- Your Town
Is the GOP racist?
To the editor,
Have you ever wondered why Obama’s critics seem to have such a visceral hatred of him as a person? It’s always seemed way out of proportion with his policies. After all, what he proposed over the last five years has been pretty centrist. The health care law and cap-and-trade are really just warmed over versions of prior Republican ideas, and his other proposals are not nearly as far to the left as the New Deal was. (And that actually worked.) His administration has been scandal-free, and he has an exemplary family. Yet Republicans, both in government and out, liken him to Stalin or Hitler, or insist that “he’s not one of us,” or that he wasn’t born here, or he’s “un-American,” or, worse yet, a socialist. The GOP leadership has adopted as its governing strategy to be categorically against everything Obama proposes. Why is that? Well, it’s because he’s black. All that rhetoric is simply Republicode for the n-word.
Obviously all Republicans aren’t racists. The Establishment, the Romney types, don’t care what color Obama is as long as their bottom line isn’t touched - an ignoble, but predictable, position. But the “base,” those that the Establishment relies on to vote, are pretty much what’s left of the old Solid South that never got the word about Appomattox. They were the core of the Democrats strength until civil rights, and now, while keeping intact their bigoted worldview, they’ve attached themselves to the GOP like a cancer. That relationship is now symbiotic.
Let’s be clear. America is the best and freest country in the world. Our political and economic models are still an inspiration to people everywhere. But throughout our history we’ve had an ugly racist strain, directed mainly against Indians and Blacks (and lately Hispanics), that has repeatedly acted as an anchor on progress. The Founders couldn’t deal with it, so they kicked the can down the road. Lincoln fought a war to solve it, and Kennedy and Johnson tried to legislate it out of existence. Over time it’s been weakened, but it’s certainly still alive. As the world gets smaller and faster, we can’t afford this excess of ignorance. If we’re prevented from dealing with real issues like climate change, immigration, or education because Republicans can’t let a black president have a political victory, I guess we deserve the consequences. But I think we’re better than that. We’d better be.