Are those who criticize President Obama racists?
As opposition to Obama’s health care and big government initiatives has hardened among the electorate, there has been a chorus of caterwauling on the left to the effect that criticism of President Obama is tantamount to racism.
Liberal columnist David Sirota recently characterized those who oppose Obama (and that would be a large swath of the electorate in terms of his health care plan) as a “racist lynch mob.”
Democratic Representative Hank Johnson of Georgia proclaimed that rebuking Joe Wilson sufficiently was necessary so as to avoid a resurgence of Ku Klux Klan activity in the deep South.
And now the execrable Jimmy Carter, “Mr. Malaise”, has weighed in, by bastardizing a large segment of the population, with his sweeping indictment that, “an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man.”
Indicative of the faulty reasoning that underlies these pernicious accusations is Maureen Dowd’s recent NYT column on the significance of Representative Joe Wilson’s indecorous outburst during President Obama’s recent speech to a joint session of Congress on our Health care “crisis.” Dowd writes:
“I’ve been loath to admit that the shrieking lunacy of the summer … had much to do with race,” she wrote. “But Wilson’s shocking disrespect for the office of the president — no Democrat ever shouted ‘liar’ at W. when he was hawking a fake case for war in Iraq — convinced me: Some people just can’t believe a black man is president and will never accept it.”
Dowd then bootstrapped her argument for racism with the following statement: “But, fair or not, what I heard was an unspoken word in the air: You lie, boy! The fact that Wilson said no such thing is merely an inconvenient fact to be ignored in order to buttress her contention that what he actually said was simply “code” for something entirely different. Dowd merely helped us with the necessary deciphering.
But shouldn’t Dowd reserve her considerable ire for Democratic Senator Robert Byrd, who at one time actually belonged to the Ku Klux Klan? Dowd’s ahistorical thesis ignores the painful fact that the staunchest opposition to the Civil Rights Legislation of 1964 came not from Republicans, but from Southern Democrats. But, if all is forgiven in terms of Byrd’ shameful legacy, shouldn’t Wilson, with no ties to any racist organizations, be given the benefit of the doubt when it comes to Dowd’s crass and unfounded accusations of racism?
It is instructive to note that the only notable incident of racism emanating from the South within the past few years was the scandalous accusation against white members of the Duke Lacrosse team who were falsely accused of raping a young black woman. It should be noted as well, that the paper for which Dowd writes, led the libelous charge in attempting to smear those athletes, and, when the irrefutable facts exposed the allegations as a sham, the Times continued in its quest to find a racist element to the episode, long after other news outlets had thoroughly discredited the story.
It is perplexing that those who are quick to play the race card against opponents of Obama’s left wing agenda never address this fundamental and vexing question: Exactly how did some of the same white voters (particularly independents) who were instrumental in helping to elect Obama president, suddenly — and mysteriously — become racists? That is to say, is it conceivable that those who criticize President Obama, do so because they are steadfastly opposed to his liberal agenda? Because, they may be feeling buyer’s remorse over a politician who campaigned, more or less as a centrist, and is now governing as a committed leftist?
One thing is certain, whether during the presidential campaign, or now that he is president, every time Obama is in political trouble, his supporters are always ready with their race-based explanations for his misfortunes. Attempts by Hillary to capitalize on blue-collar opposition to Obama’s candidacy was characterized by some as blowing the “race” dog-whistle. Slate’s Jacob Weisberg, proclaimed at one point during the campaign, that an Obama loss would signal to the rest of the world that we were incapable of surmounting our racist past.
The recent accusations of racism made by many on the left is merely a sign of their desperation. A recent Rasmussen poll indicates that only 12% of voters accept as true the proposition that opposition to Obama’s health care plan is race-based. In short, reflexive cries or accusations of racism now have a certain “boy who cried wolf” quality about them. The anticipated stigma no longer attaches to such baseless charges.
In their blind fury, the left fails to appreciate that the once odious and evocative epithet of racism has been leveled with such reckless abandon and with such frequency, that the word has now been robbed of its true meaning and significance.
Yet the question remains unanswered: can anyone criticize President Obama without being accused of being a racist?