Sunday, July 11, 2010

Obama Plays the Race Card

By Alan Caruba

I was frankly surprised when Barack Obama was elected President in 2008. I thought his self-identification as a black American would tip the scales to John McCain in a nation that has had a long history of racial enmity towards blacks.

None of this is new. Race was a factor in American life in pre-Revolutionary days and slavery had to be papered over even in the writing of the Constitution. It took a Civil War to get amendments to end slavery and ensure the rights of citizenship were extended to blacks. It took another hundred years to make it real.

It is apparent in hindsight that a sufficient number of white Americans wanted to show the world that America could elect a black man President.

Well, they have succeeded and a year and a half into his term, a lot of them are having some serious buyer’s remorse. In the words of Spike Lee’s film, they were trying to “do the right thing.” Many are beginning to sense the feeling is not reciprocated.

Obama has benefited from the robotic, ninety-plus percent support of blacks in the Democrat Party. Even so, there are signs of discontent, not just among whites, but among blacks particularly in light of the disproportionate numbers who are unemployed. The “Get Out of Jail” card blaming George W. Bush has expired.

I suspect that the Obama administration will be seen by historians as no less racially divisive than its predecessors.

Americans got an initial glimpse of this when Obama deemed the arrest of a black Harvard professor “stupid” in the wake of his resistance when police arrived to investigate what could have been a break-in. That incident required a photo op in which the police officer, Prof. Henry Lewis Gates, and the President sat down for a beer together.

The pot really began to boil with the appointment of Eric Holder as the Attorney General. In February 2009 he said America was “a nation of cowards” who would not address racial issues. A lot of Americans thought we had.

Having lived through the Civil Rights era of the 1960s I thought that odd because thousands of Americans, white and black had participated in sit-ins and marches to achieve the 1964 Civil Rights Act. All displayed courage. Some even gave their lives.

The latest incident, largely ignored by the news media is the treatment accorded the New Black Panther Party, two members of which were caught on video clearly trying to intimidate voters in Philadelphia. Let go locally with a mild slap on the wrist, if a white duo had engaged in similar behavior, it would have been big news as a voting rights infraction.

Eric Holder’s Department of Justice ignored prosecution at the federal level and a staff member resigned in protest. He was heard by the Civil Rights Commission offering some very damning testimony about bias within the DOJ suggesting blacks would receive different treatment than whites.

There are two black Republican candidates running for Congress, Tim Scott in South Carolina’s first district and Allen West who is challenging Rep. Ron Klein (D) in Florida’s 22nd Congressional district.

West has been sharply critical of the Obama administration for declining to prosecute the New Black Panther Party on voter tampering charges. “The die has been cast in this election cycle,” said West. “Democrats and their liberal progressive socialist allies will continue to play the race card when it is politically expedient.”

If either West or Scott is elected, they will be the first black GOP lawmaker since Rep. J.C. Watts (R-OK) who retired in 2003. It is surely lost on no one that Michael Steele is the visible voice and face of the Republican Party these days.

Having lived through a period of rioting in many U.S. cities that were ignited by racial grievances, I am hopeful that the recent riot in Oakland is not a precursor to more. A court judgment finding a white police officer guilty of involuntary manslaughter of a black man served as little more than an excuse for looting.

President Obama has just over 900 days to go in his present term in office. Putting aside racial issues, he is failing on most counts and so spectacularly that an entirely new political movement, the Tea Party, has arisen independent of both political parties. The response from the Left has been to falsely accuse its members of being racists.

The undercurrent of divisiveness is being seen, heard and felt throughout America. It is far less about race and far more about fears that unwanted legislation is being forced on all Americans, that solutions put forth to invigorate the economy have failed, and that the nation is being shamed and embarrassed by the actions of the President.

A lot of progress has been made by blacks in America, but the White House and the judicial branch of government could set back the clock for reasons that are mostly political, but that have a disquieting racial element.

On the blog, WakeUpBlackAmerica, a recent post said, “As a black male, it was beyond embarrassing watching blacks in South Central Los Angeles destroying their city over a two bit hood rat drunk (referring to Rodney King in 1992) who was beaten by the LAPD. Now I have to watch black men making fools out of themselves yet again over an incident that wasn't racist in nature.”

“Correct me if I am wrong, but wasn't the election of Barack Obama supposed to have ushered in the era of ‘post racial harmony’ or something like that?” Good question.

© Alan Caruba, 2010


rosey said...

Eric holder will be the first black cabinet level casualty for the "New Black Panther" incident that clearly shows the political decision to not pursue the violation of civil rights of a "black on white" crime was made at his level and that of the White House.

As a result, I believe, the case will once again go forward and run its course at the Federal Level. It may also result in the New Black Panthers being designated as a "terrorist organization" (which they are in every way)because there is ample evidence that they are supportive of Extremist Islamic views of Osama Bin Laden (see my article posted yesterday on America's Living Room that has the Youtube link of Shabaz, in 2002, praising Bin Laden).

I also believe that the American public will not set back in Black/White gains made through the time period since the civil rights era of the 1960's, but that those who are radical and riot & civil discourse in other than non-violent means will be exposed by the majority.

This of course will only begin once Obama is removed from office in 2012 or earlier (impeachment)....

Ol James said...

IMHO, anyone, I mean ANYONE who causes people from entering a polling place is guilty of obstruction and other offenses. Be it intimidation with a possible or intended threat of violence. Or just wanting people to not enter. Anyway you put it they should and MUST be prosecuted. If not. Those who refuse to enforce the law and protect those who rightfully qualify, to enter and vote are just as guilty and should also be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
I don't care the color of their skin, religious affiliation, sexual preference, hair color or what may be the case.
Wrong is wrong.
Frankly, a public caning is to good for them.

Guy said...

Alan, I know we were told that all this racial discourse would be behind us after when we elected Obama, but they failed to mention one small detail ... that electing Obama was just the first step in a three-step process....

There are a couple more steps that have to be completed before all these pesky racial issues can be settled.....

First of all, "payback" has to be completed. From what I can gather, apparently white people have to be put down and made to suffer for a while. We "Crackers" have to have some of our children killed, and be "ruled by a black man" for a while, so we can feel what it's like to have someone with a different skin color "rule" us. That's according to the Black Panthers of course ...

After that step is complete, the next step, the REAL payback, namely reparations, or the redistribution of wealth, must occur. Private property, personal wealth, and businesses all must be seized and redistributed to people of color. I think opportunity and political power were on that list too ... that's according to Obama of course ...

After all that's been done, THEN black people will accept and love white people and white people will accept and love black people, all of this nastiness can be put behind us, and there will be peace and love across America......

So, I think you're just being a little impatient. This will all take some time. You've just got to be patient, and let Obama and his administration implement the necessary "change" that we've all been waiting for. In a few decades, America will be a whole different country ...

Alan Caruba said...

Guy, I think you're wandering into the area of science fiction or fantasy. Just because some idiot from the Black Panthers says something nasty, it hardly means he speaks for the wider black community. If anything, they are embarrassed by him and the rest of the kids in the 'hood.

Carolyn said...

Hi Mr. Caruba- I agree with Ol James that no matter skin color or anything else- wrong is wrong. These people were elected (well, I know Holder wasn't elected) but all cabinet of the office of President and everyone has an oath to protect the citizens of this country- regardless of race!
I never thought much about race- until people like Al Sharpton, Jessie Jackson and clowns like them made it such an issue.
No, I will never know what it's like to be a different shade of what the Lord made me. All I know is what I see- and that's people using other people for their own gain. Whether it be Democrats using blacks and hispanics to keep them on the public dole for votes, or any of the so called pastors ie: the Jerimiah Wrights of the world who use skin color as a political tool. These men, especially, ought to know better. I am not pro white, pro black or pro any one race- I know that all of us are made in the Lord's image- and He looks at the heart of man, not the outside.
People who use others should be ashamed of themselves.
All I heard when Obama was elected was how great to have a black man as president. So- why all the anger now? In a society where people of color(all shades) can be anything from sports stars, entertainers, doctors, lawyers,supreme court justices, secretary of states, generals, and even president- shows me that if anyone wants something bad enough and works hard enough, they can be anything they want to be. No matter where they come from. I am tired of hearing excuses. Seeing the accomplishments of others, there is no excuse- and to be angry and wanting to kill all the crackers, it's those kinds of comments, and rioting and looting- are the things holding people back.
Grow up, take responsibility- and work for something positive.
Get a life.
God Bless you Mr. Caruba!

Carolyn said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Guy said...

I know ... I suppose I should have added the thingy at the end ...

Basically, I was mocking the idiots who said those things. I certainly hope they don't really speak for the black population in America as a whole, but I hope you'd agree that the comments about redistribution, made by our own President, are a little disturbing ....

AD said...

Do you have any references or support for this supposed "buyer's remorse?" Obama's job approval has been hovering around 47% for months since it declined from the post-election highs; it's vacillated only a few points up and down ever since.

To me, it looks like almost everyone who elected Obama (53% of the country) still thinks he's doing a great job.

Alan Caruba said...

@ AD
You must be living in a parallel universe. Polls aside, there is ample evidence that a lot of Americans are unhappy with Obama.

The Tea Party is evidence of that.

I noted in an earlier commentary that there is a hard core of between 25% and 30% who approve of Obama and the Democrats. No amount of evidence convinces them otherwise.