Paul R. Lehman, Group identity, not Party, the key to Republican victory

November 10, 2014 at 5:54 pm | Posted in American history, American Racism, Civil War, Congress, democracy, Democrats, entitlements, equality, European American, lower class, minority, political tactic, politicians, poor, President, President Obama, Race in America, Republican Party, socioeconomics, the Republican Party, upper class, whites | 1 Comment
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The results of the recent election came as a surprise to many people because they thought that many of the issues touched the lives of enough people until they would go to the poles and cast their votes in support of the people who would look out for their best interest. Unfortunately, in many instances, that was not the case and many people were disappointed. Had they given serious thought to what has been taking place recently in politics relative to history and group dynamics, they would have not been surprised.
What were at stake in this election were not so much the issues, but the survival of the group—the conservative European Americans (whites) against change. With the creation of a white race, the ruling class of Anglo-Saxons also made manifest certain beliefs, attitudes and conditions that would represent aspects of the race (group). Regardless of the numerous aspects of group membership, loyalty, dedication, and unity were required under any condition, even loss of personal goods, property and religious practices. So, the importance and protection of group membership was understood to be the top priorities from the beginning. For European Americans, loosing their white identity would be like excommunication from the church or being shunned from the family. For some European Americans, having a white identity was/is the only thing of social value they have.
Since the election of Barack Obama as President, the wheels were set in motion to eliminate and discredit him. We all can recall the words of Sen. Mitch O’Connell before Obama had taken office to prevent him another term. We can also recall the affect that attitude had on the Congress that led to it being referred to as the “Congress of No.” What was not made clear to the public was why this negative attitude and disrespect towards the new President was necessary. The answer is change; Obama’s election as an African American signaled a change in the group dynamics of America’s social structure. The social value of African Americans had never been a real concern for European Americans since they created, represented, promoted and controlled the “white race” and its standards of normalcy. That normalcy included only European Americans in the group. Obama represented a threat to the group’s unity.
The plan set in motion for the recent election followed the plan in effect since Obama’s election—blame him for everything, and praise him for nothing. In essence, Obama was made the target and represented evil, doom, destruction, despair, and of course, change. His name was to become synonymous with everything that can and does go wrong in society and the world. When anything occurred in society, Obama critics found a way to place the blame on him: problems with immigration, border security, foreign policy, the national debt, climate changes, Ebola, and a host of other things. So, when the recent election ads began to show up, no one was surprised that Obama was who the candidates were running against. The office the candidates were running for were not really of consequence, the party identity was the most important concern, and the code word for unity was Obama.
To underscore the point that group unity was the most important concern of the Republican Party we have only to look at the campaign advertisements of the candidates. Regardless of the office the candidate was running for, the important code word—Obama was found in it. The reference to Obama in the ads was not necessarily directed to Obama but the candidate’s affiliation with Obama and/or his policies or actions. This plan of making Obama the target was not only used on the national level, but also in state and local elections.
The importance of group unity took precedence over common sense issues as in the case of a number of states including Kansas, Arkansas, and Nebraska where the minimum wage issue was on the ballet and passed. However, the candidates who were against this issue were voted into office. The irony in these cases cannot be avoided—why would a citizen vote against his or her own best interest on one hand and for it on the other? The answer seems to be that group loyalty takes priority over personal interest.
In addition to the republicans holding to their group unity plan, even a number of Democratic candidates chose group loyalty over political party membership. In a number of races on both national and state level some democratic candidates distanced themselves from President Obama; they did not want their constituents to think that they supported Obama. They wanted to show their group members that they were still part of the group although they represented a different political party. They knew that the battle for their group was not so much the election victory, but the group victory to hold off social change.
What many of the voters never realize is the fact that they have been and continue to be exploited by the ruling class or “Titans” of their group. According to Theodore W. Allen, author of The Invention of the White Race, this group of poor and working class European American people who vote against their own best interest are used as:
“the Great Safety Valve, the system of racial privileges conferred on laboring-class European-Americans, rural and urban, poor and exploited though they themselves were. That has been the main historical guarantee of the rule of the ‘Titans,’ damping down anti-capitalist pressures by making ‘race, and not class, the distinction in social life.’ This more than any other factor, has shaped the ‘contours of American history.”
For Allen, the plan of the ruling class of Anglo-Saxons has always been to keep an actual gap between themselves and the lesser member of the group while exploiting them, but making them believe that their membership in the group offered them a feeling of superiority over other non-European groups—that is their reward in exchange for their votes.
Another irony of American politics occur when African Americans are accused of using the so-called race card to gain somewhat of an advantage over an opponent; the fact of the matter is that whenever the race card is brought into play, the European Americans benefit because race is a code word used to marshal their safety valve—group members.

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Paul R. Lehman, We are not coming back, says Rabbi Pruzansky, because of Obama.

October 7, 2014 at 8:22 pm | Posted in African American, American Dream, American history, Congress, democracy, Democrats, discrimination, employment, entitlements, Equal Opportunity, Ethnicity in America, European American, fairness, freedom of speech, identity, integregation, liberty, life, lower class, Medicare, minority, politicians, poor, President Obama, Respect for President, state Government, upper class | 1 Comment
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In a recent article entitled “We Are Not Coming Back,” by Rabbi Steven Pruzansky, a Jewish Rabbi from Teaneck, New Jersey, he laments the state of affairs in America and places the blame on President Barack Obama, totally disregarding facts, history, Congress, and common logic. His article appeared in The Israel National News. We will take a look at this article in an effort to enlighten the Rabbi.
The claim the Rabbi makes via Obama’s election is that “We are not coming back.” What specifically does he mean? Where would we come back to? Times when we had dirt roads, when women could not vote, when we had outdoor toilets, back when Jews and other lesser Americans were being discriminated against? Because the article begins with an illogical statement, we can safely assume that the remainder will be opinions and conjecture regarding the state of affairs. We are not disappointed in that respect when the Rabbi noted that Mitt Romney lost the presidential election because he did not get enough votes, but then added:” That might seem obvious, but not for the obvious reasons. Romney lost because the conservative virtues – the traditional American virtues – of liberty, hard work, free enterprise, private initiative and aspirations to moral greatness – no longer inspire or animate a majority of the electorate.” He does not include justice, fairness, charity, compassion, care for the poor and helpless in his virtues—things that America is known for around the world and at home.
The reason he gave for Romney’s loss to Obama “was because it is impossible to compete against “free stuff.”Under ordinary circumstances we might give him the benefit of the doubt, but he began to employ code words of the right-wing conservatives that point an accusing finger to people of color as well as poor people as villains rather than victims:
Every businessman knows this; that is why the “loss leader” or the giveaway is such a powerful marketing tool. Obama’s America is one in which free stuff is given away: the adults among the 47,000,000 on food stamps clearly recognized for whom they should vote, and so they did, by the tens of millions; those who – courtesy of Obama – receive two full years of unemployment benefits (which, of course, both disincentivizes looking for work and also motivates people to work off the books while collecting their windfall) surely know for whom to vote. The lure of free stuff is irresistible.
What the Rabbi fails to point out is that long before Obama, President Reagan attacked the unions in an effort to destroy them—he fired 11,000 Air Traffic controllers. In addition, he made it easy for businesses to file reorganization bankruptcy which caused workers to loose their salaries, employment benefits, retirements, and health benefits, along with other perks. Add to these conditions in the workforce, the introduction of NAFTA. In addition to the jobs that were lost through union busting and bankruptcy, many employers started to move their businesses outside of America, thereby displacing thousands of working Americans.
We certainly recognize that some people will play any system that is created to help people in need, but to characterize all the people needing food stamps and unemployment insurance as recipients of “free stuff” are un-American. A worker cannot receive unemployment insurance unless he or she has worked and contributed to the insurance fund through the employer. So, what is society to do with the American citizens who are in need? Ignore them? That is not who we are as a society.
We also noted that the Rabbi did not mention the “free stuff” the government gave to the banks, corporations, and industries, while the Congress failed to pass a minimum wage. Even one of the world’s riches men, Warren Buffet, complained that his secretary paid more income tax than he.
So, according to the Rabbi, the “giveaways” and “free stuff” represent the first reason for Romney’s defeat. He added that Obama’s actions also helped to point out the second reason: “That engenders the second reason why Romney lost: the inescapable conclusion that the electorate is ignorant and uninformed. Indeed, it does not pay to be an informed voter, because most other voters – the clear majority – are unintelligent and easily swayed by emotion and raw populism.”Although this comment was meant for liberals and democrats, it also represents the people who continue to vote against their own best interest, especially in the red states.
A known fact in America today is that the majority of the wealth is owned by one percent of the population. We also know that the average wage has not gone up along with inflation. Because of the wide gap in income, we know that the middleclass is disappearing. So, people are working more and making less. Still the Rabbi noted:
Obama could get away with saying that “Romney wants the rich to play by a different set of rules” – without ever defining what those different rules were; with saying that the “rich should pay their fair share” – without ever defining what a “fair share” is; with saying that Romney wants the poor, elderly and sick to “fend for themselves” – without even acknowledging that all these government programs are going bankrupt, their current insolvency only papered over by deficit spending.
What are people to think when Congress wants to not raise minimum wages, cut health insurance, not fund workers compensation, but continue to give tax breaks to the wealthy? What the Rabbi did not mention, however, was that today, the economy has recovered from the 2008 fall, banks and businesses are making large profits, the unemployment rate is down to 2008 level, and the deficit has been cut in half. So, why preach doom and gloom?
None-the-less, the Rabbi sadly predicts a win in 2016 of Hillary Clinton because she will follow Obama’s lead. He closes with the statement: If this election proves one thing, it is that the Old America is gone. And, sad for the world, it is not coming back. The problems we face today are there because the people who work for a living are outnumbered by those who vote for a living.”How illogical and irrational can one be? America and the world are constantly changing.
The Rabbi places all the responsibility for all the ills, as he sees them in society, on President Obama. Any person with knowledge of history and government knows that in a democracy we have three divisions of government, not a dictator. No, we are not coming back, and indeed, we should not even think of going backwards to whatever he had in mind. The Rabbi should gather his facts and history then provide for his audience with positive information that can be used to build on, not tear down and despair over. The Rabbi should be ashamed of himself.

Paul R. Lehman, The picture of President Obama and a banana reflects negatively on the sender

February 11, 2014 at 1:18 am | Posted in African American, Constitutional rights, democracy, discrimination, Disrespect, equality, European American, freedom of speech, justice, Prejudice, President Obama, Race in America, Russia, skin color | 2 Comments
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The phrase “A picture is worth a thousand words” has been around for a few hundred years and it still has relevance today. The concept of the phrase whether it is one thousand or ten thousand words concern not only the picture itself, but also the creator as well as the producer and user. Each has its own reason for the picture’s value; so, the image that constitutes the picture is not the only concern of the viewers. In an article from the Guardian, “Russian MP’s Obama with banana picture sparks racism debate” (2/9/14) a discussion concerning racism began. The picture in question is a doctored photo of President and Mrs. Obama; the picture has been changed to make President Obama appear as though he is chewing on something while he stares wide-eyed at a banana that seemingly is before him.
The article noted that “The subject of racism has become the focus of a public discussion in Russia after an MP from Duma caused outrage by posting an image of Barack Obama that was photoshopped to include a banana. It continued by stating that “Irina Rodina, an MP from Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party and a triple Olympic champion figure-skater, posted the picture on her personal Twitter account.” Rodina apparently saw nothing amiss with the picture she claims was sent to her from friends in the U.S. She was quoted as saying “Freedom of speech is freedom of speech, and you should answer for your own hang-ups.”
If we take the time to look at the photo, we can recognize that the image of President Obama has been altered, so that he does not appear to be in a normal state, but a contrived one. His eyes have been made to seemed fixed on a banana magically suspended in from of him. We do not know what the person who altered the photo had in mind, but a suggestion might be that an effort was made to associate the President’s image with that of a monkey or something similar that likes to eat bananas. The irony of the photo is that many people like and eat bananas, so why try to focus attention on the image of President Obama looking at the banana unless it is an attempt to try and make a denigrating statement regarding him. In fact, because the photo is so contrived, the effect probably rest with the question it raises—why?
The answer to that question never is given because the charge of racism came quickly to the front. The article noted that “The incident was widely discussed in the Russian press, with many commentators coming to the defence of the MP and figure-skater.” We agree with a person’s right to free speech, so as far as Rodina having the right to Tweet the photo we have no argument. Our concern is to why? What was the objective? We do not know because no one, including Rodina has said. What we do know is that most educated and informed individuals generally have a working knowledge of their actions, especially if they are deliberate.
The article reported that the United State ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, was not pleased and believed “that Rodina was guilty of ‘outrageous behavior which only brings shame to her parliament and country.’ A spokesperson for the U. S. embassy quoted Thomas Jefferson in response to the tweet: ‘Bigotry is the disease of ignorance.’” The response is appropriate in this instance because to identify the photo as racist is to support the concept of multiple human races, which in turn feed the illusions of bigots. The ignorance associating people as members of a race because of their color, religion or beliefs is like saying that fresh water from different parts of the world is different just because it changes from country from country. We know that certain things can be and are added to the water, but take away the additives and it is all the same. So it is with people.
When something so contrived as the President Obama picture is offered to the public, the logical response is to simply ignore it and let it pass, because that is not what the presenters want to happen. They want to raise the ire and alarm at what they know can appear degrading not only to the President, but to the country as well. By acknowledging the photo, the viewer gives in to the trap and brings attention to a cause that is lost and dying—racial superiority.
Rather than the picture being viewed as disparaging and denigrating to the President, the fact is that the ignorance of the people who created, produced and promoted it is underscored. The use of the word racist does not fit the situation, although the people responsible for the picture might think so. By accepting the term racist, the blame for the action can be displaced among the larger group of like-thinkers. The appropriate word is as the embassy spokesperson noted from Jefferson is bigotry. The bigot has to accept personal responsibility for his or her actions, not the group. Obviously, seeing the photo will generate questions, but by letting it pass, since nothing positive is to be gained from an angry reaction, does not give comfort to the instigators.
Yes, we can agree with the phrase that “a picture is worth a thousand words” but we need to always keep in mind that the picture did not create itself, and there has to have been some motivation for the production. We are correct to question the purpose of the photo as well as the expectations of different viewers to the photo. However, once rational and reasonable people understand that the use of the photo is for negative propaganda, we can then remove ourselves from any attempt to call attention to it. When some people have lived their entire lives internalizing a myth, then no amount of common sense or facts can change their biased minds.

Paul R. Lehman, President Obama’s critics show lack of knowledge in how government works

October 22, 2013 at 8:52 pm | Posted in Christianity, democracy, Democrats, Disrespect, fairness, GOP, justice, Oklahoma, President, President Obama, Republican Party, Respect for President, The Oklahoman | 1 Comment
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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, The power of bigotry seeks to destroy either Obama or America

October 1, 2013 at 12:42 am | Posted in Affordable Health Care, African American, American Bigotry, American Racism, blacks, Congress, equality, ethnic stereotypes, Ethnicity in America, European American, GOP, integregation, justice, Prejudice, President Obama, Race in America, Republican Party, the Republican Party, whites | 1 Comment
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Call it hatred, fear, politics, or any other stressful experience, but we all know that the primary reason for the Republicans shutting down the government is bigotry. Almost fifty years have passed since society has witnessed the degree of bigotry displayed through the actions of some conservative Republicans to deny President Obama and the country any success. The fact that this group of people is willing to let the country suffer because of their bigotry shows the degree to which the fear, hatred and ignorance have taken the place of common sense and decency.
Now that these politicians have shown the length to which they will go the deny President Obama any element of success, what will the rest of America do as our society slowly descends into a dysfunction state of confusion? For too long, America has tried to hide the bigotry that rests beneath the surface of everyday life. We pretend that bigotry does not really exist, or if it does exist, the degree is so small that it presents no serious problem to society. With the recent actions of the Republicans in Congress, we can rethink the seriousness of the problem of bigotry in society. The hatred for the President by certain Republicans has been underscored many times by any number of television commentators, including Ed Schultz and Lawrence O’Donnell, both on MSNBC.
Although the approach taken by the President’s critics usually focus on some piece of legislation or some action he has taken. Recently, the focus has been solely of the Affordable Care Act, or as some refers to it, as Obamacare. In any event, they are hell-bent on trying to delay its enactment since they could not defund it. This program of healthcare that will make care available for most Americans for the first time has been demonized by the Republicans. The only reason for their efforts to have the American people dislike the Affordable Health Act is their hatred for President Obama, an African American. Some will continue to see the actions of President Obama’s critics as political; after all, he is a democrat. But when reasonable approaches to the political problems are dismissed or rejected outright, what is one to believe?
To understand fully the reason for the Republican bigotry against President Obama, we must go back in history to the beginning of our country. Before the Europeans came to America, the word race was used to distinguish groups of people who looked alike, from one another. The Anglo-Saxons, for example, hated the Brits, and viewed them as brutes, and even considered them to be of a different biological race. The Anglo-Saxons thought themselves superior to all their neighbors, mainly because of their German ancestry. When the English came to America, their belief was that God had provided this land for them, and wanted them to take it away from the savages (Indians). If we stop for a moment and examine the names of the towns that the Pilgrims and Puritans settled, we discover that these town- names, many with biblical references, reflect the objective of these new immigrants, to possess this new God-given land. The objective was never to share the land with people who did not look like them; that was why they tried to eliminate the Indian population. In their minds, America was supposed to be a white country, owned and controlled by whites. One problem with that belief was it was based on a myth. Their words were put into God’s mouth.
When the first introductory lines of the “Declaration of Independence” were written, the language used was to help create an image and attitude that would attract world support. The phrase “All men are created equal,” was a catch-all construction that could not withstand actual scrutiny since slavery and class distinctions were intricate parts of American society at the time. A quick look at the signers of that “Declaration” will show that each and every man would not have been thought to be average or ordinary citizen, but all were considered Anglo-Saxons and member of the upper class. Fortunately, the document Jefferson wrote followed by The Constitution, years later, included language that could not be avoided without society being accused of hypocrisy. Nonetheless, the idea of a society owned, governed, and controlled by whites persisted throughout history in spite of its being based in myth.
When the Anglo-Saxons whites realized that their numbers were decreasing, they slowly started to recognize some of the lesser whites as acceptable to their society, but not as “real whites,” only Caucasians, because they were not of pure blood. Around the time of WWII segregation and Jim Crow issues brought about by civil right concerns aided in the consolidation of the “real Whites” with the Caucasians. The terms white and Caucasian became, for some, interchangeable. This change opened the doors of opportunity for many Caucasians. The point of interest for the society during this time is that it could call itself a white society, governed and controlled.
The idea of America as a white society began to come under attack during the middle and late ’60s when African Americans began to struggle for civil rights in earnest with great participation from many segments of society representing other ethnic groups. With the success of the civil rights movement came the fear of whites loosing privileges, power and prestige. The turning point came with the election of an African American as President. That was never supposed to happen. However, since it has happened, the bigots cannot accept the fact. So, they do everything they can to discredit President Obama. They could not prevent his re-election, so they are determined to reject any and all legislation they can to try to show that President Obama is unqualified to be president. Their effort to shutdown the government is aimed directly at foiling President Obama, to somehow make it look like he is responsible for the shutdown.
The bigots believe that they are in a war for the image of America, a European American image. Any success experienced by the Obama administration represents a nail in their coffin for retaining the image of America as a European American (white) nation. These bigots would prefer to see America’s people and its reputation destroyed rather than have President Obama achieve any measure of success. As we witness the descent of American society into a state of extreme confusion, we can also witness the power of bigotry and the ignorance that informs it. Those who have eyes need to see, and once they have seen, need to act to help prevent the power of bigotry from destroying what should be a beacon of freedom to the world, America.

Paul R. Lehman, Opinion writer tries to label Obama as the “Great Divider”

February 12, 2013 at 12:23 am | Posted in African American, Bigotry in America, blacks, Congress, Democrats, Disrespect, European American, fairness, GOP, justice, Media and Race, Prejudice, President, The Oklahoman, the Republican Party, whites | 2 Comments
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The title of the main article on the “Opinion” page of The Oklahoman (2/10/13) reads “President has earned ‘Great Divider’ label.”Both words of that moniker carries with them a variety of interpretations that rely on other associations to have them bear fruit; namely, how does one arrive at the superlative “Great,” and what has been divided? What we discover in reading the article is a text that reflects Arrogance, ignorance and bias.
When one decides that he or she has the where-with-all to predict what history will do and the reasons for doing it, he or she usually rely on facts and empirical evidence to underscore the prognostication. However, when one’s information is based on personal assessment and interpretation, the cause of concern regarding intent and accuracy is called into question. The “opinion” writer stated that history will pin the nickname “The Great Divider” on President Obama because he has earned it. The writer stated that “The sobriquet isn’t overtly partisan: Much of the man’s political success owes to his penchant for dividing people into camps and appealing to one group by diminishing the other. This has been good for his career. But, it has not been good for the United States of America.” The writer then proceeded to present examples where President Obama failed to unite. For example, we learned that “Obama solicited ideas from diverse coalitions—on health care, deficit reduction, business growth—but refused to listen.”
The writer was true in part, the part that the President did solicit ideas from a variety of coalitions; the other part involved the President not willing to abandon his own ideas for those that did not address the problems as he saw them. Take health care, for example. The plan that the President offered to Congress was the same one used in Mass., created and implemented by former presidential candidate Mitt Romney. This plan was rejected by all Republicans in Congress. Other examples of the results and reactions to the President’s offers all fell short of Republican approval. The writer never mentioned this side of the great divide because the blame was displaced, not just on the President. However, the writer evidently believes whatever he or she says should be accepted as true, no questions. That is arrogance.
The lack of information or ignorance comes through in the article when the writer made that statement: “The essential thing we’ve learned about Barack Obama is his belief that his way is the only way, dividing the populace into the Enlightened Ones who agree with him and the less-Than-Worthy who don’t. Syndicated columnist Michael Gerson calls this ‘the invincible assumption of his own rightness,’” One would get the idea that America is governed by a dictator who is at liberty to do anything and everything he wants. Enlightened readers know that this tacit is a ploy to try and discredit the President for doing things he has not the power to do. The fact that we have three branches of government never enters the picture. One would expect the President to have his own ideas and plans because as leader that is part of his responsibility. Why would he be criticized for being able to think and plan and labeled a “divider” simply because some do not agree with him. That is just plain ignorant.
A number of things that are missing from the article that shows a different side to this argument showed a degree of bias on the writer’s part. When the President is told his first day in office that all efforts by one party will be in trying to prevent his serving another term, then the idea of bipartisan agreement becomes impossible. To underscore the point of a one-sided effort to deny the President any success, the Republican Party usually voted as a unit as in the health care bill where he received zero support from them. In addition, whenever a bill was offered in the Senate a filibuster was initiated to prevent its coming to the floor for a vote. A record of filibusters was set during President Obama’s first term by Republicans. The President made numerous invitations to the leaders and other members of the Republican Party for causal meeting; all were rejected. What does that say about who is responsible for the division in Washington?
The name “The Great Divider” is an attempt to discredit the President for things her had little or no control over. The writer wanted to picture President Obama as being in total control of everything that goes on in Washington and then create a negative perception of it. If the writer were honest, he or she would admit that he or she is angry and frustrated by the fact that the majority of Americans elected an African American for President. Whatever President Obama does will never be good enough for the writer and like-minded people because they cannot accept the fact that society is changing and people who still live in the 19th and 20th century are being left behind. These people are biased because they were taught to be so by the society in which we live. Some segments of our society refuse to accept the progress that has taken place socially and scientifically. In essence, they see President Obama as a symbol of a change they are not ready or willing to make.
As the “Opinion” writer demonstrated, any excuse will do if one is trying to avoid the real one, if the real one will uncover the nature of the excuse maker. Any criticism generally made about the government or Congress or Washington will usually filter down to President Obama because he is the “elephant” in the room. People will use the unfounded accusations that Washington has out-of-control-spending, or the Obama policies hurt the middle-class, or the deficit will place a tremendous burden on our grandchildren to try and show that Obama is not fit to be President. If these Obama critics could in some way prove that President Obama is not fit to be President, then they believe that they have been vindicated in their bigotry and can regroup to prevent any new challenge to their view of a “divided” America with them still in charge. The name for what the “Opinion” writer tried to do in labeling President Obama the “Great Diver” is called projection.

Paul R. Lehman, Race irrelevant and confusing to America

February 18, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Posted in Ethnicity in America, Media and Race, Race in America | 7 Comments
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For some time now this blog has been advocating for the removal of the word race used to classify and characterize humans of varying ethnicities. The claim has been made as well as substantiated that the word race is inaccurate, inappropriate, and ineffective in the task it has been forced to perform. Again, for the record, race is the term that includes all human beings, as in the human race. The use of race in regards to color or geography is useless because it simply adds to confusion rather than making clear the relationships of all humans. People with black skin complexions and those with white, brown, tan, pink, and other complexions are all part of the same race; their ethnicity and culture, however, will vary.  In an effort to underscore the problems caused by our use of the term race, we will call attention to a recent article written by Jeff Jacoby from the Boston Globe.

In his article titled “Irrelevant racial criteria,” Jacoby makes the following statement:”Spend a while with the census search engine, and you could be forgiven for thinking that the nation’s racial composition has never been defined with such pinpoint accuracy.” To this statement he adds that “In fact, the nation’s racial composition has probably never been defined with less accuracy, and the margin of error is widening. Why? Because of the growing number of Americans like Michelle Lôpez-Mullins, who render the government’s racial categories meaningless or obsolete.”

What Jacoby means by the last statement is that Michelle, because of her multiethnic ancestry, has no category available to her on an identity space with the exception of “other.” She is identified as a University of Maryland student who is ‘Hispanic,’ but “the government agency that tracks data on births and deaths, would pronounce her ‘Asian’ and ‘Hispanic.’” Her birth certificate from the state of Maryland omits race altogether. So, we can readily see the problems using the term causes.

Jacoby makes the statement that ‘Though most Americans may still think of themselves as belonging to a single race, the multiracial population is surging. Racial boundaries are more permeable and easier to ignore than ever before.’ One might be willing to agree with Jacoby except for the simple reason that he makes the same mistake as does the government—accepting the word race as legitimate and accurate. If we as a society accept the fact that all humans are of one race then we do not need to continue using race  in identifying people of differing ethnicities and cultures as belonging to a separate race.

Jacoby makes notice of the changing complexion of society with respect to what he calls interracial marriages or new marriages that have increased greatly from the 1960s to 2008. He states that “When Barack Obama was born in 1961, less than one new marriage in 1,000 was, like his parents’, that of a black person and a white person. ‘By 1980, that share had risen to about one in 150 new marriages,’ Pew notes. By 2008, it had risen to one in 60.”Unfortunately, the words black and white do not identify other ethnic influences that might have been reflected in these individuals.

Underscoring the problem that not only the word race creates but also words used to identify these so-called races, Jacoby cites the fact that President Obama identified himself in last year’s census as ‘black.’ However, it was pointed out that many young African Americans prefer this latter term to represent their identity. The problem of using the word race is clearly shown in Jacoby’s comment that “The Census Bureau currently recognizes 63 possible racial labels, but that taxonomy is as limited and artificial as the one in an earlier age that subdivided Americans into the categories of “white,””Japanese,””Chinese,””Negroes,””mulattoes,””quadroons,””octoroons,”and “civilized Indians.” By what logic, for example, did the 2010 questionnaire classify Korean, Chinese, and Vietnamese as separate races, yet, lump Scandinavians, Arabs, and Slavs together as “white”?

As has been stated many times in this blog as well as in my last two books, the word race was forced to perform a service for which it was not suited. To make matters worse, accompanying the use of the word race is the assumption that a separate biological uniqueness is accorded. For example, if someone is identified as being of the Korean race, then that race would be interpreted as not belonging to the family of human beings who identified themselves as white. What the Census Bureau and the government have done is compound the confusion by retaining the word race instead of using the word ethnic or ethnic group. American has fallen in love with ethnic colors and all their stereotypes which keeps society from making needed social progress. Our refusal to deal honestly with our race problem will cause the confusion to not only continue, but also to multiply.

So, how should our society address this growing problem? We can start by eliminating the word race as part of an individual’s identity since all people belong to the same race. What will this simple action produce?  First, it would eliminate the stereotypes associated with the reference to a person’s race. The concepts of racism and racist would be eliminated because there can be no superior race if only one race exists. The idea of a racist would no longer be applicable because more than one race has to exist in order to compare or contrast them. Also, the concept of races as a biological certainty would be dismissed and those social groups who have built their identity on the idea of multi-biologically separate races would be null and void. What would not disappear from avoiding the use of race are prejudice, bigotry, discrimination, anger, and hatred. Each of those concerns is unique to individuals, not groups.

So, Mr. Jeff Jacoby should be applauded for his comments and findings regarding not just the Census Bureau’s confusion regarding race. He does, however, miss the part that the word race plays in this story. American society’s seems to lack concern for the race problem. The more we procrastinate, the more confusion we heap on ourselves and especially our children. Children need to understand and know that they are more than colors; they are members of a human family.

Paul R. Lehman, Limbaugh’s ploy to make Obama a black president flops.

July 13, 2010 at 7:24 pm | Posted in American Bigotry, Media and Race | 4 Comments
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Rush Limbaugh seemingly reached the zenith of his fears and frustrations regarding President Obama recently when he made a statement that America elected Obama because he was black. As for as Limbaugh is concerned that statement was meant to conjure up in his followers and supporters all the negative connotations relative to so-called black people in America. The apparent intent of that Limbaugh statement was to be the most serious insult he could make regarding Obama in spite of all the other labels and titles assigned to Obama, and to show the ignorance of the Americans who voted for Obama.

                Limbaugh in his statement was apparently depending  on the negative stereotypes America created for the African American that included referring to them as negroes, blacks, colored, cuffy, and coons to mention a few. The ploy fell flat on its face because Americans did not buy into the stereotype Limbaugh was trying to invoke. To understand better the game that Limbaugh attempted, we need to go back a few years to 1906 and Oklahoma Governor Alfalfa Bill Murray. Alfalfa Bill was a very biased man who had a great dislike of Jews, Italians, and African Americans. The attitude he promoted regarding so-blacks was that they would be tolerated as long as they were separated from whites and kept in their proper field and factory jobs. He would state publically that he believed that “blacks were inferior to whites in all ways…and must be fenced from society like quarantined hogs.”Many Americans rejected that image and attitude regarding Africans Americans, but many accepted it then and still to this day. The use of the term black brings to mind the attitude and stereotypes popular during Murray’s day.

                Limbaugh’s statement shows that he does not want to use the appropriate term of African American for Obama because that term does not trigger all the negative stereotypes that were associated with so-called black Americans. America’s election of Obama proves the fallacy of Limbaugh’s statement. America did not elect a black man; America elected a talented, young, intelligent, educated poised and mature leader who just happened to be African American. America was focused on the issues, not the complexion of the candidate.

                Limbaugh, in spite of his claim to fame as having his finger on the pulse of America, knows that he continues to dwell in the past with his followers and supporters relative to progress regarding  American ethnicity and diversity. He also knows that by keeping his audience in the past he can keep control of their thoughts and actions. If he was to bring his audience into the 21st century he would refer to himself as European American, not white and so-called blacks as African Americans. He would also stop using the term racist and use the appropriate word, bigot, since all human being belong to one race—the human race. Unfortunately, Limbaugh will not make that leap of informing his audience, because to do so would cause him and them to lose face, power, and prestige they believe comes from being white.

                As long as Limbaugh can continue to create fear and frustration in his audience by using Obama as the whipping boy, he will do so. He knows that the unity of hate and the loss of empowerment serve as an addiction, and he can nurture it in his audience as their leader. He can continue to create fear and frustration in his audience by his ranting and raving of Obama and his actions. He creates frustration by forecasting the imminent destruction of America by Obama and his administration. He combines these concerns, fear and frustration, by referring to Obama and his administration as a regime. His use of that term is to somehow make an association with Obama and some un-American or foreign form of government. The term in and of itself is perfectly legitimate, but most people hear it used in association with a negative connotation.

                Limbaugh’s statement of Obama being a black president shows his bias. Limbaugh is not a bad person, just an uninformed one. He has every right to criticize the president, his administration and his policies. However, what Limbaugh attempted to do in his statement was to cast a shadow on the Americans who voted for Obama. In essence, he was saying that they did not know what they were doing in electing a black president, hoping they would recall the negative stereotypes of the past associated with a so-called black American. What Limbaugh fails to understand is that the American people who voted for Obama are years ahead of him in their thinking. They were voting for change in American. They wanted someone to lead them into the future, not remain in the status quo or worse, go backwards. America has changed and continues to change daily. When Obama’s term is over, then we will have an opportunity to evaluate his performance. To do so now would be premature. The fear, hate and frustration created by Limbaugh does  a great disservice to his audience, followers and supporters in that he is using these scare tactics to maintain unity and control of them.

                When some Americans discover they have been played for a fool because of their ignorance, loyalty and devotion to an individual or idea that created fear and stress in their lives needlessly, they might be able to find some comfort in the old saying that “everybody plays the fool sometimes,” but  do not bet on it.

Paul R. Lehman, Chicken Little and Obama Naysayers

July 3, 2010 at 8:22 pm | Posted in American Bigotry | 3 Comments
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Ever since the Obama election some Americans, namely republicans, tea partiers, conservatives and other Obama naysayers and been acting like the world is coming to an end. He has been characterized as a socialist, communist, fascist, antichrist, devil, alien, joker, Muslim, Hitler, tyrant, and a host of other equally complimentary terms. In addition, he is said to lack intelligence, courage, drive, common sense, integrity, Christian values, and male dominance qualities. He has been described as having a tragically flawed character. As one might assume, all these features are negative because to them his represents the voice of doom. The problem with this picture is that the representations are really reversed. The only loud and negative voices proclaiming doom and destruction of Americas are the naysayers. They are best characterized as belonging to the Chicken Little club.

            If we recall they story, Chicken Little is hit on the head by a falling acorn which leads her to believe that the sky is falling. The Obama naysayers believe that his election as President signaled the sky falling or a loss of their privileges and control. What happens next is that fear and anxiety takes control of the club and they must spread the word that disaster and doom is imminent in America because Obama is now President. Every conceivable argument is employed to convince the people that the sky is calling or America has been taken from them by Obama. Since the story of Chicken Little has numerous endings, we will visit several to show how they fit the club.

            One of the endings to the story suggests that when disaster strikes, one must face it head-on calling up as much courage as possible to meet the challenge. Unfortunately, the only courage the naysayers have conjured up is reflected in their fear and anxiety or their Obama name calling and rejections. Nothing created and/or promoted by Obama gives cause for believing the doom and destruction of America is imminent. After all, America has three arms of government to make certain that no one branch takes total control of society. What the action being employed by the Chicken Little club shows is them simply being chickens.

            Another ending to the story involves both Chicken Little and her hearers. As she makes her way to tell the king that the sky is falling, she informs all the people she encounters. Rather than question the validity of her information, they simply go along with her. Well, last weekend in Oklahoma City the epitome of Chicken Little story was being told by none other than Glen Beck and Carl Rove (for a price). The title of their tale was not “The Sky is Falling,” but “Taking back our Country.”The message is that ‘Real Americans’ must stop and think about what has happened to their country and once they realize that it is being held and changed by Obama, they must fight to take it back. Unfortunately, many of the story listeners and club members do not think, but simply accept what is being said as valid and react on those bases. They need to realize that “Real Americans” do not believe everything they are told, they check the facts first.

            Another ending to the story involves the use of an outside motivator who selects the bearer of the ill tidings in an effort to convince the hearers. What happens is the outside motivator wants a certain message presented to some people who will accepted it without question. So the outsider selects the dumbest person available and convinces him or her that the sky is falling. That person will proceed to go out and convince others that the message is true. How does this happen? Most intelligent people will hear the dumb person’s message and assume it to be factual because they do not believe the dumb person is not capable of manufacturing that message on his or her own. Unfortunately, everyone in the story is duped because they do not verify the information being presented.

            The Chicken Little club and their activities fit easily into all three of these scenarios because they are gullible and trusting. The American public is at no loss to hear and see the talking heads on radio and television warning them of the imminent disaster about to befall America because Obama is the President. The reason for all this activity is fear that the world is coming to an end, as in the Chicken Little story. But what is the cause of the fear? Had Chicken Little stopped to examine the acorn that hit her on the head, she would have realized that only one acorn fell. Had the characters Chicken Little met on her way to the king asked her how she knew that the sky was falling, they would have discovered that she was over-reacting. Had the people who were convinced that Chicken Little’s message was factual considered the source of the message, they would have reconsidered their response.

            What is the fear of the Chicken Little club? Society, as they knew it is changing. One of the effects of that change is a loss of privilege and control over non-European American citizens based on color. Breaking old habits is difficult at best when few options are available for retaining the status quo. When change forces a departure from the old, comfortable, and convenient habits, the first reaction is defensive. Change cannot occur in an undisturbed environment, so some adjustments must be expected. Common sense and reason will dictate to most Americans the actions that need to be taken if indeed the sky starts to fall or that we must take our country back from Obama and his democrats before it is utterly destroyed. The power of fear is that it controls the fearer, not the one creating the fear. Chicken Little was just a dumb bird.

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