Paul R. Lehman,Gingrich code words try to hide bigotry and hateOctober 9, 2010 at 9:41 pm | Posted in American Bigotry | 2 Comments
Tags: conservitive christians, food stamps, Gingrich, President Obama, the poor, welfare
Ever since the civil rights days of the 60’s code words have been used by bigots to try and hide their prejudices. Instead of stating clearly and frankly to what and to whom they were referencing, they would use words that fit neatly into a stereotypical image of non-European American ethnic groups. For example, the words “welfare recipient” would be used to make a reference to African Americans of low social and economic status who have been painted as the primary recipients of welfare. The suggestion underlining this image is that these people are lazy and would prefer a government handout to a steady job. So, the reference to people on welfare today and especially food stamp recipients are coded references to African Americans. Other coded words such as “real Americans,” anti-abortionists,” and “Christian conservatives,” are all used to indicate biased European Americans. The coded word regarding welfare recipients have surfaced recently with a definite purpose in mind—to separate the African Americans from the European Americans at the election polling place.
Newt Gingrich is heading an effort to make the coming election one that offers the voters a choice of African Americans or European Americans running the government. He accomplishes this effort by using a simple phrase “more food stamps? Or more paychecks?” The images these words are geared to produce are ones of lazy, unethical, free-loading, no or low morals, blacks (African Americans) who simply want the government to support them. The other image is one of hard-working, high morals, God-fearing, patriotic, European American. So, if given the choice, who would best serve the interest of America? Of course, the phrase is loaded, but so are the images.
According the Gingrich, the Republican candidates would be best served by running a campaign of fear, and he has created this philosophy of “paychecks versus food stamps” to help them convince the American people that these are the only choices available to them. The candidates are encouraged to use the Bush tax cuts and the unemployment figures as evidence that the Obama administration will not help them by cutting their taxes and the natural results will be more job loss. Many Americans are aware of the facts that Obama wants to extend the tax cuts to all Americans making 250.000 a year or less, and that the job market is getting better in the private sector. As far jobs in the public, because of a lack of money being made available by the banks, the job market is slow to respond to the major losses. Most economists agree, however, that the country is on the right track for improvement, but that will take time.
If Gingrich was focusing his attention just on the poor and unemployed in America, he could have selected a more representative phrase to encompass the entire social-economic group, but instead, he chose the term “food stamps” to bring to mind African Americans and the negative images of African American people getting something for nothing at the expense of hard-working European Americans. What makes this image so effective is that many European Americans are also unemployed and struggling to make ends meet. So, when they are lead to believe that African Americans are getting their support free from the government, they get angry.
Republican candidates can capitalize on European American fear and anger not to vote them into office but to make financial contributions to their campaigns. After all, common sense tells us that more European Americans receive welfare and food stamps than African Americans simply because there are more of them. That fact is lost in the call to biases of us versus them that Gingrich creates. What is lost in this strategy of Gingrich is the lack of compassion for the poor Americans regardless of their ethnicity. He is joined by other Republicans who pay little regard to the poor and value them even less.
In a recent article from http://www.dailyfinance,by Sarah Gilbert she focuses on Gingrich’s campaign philosophy and includes the statement that “The poor aren’t paying for the campaigns, so it’s OK to use them as scapegoats when you trumpet your ‘closing argument’ for the 2010 election. Newt Gingrich may realize this ad hominem argument [to the man] is a logical fallacy: If it works, no one will care.”
One must give Newt credit for knowing how to manipulate people for a particular objective. He tells candidates that they should simultaneously use the very people they exploit by fear and anger directed towards African Americans, to contribute to the campaigns for people who couldn’t care less about them. When did poor Americans stop being worthy of care and compassion? Are we a society of people who care simply for people who can do something for us? That seems to be the sentiment expressed by Mr. Gingrich and the advice he is giving to his Republican officer seekers. “Food stamps or paychecks” is a catchy phrase, but with the economy in the shape it is today, the transition from one side to the other is not a just a matter of choice for some people; it is a matter of survival.