I joked in a tweet a couple of nights ago that Fox Opinions (because it is not really news except for that Shep Smith guy – I wonder when they will fire him?) would try to link Kanye West to President Obama after he upstaged the angelic 19 year old country singer Taylor Swift. And Kanye was wrong and Taylor Swift seems remarkably (and refreshingly) un-Hollywood for such a big star (perhaps, her humble Christian roots have something to do with it, or perhaps she just hasn’t been paid enough for a sex tape yet). Whatever the case was I had this eerie feeling that white people in parts of the country would see beyond a vain entertainer upstaging a humble one and see it as yet another arrogant negro ruining a moment for a white woman (e.g. Sarah Palin, Emmit Till to name two such incidents).
But the larger truth is that small town, small minded white people feel incredibly threatened by Barack Obama. When he was a humble, conciliatory campaigner who aspired (but did not and could not guarantee) bipartisanship he looked like that talented black man who could do wonderful things, but still had the tone on one who recognized that he could not do it all alone. But now that he has decided to make change that not everybody agrees with, he magically transformed from Jackie Robinson to Malcolm X (pre-Mecca trip) for a lot of Americans. There used to be a socially acceptable way for angry white people to vent their frustration at blacks. But most mainstream racists now know that saying the N word is debate suicide, so they just attack the man shouting “Obamacare” (I will probably stop using it because I have just realized through a twitter search that it is used too often in derision and not as an easy shorthand as I thought it was) as their slur.
Democrats rooted against George W. Bush and derided him, but mostly because he spoke in a manner often unfit for POTUS status, waged an unnecessary and lie-based war in Iraq, mismanaged the war in Afghanistan, an honorable and necessary war, to the point that now Obama is facing incredible pressure to abandon it, which may imperil America’s safety, allowed Dick Cheney, who appears to be the only man more evil that Nixon’s squad of goons in the early 1970s, to run roughshod over the Constitution and sold the environment to industry. There are 5,000 dead troops, over 4,000 from the Iraq War. Global Warming is real. These are the classic issues that have always brought on tough words and tougher protest. But now, universal health coverage has become the lightening rod that pushed these people over the edge. Not war (and if it was a white country, or at least non-Muslim nations, would these people have been as gung ho about it). Not environmental degradation with disastrous and cataclysmic consequences. Health care for all. With numerous controversial proposals introduced by Republicans. This is their best shot at Obama and sadly, there may be enough industry whores on both sides of the political aisle to derail it, which will be like getting a do over at the Civil War for some of these morons.
I will admit that I think economic fears have something to do with it also. I think this country is greedy at its core. If the economy had not tanked in September of last year, the election would have been A LOT closer. People vote their wallets and their instincts in this country, in that order. So when the economy tanked, some people who may not have wanted a black president voted their circumstances and decided their ideology could fight another day. Well, now that the economy is not recovering in terms of jobs for people it is time to let the racism kick in, in its socially acceptable form – shouting angrily over anything that you can.
I recently read the book Nixonland, which is a weighty tome and sometimes difficult to wade through without a real substantive knowledge of all the political players of the 1960s and 70s, but Richard Nixon rode to the presidency on white frustration. Not all of it was racial, some was economic (the way Republicans have continued to fool poor and middle class people that their economic best interests are with Republicans), but much of it was racial. In the 1960s civil rights enactments along with racial riots made the Republicans the party of safety and the re-establishment of white order. Well now that there is a president of color that battle has been lost, but that does not mean that equality’s victory over intolerance cannot be frustrated. And that is what these TEA party folks are doing. Their victory is unattainable so they’ve redefined their goals very simply: if we cannot win, then neither can he/they.
Even if you believe that Obama & Co. are going about health care in the wrong way, is health care for every American such an abomination on its face that it requires the same intensity of protest that Vietnam had, which these people are giving it? And why do we have to cover these losers as if they matter. Below is my recent interpretation of a Health Care Town Hall:
Richard Nixon tapped into a feeling of helplessness that white people had. Liberal causes almost always win the day eventually because to quote George W. Bush, “I believe freedom is the deepest need of every human soul.” But those moments don’t really exist for ordinary white people because they have been on top since the country’s birth. However, black people have come up from such depths that every milestone is a feel good celebration, culminating, of course, with the election of Barack Obama.
So the the TEA Partiers and their selfish and/or small minded sympathizers, my message to you is relax. You are still white and in America. Appreciate the natural advantages that still abound because of it and let people have health care and a president of color. It reminds me of the scene in Goodfellas where Tommy (Joe Pesci) gets very angry at his girlfriend for over complimenting Sammy Davis Jr. TEA Partiers and their allies at Fox Opinions are like Tommy (white, angry with no legitimate place for their real frustrations). Obama is Sammy Davis Jr, but only worse, he is a Democrat. And worse, he is trying to do something other than dance, sing or shoot a jump shot.
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