I am, you are, we all must be racists
By Lady Liberty
When Congressman Joe Wilson (R-SC) shouted, "You lie!" in the middle of President Barack Obama's address to both houses of Congress, his outburst opened up a far bigger can of worms than mere accusations of partisanship or even rudeness. A certain faction on the left took less than 24 hours to insist that Wilson couldn't possibly have been calling the president a liar because he was lying, but rather was calling him a liar because he was black. And in America, despite being some 40 years past the civil rights upheaval that did so much for so many, the "R" word—racist—still has real teeth.
Columnist Maureen Dowd might have been the first of the most ridiculous in a column in which she claimed she could almost hear the unspoken part of Wilson's accusation. That, of course, was the part I missed, but where she believed he called America's first black president "boy." (She also claimed in the same missive that Wilson called the president a liar when he wasn't lying, although Wilson has since been rather thoroughly vindicated in that regard.)
Not many days later, an appalling exchange occurred on the Today Show. In the wake of the controversy over Wilson's remark, Today interviewed Dr. Frank I. Luntz, a Republican pollster and the author of a new book entitled "What Americans Really Want...Really." The man providing counterpoint to Luntz' opinion was Michael Eric Dyson, a sociology professor at Georgetown University and the author of "Can You Hear Me Now?" Luntz offered up a list of facts and his interpretation of those facts. Dyson, on the other hand, was rude both to Luntz and to the host of the show and made few claims other than that many, many people are racists. He not only agreed with Maureen Dowd, but said he "heard" more than the unspoken "boy." No, he heard "uppity n-----," too. And then he interrupted the end of the report by insisting that any objection to Barack Obama's programs were due to "fear of a black planet, fear of a black man."
Then came the real storm. Former President Jimmy Carter, during the course of an interview, lamented that so many people were such racists. If they weren't, how could they possibly be against the agenda of Barack Obama? He claimed his childhood in the south enabled him to know racism when he saw it, and he went on to suggest that things have improved since then but not enough. He may have been right about both of those things, but he had it completely wrong when he tried to blame racism for Obama's plummeting approval ratings or for the protests against some of his worst offenses to America and to its Constitution.
If Jimmy Carter's words accomplished anything, it was to ratchet up the rhetoric. The healthcare reform debate, already a passionate one on both sides, became further inflamed. Carter himself, meanwhile, was roundly criticized for saying such a thing. Fortunately, and to his credit, the president himself has made it clear that he doesn't think racism is at the root of the criticism being levied at him. That's probably a good thing in more ways than one since, despite the efforts of many to do just that, experts suggest that "playing the race card" in politics can be a "risky ploy."
But despite legitimate criticism and real concerns over various of Barack Obama's proposed programs, and despite the president's own insistence that such radical change is bound to generate opposition having nothing whatsoever to do with racism, the charges continue. Within the last few weeks, it's become standard operating procedure to suggest that any critic of Barack Obama anywhere is a racist.
The sad truth of all of this boils down to the fact that there really is a good deal of racism to blame for the heated exchanges of late. We all know better—at least I hope we do—than to judge others by the color of their skin. We all know better than to stereotype. And yet there's a substantial segment of the American public that appears to delight in doing just that. Yes, they're wrong to do so. Yes, they're perpetuating the practice by engaging in it. But they continue anyway without heed to the damage they're causing to those they call names, to race relations, and even to themselves. These are the people who have determined that a black man cannot be criticized for what he does because—are you ready?—he's black.
What does President Obama's heritage have to do with the fact he's ignoring the Constitution and his oath to it? What does being black have to do with the fact that he's taking our economy, our national defense, our national security, and our freedom in entirely the wrong direction? To suggest that he's doing these things because he's black is ridiculous. His critics know that, else they'd spend more time criticizing the man and less time tearing apart his ill-advised proposals. Yet his skin color seems always seems to come to the fore in the end, and that particular point isn't coming from his detractors.
I criticized George W. Bush when he was president whenever I disagreed with him. When I did, I was exercising my First Amendment right both to speak out and to petition the government for redress. Some considered me to be patriotic while I'm sure some others thought I was just plain silly. But nobody suggested that I had some kind of personal issues with the president—nor did I. But now when I criticize the president, I'm accused of being a racist! And the irony is that I've protested in some cases about identical things (the USA PATRIOT Act and PASS ID, for example).
When all somebody can think about is skin color, they're a racist. When people are treated differently because of skin color, that's racist. Isn't it racist, then, for those who want a black president to get the benefit of the doubt where his policies are concerned when they weren't inclined to do the same for a white president? In fact, isn't it racist to even consider skin color when we're talking about such color-neutral things as national security or public policy? And what about real racism? Where are all of the liberals now that a school in Arizona is actually implementing a race-based discipline policy? Apparently, they're busy in Washington calling everybody who says anything negative about Barack Obama a racist.
Since I'm going to be accused of some kind of a bias anyway, I may as well state my point in terms of color: Once and for all, and for the record, I do not oppose President Obama because he's black. I oppose him because he's red. If Obama's socialistic and communist-like goals are met successfully, it will be a black day for this country and for freedom. And that will be true for Americans of every hue and shade.
Lady Liberty, a senior writer for ESR, is a graphic designer and pro-freedom activist currently residing in the Midwest. More of her writings and other political and educational information is available on her web site, Lady Liberty's Constitution Clearing House, at http://www.ladylibrty.com. E-mail Lady Liberty at email@example.com.
Get weekly updates about new issues of ESR!