President Obama learned early in life that there’s a lot less traffic on the high road. Read his words or listen to him speak, and you’ll hear a man committed to serving and representing the American people as a whole. I’ve had a number of heated conversations lately – both in person – and on Facebook with right-wing sympathizers who claim their irrational fear and hatred of Barack Obama isn’t racially motivated. Then without so much as taking a breath, they’ll reveal their true colors by making a thinly veiled racial slur they don’t even register as having said. One neocon was outraged that Obama filmed a ‘get out the vote’ campaign ad directed toward African Americans. I watched the filmed announcement, and saw nothing wrong with it or irregular about it. In the world of capitalism, it’s what’s known as target marketing. My neocon was upset that the president was “pandering to those people.” It never occurred to him for a minute he’s pandered-to on a daily basis by FOX News. Is it pandering to the Hispanic population by placing Spanish language ads on Telemundo? Both parties do it.
Both Democrats and Republicans criticized Barack Obama for attempting to find a healthy middle-ground during the major balance of his first term. I think he was wise in doing so. He gave the GOP the chance to come to the table and endorse any number of ideas and programs which in many cases were ideas originated by high-ranking republicans. But when Obama endorsed those same concepts they were suddenly painted with a broad-brush as an evil socialist plot. Democrats wanted to see Obama squash the GOP. Instead, he allowed them to squash themselves with their own hatred and bigotry. I’ve been consistently impressed with our president’s even hand, calm demeanor and what he’s accomplished in only 3 years (an outlining of which will require a post of it’s own.)
Take by comparison, Rick Santorum’s recent comment in Puerto Rico about potential statehood being contingent on the people of that commonwealth completely converting to speaking English — ignorant of the fact that English is a required course taught in Puerto Rican schools. Santorum (who makes no secret of his disapproval of public education) was target-pandering to his right-wing constituents — most of whom probably don’t realize Puerto Rico is a self-governing American commonwealth which makes them already full-fledged American citizens.
What’s at work here is fear. Fear that the lily-white world of Santorum’s vision is doomed to eventual obsolescence. Santorum embodies the irrational fear of a future where people of color meld with white America — and that fear can be measured by the degree of shrill cat-calls coming from the far right. Their days as the ruling majority are numbered. Even blind, unquestioning religious faith is losing its foothold. The noise you hear them making, are the death-throes of ignorance and fear when confronted with change and the unknown. I was raised in a very, very white-bred family. I had ardently racist uncles. I remember as a little boy listening to the racial jokes being told at the card-table on a Saturday night while they were playing poker and drinking beer. I also heard the lessons being taught on Sunday mornings in church school and noted the stark contrasts between the two — leaving me wondering at an early age what this mixture of messages meant.
It’s been laughable watching neocons try to paint Obama as a Muslim in a nation founded on religious freedom, when the man is a self-proclaimed and unapologetic Christian. These same people wasted our time trying to build a false case against Obama as not American-born in the face of overwhelming and conclusive evidence to the contrary. This is racism at it’s purest, and is in direct damning conflict with the Christian doctrine to which neocons so desperately cling — not to mention the Constitution none of them have read or understood.
I am no longer what I’d define as a Christian. I’d describe myself as a spiritual-agnostic if forced to define where I stand. That said, the words of Christ decidedly helped form my worldview and what constitutes right and wrong. In the end, I’ve come to this conclusion: The further I get from organized religion, the more I love and appreciate the historical figure we call Christ. I think He’d be ashamed and appalled by what’s been masquerading behind the shield of His name. I capitalize ‘aitches’ out of habit and respect.
Take a look at the bumper-sticker on the car pictured to the left… This car-owner is just begging to be rear-ended. These words and their double entendre pretty much sum-up bible-belt Christian understanding as emboldened by conservative hatred and their undying aspirations to constantly be in the wrong.