Paul R. Lehman, National election shows that prejudice and hatred are alive and well in America

November 7, 2010 at 9:49 pm | Posted in American Bigotry, Ethnicity in America, Race in America | 1 Comment
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When the leader of the GOP says that their top goal is to make Obama a 1-term president, we have little choice but to believe him. Sen. Mitch McConnell left no doubt in the minds of the American people that the GOP will do nothing that appears to help Obama, even if their actions will hurts the rest of the country. Whether one considers the reason to be Obama’s ethnicity or his political party the GOP’s objective is the same—get rid of Obama.

Since day one of Obama’s election he has been the target of the GOP. Why? First, and foremost, is that they do not respect him as a person and especially as the leader of our country. However, to state the reasons publically would cast a light of prejudice on them, so, they resist it. What they do instead is attack everything he says and does in a manner that forces him to defend himself continuously. Of course, if he chooses to defend himself, he simply opens the door for more accusations; the game becomes a Catch-22.

Shortly after Tuesday’s election McConnell reiterated the GOP’s objective of making Obama a one-term President. His reasons for this wish is because Obama does not follow the wishes of the GOP, but chooses to try and run the government in a rational, logical, and practical way that benefits the working and poor Americans. The GOP will have none of this foolishness. McConnell says that “…if our primary legislative goals are to repeal and replace the health spending bill; to end the bailout; cut spending; and shrink the size and scope of government, the only way to do all these things is to put someone in the White House who won’t veto any of these things.” In other words, the GOP has said that it is their way or no way.

Tuesday’s election showed in many instances that the politics of rejection works, even if it works against the people who voted for it. In Oklahoma, for example, the Republican candidates did not have to run on issues against their opponents; they ran only against Obama. They ran the table in winning all the Republican offices from “governor to dog catcher.”The state’s largest newspaper, The Oklahoman, stated that “Republican legislative leaders were ecstatic Wednesday by posting record gains in both chambers after several Democratic incumbents were knocked out of office by a buzz saw named President Barack Obama.”Please take note of the statement relative to why the candidates won—they ran against Obama!

The newspaper article (11/5/10) continued by stating that “People were voting against Barack Obama and (House Speaker) Nancy Pelosi,” said Rep. Glen Bud Smithson, D-Sallisaw, who lost his bid for a fifth term.” The mention of Pelosi was just to fill space. The real reason according to Smithson is that “The candidate really didn’t matter. They were voting Republican because they hate our President.”So, as far as this candidate was concerned, voting republican was a hate vote to hurt Obama. Why do they hate Obama? Evidently, the hate does not come from his party affiliations but from his ethnicity. Had it come from his party affiliations then there would have been specific issues presented for addressing. None were mentioned.

So for those who want to downplay the ethnicity issue and focus on the party partisanship, what happens when nothing regarding the arguments on issues is presented? What are we left with as reason for the hatred? The only logical reason comes from slavery’s legacy—the African American’s lack of positive value. One of the most important historians of the Reconstruction period was William A. Dunning who saw this period as a failure. His sentiments regarding the freeing of the slaves were based on their being the reason for the war. After of the war the freedmen were used as a form of punishment for the South and its pro-slavery sympathizers. In any event, anger and fear of the pro-slavery the South relative to the freedmen was created and housed in the Democratic Party.

The mixture of fear and anger originated during the Reconstruction period because of the various acts that gave privileges to the Freedmen. Dunning (Essays on The Civil War And Reconstruction 1897) states that, “Enfranchisement of the blacks was to accompanied by disfranchisement of the whites. Not that distinctions of color were embodied by express term in the laws; nothing so invidious would have been tolerated at that date, and nothing of the kind was necessary.” The rationale of the South was that when the freedmen (African Americans) were given something by the government, something was taken away from the Southern European American. To be more explicit about the South’s and it pro-slavery sympathizers regarding their feelings towards the freedmen Dunning adds that “It was thought that the anticipated evils of the black vote might perhaps be mitigated by giving all the whites an equal part in politics; and doubtless some felt that the imposition of negro suffrage and the prospect of negro domination constituted a sufficient punishment for the leaders in rebellion.”

The fear and anger of African Americans in positions of political leadership has long been a concern of some European Americans. The South and its pro-slavery Sympathizers felt right after the Civil War that the rights and privileges given to the African Americans was a form of punishment for them. The fear of the Southern European Americans was so great that they created in the various states law known as “The Black Codes” to keep total control of the freedmen. The Republican Party during that time was the champion of the freedmen, along with President Lincoln. They were able to pass the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments. The Democrats were more concerned with states’ and individual’s rights and keeping control of the freedmen. Everything changed in 1964 when the Democratic President, Lyndon B. Johnson signed the 1964 Civil Rights bill. What that bill did was to remove, by law, anything that could be used by the European Americans as privilege over not only African Americans, but also all ethnic Americans. The Republican Party took up the mantle of saving the privilege and prestige of the European Americans, so the South began to move to the Republican Party and many of the southern Democrats joined them. In essence, the parties switched roles with the Democrats becoming the people’s party and the GOP representing those citizens who worked towards restoring the privileges and prestige the European Americans enjoyed prior to civil rights.

Today, the references to Washington bailouts, Obama care, out of control spending, and the Democratic Party by the Republicans are all camouflaged phrases that simply means President Obama. The hate and fear are not hidden from the American citizens. What is obvious is as Smithson stated concerning Tuesday election in Oklahoma, “The candidates really didn’t matter. They were voting Republican because they hate our president.”

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  1. You’ve said it many times, the laws so boldly signed by Johnson (who was horrified by the conditions of poor hispanics in Katula, Texas as a young teacher there)may have created more opportunity, but the problem of prejudice remains. But as the Haters continue to push there agenda, at the expense of whoever and whatever gets in their way, I beleive the results will be just like those TV cameras in the 60’s showing fire hoses being turned on civil rights protestors. American will be forced once again to take a look at itself without the fancy make up. It was’t pretty then, it isn’t pretty now.


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