Paul R. Lehman, Gingrich choice of words for Obama shows bias and fearSeptember 19, 2010 at 12:10 am | Posted in Bigotry in America, Race in America | 2 Comments
Tags: American protest and prejudice, Birthers, Gingrich, Obama and American Bigotry, the right
Why would a respected former congressman refer to President Obama as a Kenyan, anti-colonialist, and even a con man? That is actually what Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House, said of Obama recently during a televised interview. Make no mistake about it; Gingrich knew just what he was doing when he selected those words to characterize the President. He capitalized on the negative political atmosphere he has helped to promote. His comments were meant to discredit the president as an American, to spread fear among the people about the President’s political philosophy, and to convince the people that they were duped by a confidence man.
When Gingrich referred to President Obama as a Kenyan, he was connecting with the people who claim that Obama is not an American citizen, the “Birthers.” In spite of all the evidence to the contrary, many Americans want to believe that Obama is not a citizen, therefore, he should not be president or even eligible for the office. The obvious reason for this attitude is plain and simple bigotry. Call it politics if you will, but the facts are that these Obama critics are against him because of his ethnicity. No other president’s citizenship has been called into question except for Obama. The media has produced newspaper accounts of Obama’s birth in Hawaii as well as copies of his birth certificate to prove that he is an American citizen. This information is rejected by the “Birthers.” They want to keep the flames of criticism against Obama burning hot and bright. Gingrich knows the power of this negative criticism and decided to tap into it. One reason for this attitude is to continue to keep the doubt in the minds of some of the critics; to feed the hunger of those who consider Obama an alien.
In addition to Gingrich wanting to continue the criticism and fear of some Americans concerning Obama, he wants to underscore the fear of these people by making a reference to a political philosophy—anti-colonialist. Just what this means is never made clear by Gingrich, but the mere suggestion of something not sounding American is enough to set off anyone looking for a reason to reject Obama. Most Americans know that we were once a colony and that our Declaration of Independence show that we are anti-colonialists. But Gingrich also knows that the people looking for justification to reject the President will latch on to any information to try and prove their point, so he stresses that recognizing this mind-set of Obama helps to predict his behavior. Now the Obama critics are armed with a new (old) term with which to characterize Obama’s brand of anti-American politics. How very right of Gingrich to provide that service to his supporters.
The most serious and dastardly criticism Gingrich makes of Obama questions his honesty and integrity; he states “This is a person [Obama] who is fundamentally out of touch with how the world works, who happened to have played a wonderful con, as a result of which he is now president.” So now we come to the meat of Gingrich’s point regarding Obama, his citizenship, his political philosophy, and now his character. He states that “I think he worked very hard at being a person who is normal, reasonable, moderate, bipartisan, transparent, accommodating—none of which was true.” Gingrich sees Obama as a flawed person who is an alien, anti-American, dishonest, obsessed, irrational con-man who duped literally millions of people to elect him president. Now the Obama critics can sink their teeth into something concrete against Obama when they cry about wanting to take their country back. Newt doesn’t say to where the country will be taken or how it will be taken.
Raising the emotions and spirits of angry people is one thing, but an objective must be in place as a focal point to strive to accomplish. What is missing from the nonsense of Gingrich is where is this talk leading the people? The people need to be able to articulate just what the problems are and how they should go about correcting them collectively. Criticism of the policies of the President at the mid-point of his term makes about as much sense as asking a brain surgeon half-way through the operation if the operation is a success. No one will know until the surgery is complete. People might disagree with choice to have surgery in the first place, but that is why people are in positions to help make those decisions. We can certainly argue the pros and cons of the policy after it has been given time to work, but to complain about it before then is foolhardy.
Gingrich’s uncomplimentary comments and characterization of Obama are not the first nor will they be the last to try and create fear and doubt about our President and the direction in which he is taking our country. Instead of relying so heavily on what people say about this or that policy, people need to become better informed about things that will affect them directly, then, make an educated decision. Regardless of one’s politics, knowing what is being proposed and its effect on our society in the short and long run of things just makes sense. When people yell that they want the government out of their lives do they really know what they are asking? If they were to start listing the things that our government actually does for us, they might arrive at a different conclusion. Statements that sound like bumper stickers, for example, “take our country back” make no sense since no one knows who is suppose to do the talking, and where it is to be taken. Another statement, “government spending is out of control” does not identify any specifics about government spending. When the people become responsible for the government, then the government can be made to be responsible to the people. As long as this negative and critical attitude relative to the President and the country exists, and supposedly responsible people like Gingrich continue their campaign of fear and hate, American will not realize its potential of being the land of freedom and justice for all.