into groups. Regardless of the context in which the word race is used, if the suggested meaning involves a group identity, then it separates and divides people. As early as the 1800s, society was advised to avoid using race along with color as a social or cultural identity because it could not be defined and employed with any accuracy or certainty. Nonetheless, society ignored the warnings and proceeded to use the word race in a social context. One reason for the word’s longevity is due to the social rewards derived by some groups from the identity. And old saying that underscores the manipulation of race by color determining social value stated: “If you’re white, you’re right; if you’re yellow, you’re mellow; if you’re brown, stick around; if you’re black, get back.”The sentiments suggested in that old saying still has some currency in society today whether we want to believe it or not.
When the word race is used in conjunction with a so-called racial group identity, the mere mention of the group automatically creates separation and division. This separation and division occurs because of the social conditioning experienced in the society and the accepted views of society relative to different social groups. The nature of most groups is to defend and protect itself against any and all criticism that might cast negative views of it. Whether the claims are true or false makes no difference because with respect to race nothing can be validated unless and until race is defined. Nevertheless, some people will use race as a tool or tactic because it generates feeling of loyalty, protection, pride and unity by the people who identify with a race. For example, people who identify themselves as belonging to the white race automatically gives credence to a belief in many races biologically different from the so-called white race. Rather than recognizing the fact that all races are social creations and therefore bogus, some people hold on to the belief and adopt a defensive character relative to the group. Hence, we note the separation and division quality of the word.
The conception and accepting of the word race with the focus on it divisive powers were displayed recently in an article by Erica Wemer from The Associated Press, “Republican congressman says Democrats are engaged in ‘war on whites’” (8/5/14). The article noted that “Congressman Mo Brooks made his comment on conservative talk radio host Laura Ingram’s program Monday. He said the Democratic Party claims white people hate everyone else and that it’s part of President Barack Obama’s strategy of dividing people on the basis of race, sex and class.” Whether the claim is true or not, one of the obvious reactions is for the groups to unify. From a political perspective, this tactic could be used to gain support for an individual identified as belonging to that so-called white group because the suggestion is that the other group is ganging-up on him; which will seem unfair.
The article noted that Brooks stated that “Race should not be an issue in public policy debates, we should be colorblind, we should be the melting pot.” Every one of these phrases is a relic of the past and lacks logic or value in our society today. The fact is, is that race should not be an issue in any debate whether public or private since it has never been defined, just assumed. The fact that America is a diverse society and draws it strength from it diversity would make the suggestion of being a colorblind society hypocritical; our strength comes from accepting the individual regardless of color. The concept of the melting pot is a flawed one because the metaphor never reflected the reality of society. All those old, over-used sayings might sound fine, but in reality, they are meaningless.
The obvious intention of Brooks is underscored in his comments:”But so long as the Democrats have a political campaign strategy to divide Americans based on skin pigmentation then they are the ones who are fanning the fires and doing a disservice to our country, not those who try to hold the Democrats accountable for what is very counterproductive and sinister campaign tactic.” Brooks, in essence, is attempting to charge the Democrats with using many of the same tactics Republicans have used for years and ascribing things to the party that have long been a part of the general social perspective. The argument goes back to “us versus them,” or “good guy, bad guy,” with the one making the claim being the good guy.
Brooks have forgotten, evidently, the litany of incidents where many representatives of his party have shown disrespect to the President with no justification other than his skin complexion. For anyone to fall for Brooks’ argument would be to totally ignore that Senator Mitch O’Connell stated at the outset of President Obama’s first term the objective to prevent him having a second term. In addition, when we examine the lack of action of the Congress, we recognize that the President has been limited in what he could do as one individual.
In his statement, Brooks wants to create a division within society based on old prejudices and bigotry but make it seem that he is really trying to defend the cause of freedom and justice for all. He focused his attentions directly on the Democrats and said: “This is a part of the war on whites that’s being launched by the Democratic Party. And the way in which they are launching the war is by claiming that whites hate everybody else.” A phrase that fits Brooks’ contentions is “reverse psychology” or “projection” where the deeds or misdeeds of one party are associated with another party, and then is criticized as unacceptable.
Wemer ended the article with the following passage: “To a request for comment, the spokeswoman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Emily Bittner, wrote in an email: ‘Wow. Congressman Brooks is living in his own world of paranoia, but sadly, this is precisely the kind of divisive rhetoric that has come to define House Republicans.’”
Although the word race is power-packed any attempt to use race by color as a tactic or ploy will enviably fail because any definition offered for it cannot withstand close scrutiny.
Tags: barack obama, Charles Nichols, Charlie Taylor, Christianity, Democrats, Larry Phillips, Obama, politics, Prejudice, President Obama, projection, religion, Republicans, The Oklahoman
A very sad and unfortunate fact today is that many of President Obama’s critics do not understand how their government works or the job of the president. Many of them think he has the power of a dictator or king; some even think of him as a super man who can do all things simultaneously. In any event, the fact that they use their free speech to ridicule President Obama actually has the opposite effect. A few examples should demonstrate the point. The examples are three letters published in The Oklahoman’s “Opinion” section of that paper.
The first letter was written by Charlie Taylor of Norman, Oklahoma (10/11/13) who stated that “If President Obama had what it takes to be commander in Chief of the best military in history, if he had even 1 percent of the integrity, class, patriotism and guts shown by the lovable, beautiful veterans of World War ll, Obama would be at the World War ll memorial every day….” We need to pause here before we continue this sentence and examine just what Taylor has said. First, he questioned President Obama’s intelligence and ability to serve as Commander in Chief, a position that goes with being President as if the office was vacant. Next, he questioned President Obama’s integrity, class, patriotism, and intestinal fortitude as consisting of less than 1 percent. No word was said about how these qualities of character should be displayed or not displayed; as far as Taylor is concerned, President Obama does not have them. And if he did have them, how would Taylor measure the 1 percent?
Taylor’s sentence is conditional in that it begins with the word “If” and demands a “then” conclusion to make it effective. So, according to Taylor, if President Obama could meet all the qualifications listed, then he would be at the World War ll Memorial doing what exactly? Well, the Commander in Chief would neglect all his other duties while “…escorting them [the veterans] as they tour the grounds and reminisce about their feats and buddies. He would be thankful for the honor of pushing their wheelchairs.” Taylor definitely shows his understanding and knowledge of how our government works, especially the executive branch.
In his letter (10/12/13), Charles Nichols of Oklahoma City showed his extensive knowledge of politics and the presidency. He stated that “The primary difference between the two parties is that Republicans want a minimum shutdown affecting a few people as possible and the Democrats want a maximum shutdown hurting as many people as possible.” We do not know where Nichols obtained his information, but now we know why there were problems agreeing on reopening the government. Nichols offered more information to support his contentions. He stated that “The proof can be seen by Barack Obama’s action to close down such things as the veterans cemeteries that hurt no one and cost nothing.” Well, now that Nichols has proven his points, we can move along to more serious things like Obama’s lack of religion.
The final letter was written (10/12/13) by Larry Phillips of Walters who believes our society is in trouble because President Obama has no religion and wants to take it away from everybody. Phillips began his letter by stating that “I’ve heard it said that the Obama administration is the most anti-religious of any administration ever. I beg to differ. It’s the most anti-Christian administration ever. It doesn’t seem to be concerned with Islam, Hinduism or any other religion except Christianity.”So, now we see President Obama as the number one anti-Christian, and this information is based on what? We are not told how that information was obtained, but we are given more information. Phillips stated that “It won’t be long before a minister won’t be able to preach the word of God from the pulpit without fear of prosecution.” From where does this information come? Why is it that President Obama always end his speeches with the phrase “God bless America” if has no religion? Wait! Phillips has the answer: “It’s already happened in Canada; we won’t be far behind.” So, we will follow in Canada’s footsteps. At this point in the letter Phillips seem to shift his attention away from President Obama to pass judgment on a number of other concerns: “Political correctness will be the downfall of America. Stating God’s commands will soon be labeled as hate speech, punishable under law. We’re losing our right to free speech in the name of political correctness and our fear of offending someone.” Phillips, evidently, had no fear of offending President Obama. He concluded by stating that “This is no longer a nation under God. We are declining at an alarming rate. It’s time to become spiritual warriors before it is too late.”
In a democratic society, addressing social problems are a constant necessary with which we learn to live. However, the tone reflected in the three letters above indicates a sense of doom and gloom in our President and society. President Obama’s critics seem to see him as a super man or a demon or both. In any event, they seem to think that society will be destroyed because he is President. The concept of our three branches of government seems to be lost on these letter writers who probably represent many more like-thinkers. To them President Obama is the beginning and the ending of all America’s problems. Some have tried to place the blame for the fear and hatred relative to President Obama on the fact that he is a democrat, and some of that is perfectly acceptable, however, thing like integrity, patriotism, intestinal fortitude, and class have little to do with his political identity, but fall directly on his character.
When we take the time to examine these letters carefully, what we discover is that the letter writers are really reflecting their own qualities. They are participating in what psychologists call projection: “to make a thought or feeling seem to have an external and objective reality, especially to ascribe a disturbing personal thought or feeling to others.” The lesson to be learned here is in our passing judgment on others we should be certain to use both knowledge and wisdom: “knowledge knows that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.”
Paul R. Lehman, “Opinion”letter underscores hatred of President, as well as ignorance, arrogance, and bigotryOctober 8, 2013 at 12:08 am | Posted in African American, Bigotry in America, Congress, Disrespect, equality, Ethnicity in America, European American, fairness, justice, Miami Herald, politicians, President, President Obama, Respect for President, rightwing conservatives, The Oklahoman | Leave a comment
Tags: African Americans, bigotry, ethnicity, European Americans, Obama and American Bigotry, politicans, politics, Prejudice, President Obama, Race in America, Ray Cunning, The Oklahoman
President Obama’s critics have done a tremendous job in vilifying him in every way possible. In many instances, no rationale or proof exist for the doom and gloom or fear and anger that is always associated with the mere name of Obama. Pick up almost any newspaper and a negative letter blaming President Obama for everything negative can be found. As an example of this attitude towards President Obama, a letter to the Oklahoman’s “Opinion” page (10-4-13) should surf ice. The letter is from Ray Cunning who writes as if he has empirical data at hand to inform his comments.
Cunning’s letter began with the statement that “This country is tearing itself apart, hammered by President Obama’s top two priorities. He desperately needs ‘accomplishments’ to offset his five-year history of corrupt, destructive failures.” We must assume that Cunning has data to support his claim of corrupt, destructive failures; however, he does not mention a single one. He continued by stating that “To improve his image he’s obsessed with forcing Obamacare on us and pretending that he personally defeated terrorism.” Again, we get information concerning President Obama’s deeds, but no facts to indicate its accuracy or validity. We must remind Cunning that the Affordable Care Act was passed by both the Senate and House of Representatives, signed by the President, and approved by the Supreme Court. No one is forced to sign-up of the coverage, but not doing so will result in a fine, because the people will eventually pay of the health care of the uninsured if they have no coverage.
In addition, the President never said that he defeated terrorism because he knows that this type of violence cannot be met with the same approach used against conventional war efforts. As Commander-in-Chief, President Obama has experienced some success in eliminating a number of individuals that represented threats of terror to America. Whatever the President’s actions were, they did not satisfy Cunning.
The criticism continued with the accusation that “Obama’s multiple false promises of a health care system that does everything for everybody with better and cheaper service is now recognized as a train wreck.” If Cunning had read the paper or watched the television new, he would have been better informed about the healthcare program and the success it has been recording since the sign-up began last week. No data or support for Cunning’s charges were offered. Evidently, he just does not like President Obama.
His gross dislike for President Obama is revealed in his next statement where he continued to fictionalize the negative affects supposedly created by the President: “Now, even those who helped write it are running from it. Anyone with any political connection is screaming for wavers.” Unfortunately, we have no idea of what the subject is here . We can only assume his subject is healthcare. He continued, “Still, politicians openly waste hundreds of billions of dollars, kill millions of jobs and force more to become part time while destroying the greatest health care system ever know, solely to help the worst president in history improve his image.”Again, we have no data to examine or source to which we might refer to validate the charges against President Obama. The anger does, however, seem to increase.
Our objective in examining Cunning’s letter is not to criticize his comments or his attitude towards the President, but to underscore the fact that the charges against the President are made without any data or documented support to justify them. The fact that he does not like President Obama seems to be enough for him to create anything he feels comfortable saying. For example, He noted that President Obama claims to have captured Osama bin Laden himself as support for creating a positive self-image: “Obama’s other ‘image prop’ is his purported, single-handed destruction of Osama bin Laden and ridding our country of danger from terrorism.”Had Cunning wanted the truth, he could have easily consulted any traditional media outlet to get the story. He nevertheless prefers to castigate President Obama with false charges in an attempt to damage his reputation.
Cunning’s next statement shows just how out of touch he is with reality: “He’s [President Obama] now pressuring everybody to lie about future armed attacks. He saw on video the attack on our embassy in Benghazi—as it was happening—and declared it wasn’t terrorism and went to bed leaving four Americans to die.” Why would someone falsify details of an operation except to try and create an image of the President that reflects a lack of compassion, integrity, and patriotism, if he did not hate and /or fear him?
Cunning has tried to paint an image of the President that would and should be repulsive to anyone if it were true. The fact of the matter is that it is not true. All Cunning had to do if he wanted accurate and reliable information is go and investigate the media and read what they had to say about each and every charge he makes against President Obama. If Cunning’s letter was an exception to the ones published on a daily basis in many newspapers across the country, we could say it was one of Presidents critics letting off steam. That, however, is not the case. Day after day vitriolic letters creating a demonic image of President Obama are published to the point that we have to question the sanity of people making unsubstantiated charge. When we take a closer look, we find many of our politicians doing the same things which tells the average citizen that it’s okay to demonize the President.
We must again ask the question why? Why President Obama is disliked so much by people who know very little about him? When we look back over the letters we find the same things consistently—ignorance, arrogance, and bigotry. The only reason left from which to choose is bigotry. Bigots do not want data to help them with their argument, they believe if they said it, then that should be enough. After all, they have some of their politicians baking them up. Their aim is to destroy President Obama ‘s image and legacy by creating and promoting as much false data as possible. As citizens, we have the right to state our opinions whether someone agrees with them or not. What we do not have the right to do, as Cunning certainly should know, is to make -up our own facts.
Tags: African Americans, black, city on a hill, Confronting Myths, European Americans, faith family, faith in america, fellow puritans, inauguration day, John Winthrop, politics, Prejudice, President Obama, religious persecution, ship arbella, U.S. Constitution, washington Times, white
The old saying that “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing” certainly applies to the article “Chipping away at republic” published as an editorial in the Washington Times (1/22/13). The first paragraph insinuates that President Obama does not represent the best interest of America and that “those who still honor the Founders’ vision of America must hold fast to their conviction that our republic will someday stand once again as a “shining city on a hill.” The image does not fit with the reality.
The reference to a “city on a hill” came from a sermon preached on board the ship Arbella to British subjects fleeing religious persecution from the Church of England. The sermon was given by John Winthrop in 1630 to his Puritan followers. The reference to a “city on a hill” was meant to underscore the agreement or covenant Winthrop created between God and his fellow Puritans in reference to what kind of society they would create. The type of government the Puritans had in mind was not a republic or democracy, but a theocracy in which God governed through his preachers; not from elected representatives. So, the reference to a “city on a hill” does not apply to the “vision of America” the founders had in 1776.
The editorial stated that “Though the theme of Inauguration Day 2013 was ‘faith in America’s future,’ the United States has seldom chosen a president more determined to separate the nation from its traditional reverence for faith, family and freedom.” This statement accuses the American people for making a poor choice of Obama as President. The statement also implies that President Obama has neither understanding of nor reverence for the values faith, family and freedom, but makes no attempt to underscore the statement with evidence.
Continuing the comments the editorial noted that “The proposition that individuals ‘are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable right,’ enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, is harder to see in the visions of Mr. Obama’s America where administrative agencies make choices for individuals, even down to the details of dictating the design of everyday household appliances.” Evidently, the editorial writer has a confused vision of what life in a society entails, because where large numbers of people reside in a somewhat confined area, a system of laws for order and organization must be imposed in order for the majority to enjoy as many of the freedoms as possible without infringing the right of the minority. In a republic, elected representatives usually create those laws.
The editorial writer makes the claim that President Obama preventing and obstructing America’s progress by employing a “relentless assault on the U.S. Constitution, the mooring securing the ship of state since its inception.” Again, general charges are made that confound this reader because no evidence or examples are presented to underscore the charges. The writer seems to have a serious dislike of President Obama that is being disguised by these charges. One wonders what parts of the Constitution are being relentlessly assaulted by the President and why are we not protesting them?
We are told that “As a former lecturer on constitutional law, Mr. Obama is well aware that relentlessly chipping away at the founding document’s meaning will tear away the country from a past that once recognized the value of individualism…” What this statement underscores is a lack of knowledge of how government works. President Obama cannot create laws and the means to enforce them; Congress must do both of those acts. As for as the changing or determining the meaning of the Constitution, the Supreme Court has that responsibility, not President Obama. So, what is the foundation of the charges against President Obama regarding the assault on the Constitution?
In reference to “individualism” when the Constitution was written, the only recognized individuals were upper-classed European American males—no minorities or women. If the editorial writer has longings for the past, then specificity must be forth-coming or confusion will dominate the picture created. For example, in the last paragraph of the editorial it stated that “The weakening of faith, family and freedom under Mr. Obama must only strengthen Americans’ resolve to keep their dreams alive until time removes his heavy hand and liberty flourishes once again.”
Both reason and logic took a holiday from this editorial writer as indicated when we examined the comments and charges made against President Obama. For one argument against the editorial, President Obama represents one third of the governing process of America; he is not a king or dictator nor can be under our system of government. He is not at liberty to undo things in the Constitution. The picture painted of our society and the president is one of gloom and doom with no evidence to support either. The editorial writer evidently does not like President Obama for some reason, and that is perfectly fine in our society; that is one of the freedoms we enjoy as citizens. What are not reasonable are the unsupported attacks on President Obama as a means of creating fear and foreboding for the destruction he is supposedly causing in society.
The editorial seems to express a desire to go back to the “good old days” when segregation and discrimination against ethnic minorities and women was in full swing, and the upper-classed European American male ruled the day. Unfortunately, for the editorial writer, those days are gone forever, and the realization of knowing that those days are gone is what has created the pain of loss observable from the comments. The editorial writer has a choice in this matter; the perspective can be positive and forward looking, or can be negative and eat upon itself. Regardless of the choice made, society will continue to change and one will either be a participant or a spectator. One drop of advice to the editorial writer is before making a decision to accuse and attack your president, acquire more information about your country, about its history and form of government. That way when charges and claims are made, they will come from an informed source
Tags: 2nd Amendment, Civil Rights, Congress, Conservatives, current-events, gun control, gun safety, guns and ammunition, manifest destiny, national rifle association, negative stereotype, NRA, Obama and American Bigotry, politics, President Obama, Rep. Markwayne Mullin, Republicans, the Constitution, The Oklahoman
What seems so amazing today is how easily the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the Republicans can dupe so many Americans to believe that The Government is planning to take away their guns. One would think that responsible people would stop and think about what they are being told by the NRA and Republicans before making runs on gun markets.
The NRA and Republicans have used fear and threats of the government/ President Obama making plans to overturn the 2nd Amendment and take away all guns. The fear is created through rumors associated with President Obama and the negative stereotype associated with his being an African American. Many Americans are already uneasy because they see themselves loosing ground as the society and world changes, becoming more diverse. That kind of change is frightening to them because it means that all people will be viewed as being part of the same family, not one superior or inferior. The idea of losing their Manifest Destiny seems too much to take, so they must fight to keep it.
The fear that comes with the rumors about the government taking away all the guns also includes the government taking control of their lives. The government is pictured as some entity apart from the people with great power and strength. The reaction to this entity is to fight it; hence the arms and ammunition. But, pray tell, how does one fight the government with guns and ammunition? What exactly would one be fighting to achieve? We know from past experiences that the government has the power to defeat anyone or thing that stands in it way, so of what good would be gun and ammunition against a government fighting force? The entire idea seems ludicrous and illogical.
The rumor says that The Government will take away the guns, but does not say who in the government will do the honors. If one believes such rumors, then one has to plan how to defend one’s self when attacked. Just how will this defense be accomplished if one does not know how the attack will be presented? What kind of expectations can be imagined after a fight with the government? Will there be a government take over by the fighters? Who will be in charge of directing the action during and after the fight? These questions seem silly simple in the asking; they make no sense in a rational way.
The NRA and The Republican Party have used the election of President Obama as an excuse to push the gun agenda through fear of losing the 2nd Amendment. However, President Obama has never said anything about rejecting the 2nd Amendment or taking away the guns of citizens. What he and other Americans have advocated are gun safety regulations, namely, requiring background checks on all gun sales; reinstating the assault weapons ban; renewing a 10-round limit on the size of ammunition magazines; prohibiting the possession, transfer, manufacture and import of dangerous armor-piercing bullets; new gun trafficking laws penalizing people who help criminals get guns. None of these concerns can be done without Congress’s action. Most people would agree that these items are reasonable and nowhere is there a call for gun control or confiscation. So, we ask, why the panic to rush to buy guns?
Media reports show that after each of Barack Obama’s election to the office of President, a rush to buy guns followed. Why? Was it something that President Obama said that caused fear and panic? News reports show instances where entire stocks of guns in some stores were depleted. In some stories, television viewers saw lines of perspective gun buyers several city blocks long. A number of city police departments have indicated that they encountered difficulty purchasing ammunition because the local suppliers were sold out. The reason for this run on guns can certainly be tied to the misinformation given out by some biased politicians. For example, Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Westville, OK is quotes as stating “The president is politicizing a national tragedy to impose his own personal agenda. This is outrageous and an outright assault on civil liberties. I strongly oppose restricting the rights of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms and will do everything I can to protect our Second Amendment rights.”(The Oklahoma, 1/17/13)
Unfortunately, the problem with comments like those of Mullin is that many people will believe he knows where of he speaks. He does not. Nowhere has President Obama called for changing the 2nd Amendment or controlling guns. This speech is based on fear—unfounded fear.
Actually, what has been going on with the gun issue is quite interesting. At no time during his campaign did President Obama mention doing away with the 2nd Amendment or abridging the rights of citizens to own guns. However, the NRA and Republican Party jumped on this issue right away. Why? Just as the NRA and Republican Party have been manipulating the unsuspecting public about a gun threat that does not exist, the gun and ammunition manufactures have been manipulating the NRA and Republican Party to create this gun crisis. How do we know this is the situation? We follow the money. When lines of gun purchasers measure several city blocks long; when the stock of guns are depleted; when the demand for weapons go up along with the price; when the number of guns and ammunition purchased by individuals increase, who actually benefit from all these conditions?
The gun and ammunition manufactures knew they could capitalize to the fear that Obama, an African American, could have on those Americans who fall prey to the political con artists once he became President. Because of that fear and ignorance, gun and ammunition sales are “well over the top” and guess who is sitting back, laughing at the fools who are madly preparing to fight the government over guns, while they simply count their money and manufacture more guns and ammunition? We do not begrudge them for making money in our capitalistic society. After all, the American capitalistic motto is “never give a sucker an even break.”
Tags: African Americans, black, Colin Powell, Conservatives, current-events, David Gregory, ethnic diversity, ethnic minorities, European Americans, general colin powell, Meet the Press, politics, President Obama, presidential campaigns, republican candidates, Republicans, slavery, white
On Sunday (1-13-13) General Colin Powell was on “Meet the Press,” and spoke with David Gregory about some of the problems with his political party, the Republican Party. General Powell, a former Secretary of State in the last Bush administration, is a well-respected statesmen as well as an African American. Most people listen when Powell talks because he does not generally engage in idly chatter. If anyone witnessed the interview then there is no question about the seriousness of Powell’s comments. He talked about the Republican Party’s identity problem, its shift, its need to be concerned with society’s needs.
The first party problem Powell identified was that of the Party’s identity. He stated that “In recent years, there’s been a significant shift to the right and we have seen what that shift has produced, two losing presidential campaigns. I think what the Republican Party needs to do now is take a very hard look at itself and understand that the country has changed.” In what can be considered constructive criticism, Powell makes the suggestion that the party takes a good look at itself and recognizes the variety and diversity of its membership to see what need to be addressed for a successful future. With the failure of the party in the last two elections, something must be done to correct the problem. Powell even pinpoints the problem regarding the party’s identity: “The country is changing demographically. And if the Republican Party does not change with that demographic, they’re going to be in trouble.”
Powell’s comments come as no surprise since most news pundits as well as ordinary citizens realized that after the elections the majority of minority and women voted for Obama. A number of republicans also noted the lack of support of ethnic Americans for Republican candidates. All Powell was doing was underscoring the problem and challenge his party faces. The lack of ethnic diversity in the Republican Party calls attention to itself.
The shift Powell refers to, meaning to the right, is cause for concern also. Many of the party representatives hold views that show a lack of concern and compassion for the well-being of some of our less-fortunate citizens. Their primary concern seems to be in total support of the rich and powerful at the expense of the working and middle class citizens. All one has to do is look at the record of Congress the last four years for verification of this fact. If the party wants to be successful in the future, according to Powell, it must expand its membership and become more receptive to the middle-class and minorities.
With respect to the party’s identity, Powell stated that it has developed what he called “a dark vein of intolerance” in its perception. For example, when President Obama was first elected, Mitch O’Connell made the statement that the number one objective of the party was to make Obama a one term president. All the efforts of the party since that statement seem to throw support towards that objective. Unfortunately, the first order of business for many of the Republicans was to show disrespect for the President. This show of disrespect became apparent in a variety of ways. Although Powell does not say so directly, his examples show that the disrespect was meant to convey a specific message regarding the President’s ethnicity. Powell mentions the reference made by ex-Governor Palin regarding his “shucking and jiving,” which can only be associated with African Americans and the slavery experience. Another reference made by a republican official after the first Presidential debate to President Obama as seeming to be “lazy,” a term generally associated with a negative stereotype of African Americans, as opposed to some other term. To Powell, these references show a negative and mean-spirited attack on the President’s ethnicity. The birther movement challenged his citizenship in spite of the documentation shared with the public– birth certificates, newspaper birth announcements etc.
Powell also included the party’s negative actions regarding immigration, voter suppression, and general actions underscoring an attitude of intolerance of minorities. Although Powell’s comments were meant to alert his party to many of its problems, the likely-hood of some of the people in his party receiving his comments as constructive criticism is questionable. Some will attack Powell because he spoke at all; some will criticize him of pointing out the problems and challenges; some will condemn his as a turn-coat or a democrat in disguise. In any event, his comments will be met with ungrateful attitudes especially because he is an African American.
Powell sees himself as a mainstream Republican who cares deeply for his party and would like to see it address its many problems. His final comments during the interview underscore that idea:
I think the Party has to take a look at itself. It has to take a look at its responsibilities for health care. It has to take a look at immigration. It has to take a look at those less fortunate than us. The party has gathered unto itself a reputation that it is the party of the rich. It is the party of lower taxes. But there are a lot of people who are lower down the food chain, the economic chain, who are also paying lots of taxes relative to their income, and they need help. We need more education work being done in this country. We need a solid immigration policy. We have to look at climate change.
Chances are the Republicans will over-look Powell’s comments and move ahead with the plans they have in place. After all, they do not have to worry about being re-elected to office since most come from gerrymandered state districts. Some probably see Powell as an unfortunate nuisance.
Tags: African Americans, Artur Davis, black, cnn interview, color bind, Conservatives, current-events, Democrats, European Americans, J. C. Watts, mitt romney, Oklahoma, politics, Prejudice, President Obama, race, racial unity, Republican Party, Stacey Dash, T.W. Shannon, The Oklahoman, Ward Connerly
Some confusion exists in the minds of some people who try to explain the reasons why some African Americans are Republicans. One Opinion writer for The Oklahoman believes they are attacked because they do not reflect “racial unity.” In the article, “Color Bind: Racial unity pledge coming up short,” he states that President Obama “implied that his election would usher in a post-racial era. This hasn’t been the case.” Whether President Obama implied it or not, he has no control of the mind-set of the entire country. The article noted “Consider how black citizens who support Republican Mitt Romney are treated. After actress Stacey Dash tweeted her endorsement of Romney, she was inundated with racist attacks.” The article further noted that “In a CNN interview Dash said she chose Romney ‘not by the color of his skin, but by the content of his character.’” According to the article, Dash is joined in her support of Romney by other African Americans, former U. S. Rep. Artur Davis, Ward Connerly, J.C. Watts, and T.W. Shannon. The point missed by the “Opinion writer” is that the color of the candidate has nothing to do with the complaints made against these people –it is their choice of party—republican.
For an African American to join and support the Republican Party today, he or she must have little or limited knowledge of the party’s history since the early 1950’s. Knowledge of the Republican Party beginning with the 1950’s will reveal a story that shows just how unaccommodating the party has been to African Americans. Once known as the party of Lincoln, the Republicans changed their views towards African Americans during and following Reconstruction. The belief among European Americans in general, but especially in the South, was that the government would never make any ethnic group equal to them. When the public schools were desegregated many Southern democrats started to change their political party to republican. Many European Americans in the Republican Party believed that the African American was to be always a second-class citizen. So, armed with that information, one wonders why an African American knowing the history of the party would join it.
For an African American to join and support the Republican Party, he or she must not have any knowledge of the civil rights struggle waged by the African Americans to gain basic rights. They need to know that the Republican did not support any form of civil rights legislation that included the court decisions from Brown v Topeka to the fair housing act or even the Lily Ledbetter Act. At every juncture where African Americans have tried to gain first-class citizenship, the Republican Party has been against it. So, again, one wonders why an African American would want to support a party with such a record. This party has never been afraid to show its biases. All one has to do is look at the many instances where some of its representatives have tried to denigrate President Obama, not because of his party affiliations, but because of his ethnicity.
What should be apparent to many Americans today is the battle being waged in society and politics has to do with human rights, everything from Affirmative Action to voting rights, and workers’ rights. When we check to see who is behind the efforts to deny American rights, we learn that much of it come from representatives of the Republican Party. They believe that when ethnic Americans gain rights, they lose something, so they fight anyway the can for the status quo.
Again, why would an African American want to be associated with a party that wants to deny him or her basic rights? The article made the following suggestion: “The caucus [African American] tacitly acknowledges that black officials enjoy greater opportunity in the Republican Party. This has been the case in Oklahoma, where J. C. Watts won a statewide office (corporation commissioner) and a U.S. House seat.” The article also noted that “State Rep. T.W. Shannon, R-Lawton, is expected to become the first black speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives next month. Both have won the support of voters who don’t share Shannon racial background but do share his conservative values.”
Yes, and that, of course, is part of the reason for African Americans being in the Republican Party—the recognition and opportunity to progress as individuals. Notice that the emphasis on African American republicans is on the individual, not the people. In effect, some African Americans join the Republican Party knowing they will be exploited, but also knowing they too can exploit the party. Many of the visual African American republicans can be conceived of as “watch pocket” republicans because they only come out when the need is there. For a while, J.C. Watts was the hottest ticket in Washington, D.C.; the fourth highest ranking republican. But what degree of power and/or influence did he have? When the word came out that Tom Delay, the third highest ranking republican in the House was thinking about a move up, Watts thought he would simply move up also. Unfortunately, and presumably when Delay heard of Watts’s possible plan, he changed his mind about moving up, and remained in his position. . Being very visual but having no power evidently did not sit well with Watts; he did not run for re-election.
Republicans enjoy having “watch pocket” African Americans in the party because any time there is a charge of bigotry or ethnic bias, they can go to their pocket and pull one out to show that any accusations of bigotry or biases is completely false. They can pull one out to show and tell “they have one!” Many Americans, African Americans included pause to take note of African Americans who join and support the Republican Party because they know that anyone with common knowledge about the history of today’s Republican Party, and its relationship to the civil rights movement would reflect better judgment in their choice. That is, unless there is a payoff for them.
The “Opinion writer” thinks that African American republicans are being criticized for not supporting Obama and “Racial unity,” because of their obvious ethnicity. However, the real reason is because their sense of logic and rational thinking is being questioned. Why would a drowning man ask for a glass of water? To many people, that is exactly what African American republicans resemble.
Tags: 2012 election, African Americans, barack obama, Birthers, black, conservative elements, Conservatives, current-events, Democrats, European Americans, fear, GOP, hate, language geography, majority society, political conventions, politics, Prejudice, President Clinton, President Obama, Republicans, slavery in america, the right, Victor Davis Hanson, white
When Barack Obama was elected President of the United States of America, conservative elements of the GOP went into shock. All their plans and victories at the local, state, and nation levels were now in question because the totally unexpected had happened. Never in their lifetime did these conservatives believe America would elect an African American for president. So, after the shock wore off and even before Obama made it to the Oval Office, they gathered together to plan how to undo the damage to their master plan by getting rid of Obama.
Whether one considers Obama’s ethnicity or political party the reason for the GOP‘s wanting him to be removed, the fact still remained that he must be removed. Part of the problem resided in the fact that Obama won the election, a phenomenon that was never supposed to happen. What went wrong? Some people believed that the country suffered a brief period of insanity because people in their “right mind” would have never elected an African American President. So what is the reason behind wanting to remove Obama from office? Part of the answer lies in what Obama represents rather than Obama the individual.
When Africans were introduced into slavery in America, the image of the slave as property had to be established, maintained and promoted in order for the system to operate effectively. The first order of this business was to strip away any and all human and personal worth of the African slave. This effort was made effective by removing any vestiges of the slave’s former life and history and remaking him as a less-than-human thing or property. His names, Negro, black, slave, etc… give no indication of a language, geography, culture. All his new names placed him in the system of slavery, and the only value he exhibited was either via work or the market place (auction block). His being represented nothing that the majority society viewed as deserving respect or value.
Although the idea of democracy as stated in America’s “Declaration of Independence” 1776, declared that “all men were created equal,” nevertheless, America forgot to include the African Americans and other slaves as men in the 1787 “Constitution.” They were listed as “three fifths,” a person. The problem that resulted from these concepts of democracy and slavery juxtaposed created two additional concepts: 1, many Americans knew that African/African Americans were human being like themselves, but was made less so by society, not God or biology. 2, Many Americans accepted the concept of African/African Americans being less than human regardless of the fallacy. Although Americans in both the North and South shared in both concepts, more Americans in the North accepted the 1st concept while the majority in the South shared the 2nd. Today, the two concepts are represented in politics with the Democrats identified with the 1st concept, and the GOP representing the 2nd.
Since the Civil War, the two concepts of the African American have been germane to the progress of American society as represented in the various Civil Rights Acts. Unfortunately, laws do not change individual concepts, so although society though government and science has attempted to correct the injustice and fallacy, many people hold on to the 2nd concept religiously. Their reason for holding on to the concept is based in fear of losing their place of prominence in society. That is, if the African Americans are equal to all people, then they, the people representing the 2nd concept, are less than privileged—they lose value.
So, when Obama was elected President, the GOP felt the immediate blow to their belief system and social status. Damage control had to be the first order of business. The objective they set regarding Obama was to make him appear totally unfit to be President by any means necessary. The efforts to discredit him as inept did not work, so they took another approach, to make him not one of us—someone alien, not American, a foreigner. That campaign is still in progress. In addition to not being American, these critics accused President Obama of being a socialist, communist, Muslim, and a host of other things that might cause him to appear unfavorable.
With a continuous barrage of negative charges against President Obama, the GOP believes they can convince enough people to their way of thinking in order to defeat President Obama in the election. The fact that Obama, an African American, is President is a reality the GOP cannot accept, not because of Obama personally, but because of what he represents—a changing America. The change that is taking place in America is a change that takes away the prestige, privilege, and power that was once associated with being European American (white). The battle now is for the GOP to try and forestall as much change as possible; hence, the phrase “we need to take back our country.” Because Obama represents change, he also represents the enemy, and the enemy must be destroyed. Former President Bill Clinton said during his speech at the Democratic Convention words that address the problem: “Though I often disagree with Republicans, I never learned to hate them the way the far right that now controls their party seems to hate President Obama and the Democrats.” Hate seems to be the fuel that propels their actions.
We should not think that the battle against Obama is weakening. Obama’s election to President did more than indicate a positive change in America, it also brought to light the many bigots that were hiding behind façades. One irony that was created by the election campaign includes European Americans who say they differ with Obama’s politics, but get accused of being biased against him. Their complaint is similar to the African Americans who get accused of voting for Obama only because he is African American. When the GOP declared war against Obama being re-elected, they colored the field with prejudice, so identifying the European Americans who simply differ with Obama’s politics get caught in the mix. Sorry.
Many members of the GOP believe strongly that their party will be victorious in this election. One commentary by Victor Davis Hanson compared the election to the classic story “The Tortoise and the Hare,” with Obama being the hare. He stated that “The country is also not quite ready to confess that it went a little crazy in 2008 and voted for the embarrassing banalities of ‘hope and change’ offered by a little-known senator with a thin resume and little national experience.” He continued by offering some scenarios that might befall Obama and Romney and concluded with “Barring a real recovery or sudden war, the steady, plodding Romney tortoise is ever so slowly winning the race against the flashier—surging, yet always fading—Obama hare.”
So now the country “went a little crazy” for voting Obama into office because it was duped by his con game. Maybe this time around the country will “go a little sane” and look at the issues and elect the best man for the job. In any event, a change is coming, and any change that diminishes hate is a good change.
Tags: African Americans, Clint Eaastwood, different strokes for different folks, entertainment, European Americans, film critic roger ebert, Hollywood, media, oscars, politics, Prejudice, President Obama, Republican Convention, Republicans, sly and the family stone, subjective intrepretation, The Daily Beast
The classic song by Sly and the Family Stone “Everyday People” has a line that states “Different strokes for different folks,” and this line came to mind when reading the various reactions to Clint Eastwood’s appearance at the Republican National Convention. Those reactions revealed a world of differences among people who witnessed the same event but came away with different reactions. Regardless of the many reactions, Eastwood’s performance showed ignorance, stupidity, and arrogance.
The reference to Eastwood’s performance being ignorant is an assessment of him not knowing what was expected of him at that time. In effect, appearing before the audience during prime time carried a certain degree of importance to the organizers of the convention. Their expectations included a boost in support for their candidate by this famous movie personality. Evidently, no one told Eastwood about the expectations, so he went on stage and improvised for twelve minutes with an empty chair. For the organizers of the convention, television time, especially prime time, was important for the party to get its message out to as many viewers as possible, so to have twelve minutes during prime time go for naught was not an effect use of time. According to some reports, Eastwood did not inform anyone as to what his plans were nor did anyone from the convention meet with him before his entrance on stage with the chair. So, the reference to ignorance points to a lack of information by Eastwood and the people responsible for the stage participants. Because no one knew what to expect from Eastwood, everyone was surprised by his performance.
Eastwood’s performance as reported by theDaily Beast.com offered a sampling of remarks from a number of people. For example, Todd McCarthy, a critic for The Hollywood Reporter said “It was very bizarre.” He added that “To see this wackier thing happen is not in line with his super-cool personality that we’re used to.” Film critic Roger Ebert noted that “Clint, my hero, is coming across as sad and pathetic.” Ben Affleck noted that “Even though I disagree with his politics, I’ve seen far more boring speeches in my day.” Many other comments were given and they all represented a variety of reactions that reflected the uniqueness of the individuals.
To say that Eastwood’s performance showed stupidity would be an understatement in light of the time and place he presented it. Since no one but Eastwood knew what was going to happen, no one was prepared for it. Since no one was prepared for it, time was wasted in the viewers trying to grasp just what was happening. If Eastwood was to use his celebrity to enhance Romney’s candidacy, he selected an ineffective avenue of approach to accomplish it. One must ask the question “what was the payoff in the performance? Everyone witnessed the same spectacle of Eastwood on stage talking to an empty chair. Each individual had the opportunity to draw his or her conclusion about what was witnessed and it effectiveness. To many people, it was thought to be stupid and a wasted of time.
Some time after Eastwood’s performance we learned that he arrived at the convention about fifteen minutes before he was to go on stage. He had no prepared speech or notes with him. Just before he walked on stage he asked one of the stage workers to give him a chair. He walked on stage with the chair and proceeded to start a dialogue with an imaginary President Obama. These actions reflect an arrogance that defies logic and just plain common sense, not to mention disrespect and absurdity. The show of arrogance comes from the willingness to assume to berate the President of the United States like a child being given a “time out”, for whatever reason. Why would any person believe that placing any president in that position would garner respect from the performer? The effort indicated a total disrespect for the office of the President and a lack of understanding of how both he and the imaginary President might be perceived.
In adding insult to injury, Eastwood impugned the integrity of the President by engaging in a dialogue that suggested the President used profanity in making a reference to Mitt Romney. This action was totally out of place and inappropriate for Eastwood. However, we must assume that he felt comfortable in doing it because of his celebrity that places him about regular folk and gives him license to do things regular folks cannot or would not do. We still wonder about the purpose of the performance and the effect it was supposed to have on the viewers. We wonder if Eastwood was affecting a character from one of his many films or was he being himself. Either way, his lack of respect for the office of the President reflected poorly on him.
Some people might question the reasons for criticizing Eastwood and /or his performance since it only involved him having a conversation with a chair. His performance can be and was taken on a variety of levels and depending on the interpretation of the individuals and how they viewed the action and words, an assessment was made. The statement “Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder” provides an example of subjective interpretation, meaning that the criteria for making a judgment comes from the beholder. That being the case, we can understand how some people might have interpreted Eastwood’s performance as a biased attempt to denigrate, disrespect, and dishonor President Obama, to “put him in his place” which meant an African American, regardless of his position, below and behind this European American celebrity.
Since subjective interpretation rests with the individual, we can simply go back to the words of the song to underscore the reality of “Different strokes for different folks. And so forth, and so on….”