Monday, August 08, 2011

The Lynching of a President

You may recall Clarence Thomas’s comment during his hearing for the Supreme Court nomination that he was a victim of a “High-Tech Lynching” that was a national disgrace. He won the day, won his appointment, and we have had to suffer this mistake ever since. He should not have been appointed, should not have served, should not serve now, and ought to be impeached. He compared what was happening to him as similar to an actual lynching although it had nothing to do with such a physical act. I believe his argument, in his particular case, was nonsense. But a similar lynching has been taking place in American politics involving President Obama.

It doesn’t matter whether you like Obama or not, or like some of his policies and not others, or even if you truly dislike him entirely. He has, in my opinion, certainly been subjected to a kind of “high-tech lynching” by a lynch mob that has been and continues to be out of control, the Republican party (and not just the Tea Party wing). There were many political cartoons about Obama that were incredibly offensive, Obama as cannibal chief and so on, but as these were so blatantly disgusting they were toned down or disappeared from the public forum. The racism involved did not disappear but merely went underground where I am certain these kinds of things still circulate in Republican and conservative circles. All of the attacks on Obama seem to me to have at least their origins in the fact that he is Black (they ignore the fact that he is also half white). The issue of his birth is a good example. Do you really believe a White President, born in Hawaii, would have been challenged about his birth? I certainly don’t believe that, even if he had also spent a couple of his childhood years in Indonesia. Would a White President with a father from Norway or even Russia been suspected of being a Muslim or even a Socialist? I doubt it. Obama’s father was born in Kenya, which means he was Black, also implies to some that he must have also been a Muslim Socialist of some kind, and if he was, so must his son be. This is nonsense and would never have happened to a White President no matter where his father was from. For many on the Right, if Obama is not really a Muslim or a Socialist he is certainly an “other,” not quite like us, and as an “other,’ a suspect of some kind. Many doubt Obama is even a Christian although there is absolutely no evidence he is not. I do not believe they dislike Obama so intensely simply because he is a democrat.

Do you believe that if a White President had been elected, say John Kerry or Hillary Clinton, the Republican party would have announced they would be the party of “no,” and would refuse to cooperate at all? Would they have religiously followed this strategy even to the point of voting no on bills and suggestions they themselves had originated? Would their objections to a White President have been so profound they would have announced their first priority was to make him/her a one-time President? I doubt it. That might well have been a goal but they would not have announced it so publicly. They set out to undermine and destroy Obama from day one and have been ruthless in this pursuit, and not simply because he is a democrat. Would an outstanding lawyer from a prestigious Ivy League University, financed importantly by Wall Street, be accused of being a socialist? I don’t think so.

There is no doubt in my mind that Obama’s race has played an important part in the resistance he has encountered. It may have gone mostly underground as it is not fashionable to be a racist these days (except in Republican and a few other conservative circles), but it is still there and it slips out every now and again. Pat Buchanan, for example, referring to Obama as “your boy,” or someone else bringing up “Tar Baby,” and so on. There has also been a notable lack of respect that I think would not have been so obvious with a White President. The racism is there, however hidden and below the surface. I do not say this in defense of Obama but, rather, just as something I believe is a matter-of-fact. Obama has been a great disappointment to me, certainly with respect to his “wars” and his failure to hold people accountable for war and other crimes. But I must say it takes an enormous amount of “gall” for the very people who have prevented him from doing much of anything for the economy to now try to lay the blame at his feet, and to accuse him of a failure of leadership. How many times has he tried to bring some form of bi-partisanship to a problem only to be summarily rejected by Republicans. There is no doubt where the blame for this recent debt ceiling crisis lies, none at all. Republicans created a crisis where there need not have been one, just another step in their attempt to lynch Obama in the only way it could be passed off as perhaps not actually criminal (although I personally think it is criminal). When it comes to High-Tech Lynching, Clarence Thomas had it easy, and he is among those who are attempting the same thing to Obama. If all it took was hypocrisy, greed, and dishonesty, Republicans would indeed rule the world. We had better hope that Progressives win tomorrow in Wisconsin because otherwise we will surely be doomed, the last bus is about to pass us by.

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