September 29, 2009
Less then four months into the presidential administration of Barak Obama, two Republican Governors publicly contemplate having their states secede from the United States in response to what they characterize as Obama’s big socialistic government interventions! These Republicans are literally contemplating moving out of the neighborhood (country) when the first black man to integrate this, previously whites only neighborhood (office of the presidency) moved in, and our celebrity media doesn’t know what to think of this revealing historical re-enactment! A cynic (or an objective journalist) might suggest that the previous President’s requirement that National Guard Soldiers who were forced to do long tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan amounted to redirecting a state militia to a federal purpose and that it was that President’s policies that should have caused these same Republican Governors to have their states consider seceding from the union! But as the spokes models who cover our politics surely know, their reaction to this episode of federal encroachment was to praise the Republican President’s policy! At first glance, this appears to be nothing more then hyper partisanship and its constant companion; hypocrisy! Barak Obama isn’t the first Democratic President to be accused of big oppressive government overreach, but this is the first time I can recall a retaliatory threat of succession since before the Civil War! When asked about all this talk of secession (Civil War reenactment) the overwhelming sentiment expressed by most of our political “blabberatti” seems to have been confusion as to why this President is treated so differently from all of his predecessors!
Well perhaps that’s really the whole point. Perhaps the media’s aim isn’t to help us understand these differences but rather to foster misunderstanding. Is it possible that they have collectively decided that misunderstanding breed’s conflict (http://www.examiner.com/x-21075-Baltimore-Liberal-Examiner~y2009m8d28-Aint-understanding-mellow ) and conflict draws readers, listener and watchers in ways understanding simply can not! Is it possible that our journalists don’t ask tough questions because they aren’t really interested in providing their audiences with the answers? Can it be that the Fourth Estate of our government is more interested in providing the American people with entertainment rather then important information?
When George W. Bush was President, he would attend “invitation only” Town Hall Meetings where only his supports were permitted to attend and if someone somehow got past the Secret Service and entered the hall wearing an anti-Bush T shirt, they were subject to be escorted out and possibly arrested! Similarly, President Obama has attended Health Care Town Hall Meetings, but those who didn’t support the President were free to attend these meetings and many did so, not only with signs that portrayed him as a Hitler-looking figure (many actually called him Hitler), but also with loaded firearms! Apparently the “Morning Meeting” hadn’t yet begun, so our trivia obsessed media continued to slumber while this bizarre departure from how the previous President was treated took place!
President Obama announced his intention to give a first day of school speech (as many previous Presidents had done), but Republicans and their supporters attacked him and accused him of attempting to indoctrinate America’s school children with his liberal socialist agenda! Third graders for the public option and fourth graders for TARP weren’t part of his speech! Nonetheless, in an attempt to ease the concerns of many of his outraged conservative critics, President Obama pre-released his message for children to stay in school and work hard. Being satisfied that he dropped his CAP and TRADE appeal to eighth graders (who are more intelligent then many Congressional Republicans), his critics relented and he was permitted to address the children! Somehow, our celebrity media refused to play “Hard Ball” with these lunatics and expose their rank hypocrisy and breathtaking stupidity, so their insane claims were taken seriously!
Are these people serious, and even if they think they are, why do our media salons take them seriously? In fact, the lack of a serious legislative agenda in the Republican’s playbook would be evident for all Americans to see if the “Will Barnacle Sephanopoulous’” of our media fiefdom would ever venture to ask Republicans a simple question. For the six years when they controlled our entire government, why didn’t they do anything about our nation’s crumpling Health Care System? If their predictions about the outcome of Obama’s plans are so dire and their interest in and policy prescriptions for this problem would be so beneficial for the American people, why did they not wield their power and implement their plans? Apparently, that’s just not the way our media talkers operate. They would much rather sensationalize the sensationally stupid (Glenn Beck) then provide the public with useful information!
Enter Birthers, Deathers, Tea Baggers, the psychotic Joe Wilson and numerous Talk Radio bombast, all with some new found gripe with the federal government, or the President that leads it. One of the many problems with this title wave of protest is that, in the most ethnically diverse America the world has ever seen, all this political noise is being generated by a racially and politically homogeneous sliver of the American people! Another problem stems from their relative silence as America lost 8 years to Bush’s disastrous and ideologically driven non-leadership! He literally “moon walked” America into this new century! These problems are exacerbated by a media who gives voice to these protesters while simultaneously ignoring their historically predictable “sameness” and how their objections just began with the ascendency of a black President! Can our highly paid and well educated media elite really not see that nearly all the aforementioned protesters are white and that the political party they support and that which supports them, has no black members in either house of Congress! If the media (or the American people) think this is a meaningless bit of trivia, they have learned nothing from and desperately need to reacquaint themselves with, American history!
Into this morass of historical ignorance comes President Jimmy Carter. As a child of the South, President Carter can see with his nearly 80 year old eyes, what our pampered media salons claim they can not. Where supporters of a party without any black elected officials and where that party is primarily based in the South (old Confederacy) and where that party’s supporters carry signs that depict the President of The United States as a savage with a bone through his nose, the Presidents race is a primary motive for their outrage! Since many of these people actually admitted to pollsters during the election that they wouldn’t vote for a black candidate, why is this not a clue as to their motivations? These voters would rather vote for candidates (for federal office) who campaign on the notion that the federal government can’t do anything right, and when they get elected they fulfill that prophecy (thereby mocking their supporters). Can the highly paid chroniclers of our culture possibly be so vested in their collective denial of race as an issue that they refuse to take these folks at their word? Rush Limbaugh, the venerable ring leader of this regressive three ring circus refers to the President as a “halfrican-American” and sings about “Barak the magic negro” and the “Wolf Gregory Brokaw’s” of our media “blabberatti” are unclear as to any possible racial motivations!
What’s going on? The first black man in American history to get elected to the presidency of the United States is compared to one of the most evil and war mongering white men in the history of the world by the same white people who supported the evil (torture is evil) war mongering white man that preceded him, and America’s pampered media salons are flummoxed by the notion that race has anything to do with their protests! This is America and the inescapable history of our nation’s reprehensible race relations is too well chronicled (as consistently relentless as it is relentlessly consistent) for our media giants’ mindless queries to be taken seriously! Now to be fair (a concept also lost on our media) in a really interesting and culturally revealing way, the racial animus directed towards President Obama is, while substantial, a non issue (unless your President Obama) because most of those who attack him because of his race would attack him for his Health Care plan (any progressive idea) even if he were white! That doesn’t mean that his race isn’t a primary motivation for their outrage, it simply means that they would have different reasons for said outrage if he weren’t black. This observation (thank you President Clinton) again demonstrates the “sameness” of the President’s racially motivated protesters with the ideology of the political party they support. This ideological brotherhood is as opposed to any progressive policy initiative as it is to minorities (except regressive right wingers like Michael “empathy on your butt” Steele) and in that regard, they are indistinguishable!
Similarly, black people and the Democratic Party have their own ideological brotherhood, but unlike the brotherhood that exists between the Republicans and their supporters, race is not a significant issue! When Michael “I’ve got the fried chicken” Steele sought to be a Senator from Maryland, he was defeated at the ballot box by a white Democrat (Ben Cardin) who was supported by over 85% of Maryland’s black voters! This oft repeated “non-racial-ized” voting pattern was replicated in Pennsylvania, where black Republican and NFL legend Lynn Swann was defeated in his bid to replace Ed Rendell, an incumbent white Democratic Governor who received the vast majority of the black vote. Notwithstanding his Hall of Fame credentials and the racial commonality he shares with Pennsylvania’s black voters, it was Mr. Swan’s advocacy for the tried, tested and failed Republican policies that sank his electoral chances with black voters. I thought about this indisputable, but universally ignored fact, when I thought about a best selling book written by Thomas Frank called “What’s the Matter with Kansas”. One of the primary reasons this compelling book could not be called “What’s the Matter with Detroit”, is that black voters, as distinguished from the overwhelmingly white and mostly poor voters who make up Kansas’ electorate, don’t vote against their own best interest regardless of the racial identity of the candidate! Of course, understanding this phenomenon and helping the American people to understand it is far too difficult and time consuming a task for our media giants to undertake! Perhaps it’s as Upton Sinclair once famously said; “its’ difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it”!
These various political “brotherhoods” being exposed, the question was whether the president’s race played a role in what we have seen from his detractors, and on that accord our media has repeated the same non-analytical failure that it indulged in during the run up to the war in Iraq! “What’s got these folks so upset” they wonder as the “Cohen Todd Mathews’” of our celebrity media desperately search for some rational answers for the actions of irrational people! Similarly, after coming to realize what actually happened to black voters in Florida in 2000 and coming to terms with what those Republicans were willing to do to seize political power, the gang who couldn’t shoot straight (didn’t even aim) nonetheless assigned full credibility to their pre-war claims! Also, in a mind numbing display of institutional non-accountability, all the media stars that hyped this disastrous “rush to war” remain media stars! They would rather devote their time to covering national security pronouncements from the newly talkative and now totally discredited Dick Chaney then analyze where he and they went wrong! Should we not demand more from our media, and after co-shepherding our nation into the nearly apocalyptic and seemingly endless national nightmare that is Iraq, shouldn’t they demand more from themselves? Do they owe any duty to our national interest (how about a little patriotism) http://www.examiner.com/x-21075-Baltimore-Liberal-Examiner~y2009m9d3-On-patriotism, or is it really all about them and their “ruffle no conservative establishment feathers” agenda?
There is barely a chapter in our nation’s post civil war history that doesn’t reveal a “chasm” between black people, Republicans and the people who support the Republican’s racially regressive policies. When President Johnson warned his Democratic colleagues that they would loose the South for a generation as a result of their support for civil rights legislation, was he not correct, and why is this meaningless in the eyes of the “Joe Cookie Finemen’s” of our media universe? Given the oft repeated lessons of history and the fact that today’s Republican Party has no black elected officials in either house of Congress, how “Jordan-esk” a leap in logic does it take to assume that those who support such a party also support the clearly regressive and racially polarizing policies that party advocates? It’s now time for our pampered media elite to stand up and “Face the Nation”! Their job is to illuminate and analyze the political and cultural issues they claim to cover and to do so without regard to how ugly those issues may reveal Americans to sometimes be! He’s the President of the United States, a progressive Democrat and a black man (the trifecta for Republican rejection, obstruction and hate); even Stevie Wonder can see that!
Michael G. McFadden
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