Playing Cards

0918091621a-small There is a tool in arsenal of the small minded politician that has a sharp edge and can be wielded with abandon when backed up against the wall.  When they can’t win in the arena of ideas or debate, it can be reached for easily, like a warm blanket armor that is stronger than steel.  And it has been brought out now in defense of the President of the United States by his supporters who, with their tiny little minds, think they are fighting the good fight.  I speak, of course, of the all mighty trump in our political card deck, the Race Card.

The card was added to the arsenal of the Democratic Party when they fought against their own after decades of being the party of race.  The party of Jim Crow, filibustering Civil Rights legislation, Separate but Equal, etc.  The country as a whole made strides against the ignorance of idea of racism and the last ones to come along was the Democratic Party.

But this wasn’t a wholly altruistic action.  The reality is that finally, the majority of people in the US started to have a real problem with people who were racist.  It was clear that after the Civil War, the majority of the people were no longer racist themselves, but they tolerated the racism in others, not necessarily overtly but in a way that said that there were more important things and we can’t tear ourselves up worrying about whether someone, in their heart, is a racist still or not.

However, finally the US got it’s collective head out of it’s collective behind and realize that the ignorance that they were allowing to exist was still tearing us apart as a nation and was unconscionable.  How could we say we were a truly free society when we allowed laws that treated individuals differently than others based on nothing but the color of their skin to remain on the books?  The answer, thankfully, was that we couldn’t.  And the people of the day fought the good fight and triumphed over evil.

But something untoward came out of that debate.  That second civil war.  The Race Card was a new tool to be wielded by the small minded man.  You see, for the card to have any power, the majority of people not only have to not be racist, but have to be aghast at the thought of any individual still holding these ignorant ideals.  If racism was no big deal then the card held no power.  It held no sway.  Calling another individual a racist (true or not) would not give you any power if they AND those around them didn’t care about it.

However, there was a catch.  Because it had power meant that few people would tolerate a racist and even fewer people would hold on to that ideology.  So calling someone a racist was a hand that couldn’t be un-played with ease.  It bypasses most people’s BS detectors because they really really don’t want to be seen as supporting such evil ideals.  In much the same way as dropping an A-bomb on a defenseless country might be seen as ‘overkill’, using the Race Card on anyone and everyone who disagreed with someone was a dangerous thing to do.

Over the years, though, it has been used in ever increasing fashion.  Not because racism is on the rise.  No, that wouldn’t work.  If that were the case, the card would hold less power, not more.  Today, with there being so few real racists in the country and willingness to support such ideals being at an all time low, it gained power.  Seductive power.  Power over your enemies allowing you to smite them without barely breaking a sweat.

And this is where we are now.  We now have a president that has some black heritage.  And while he was popular there was no issue.  But recently, the positions he has taken and decisions he has made have started to make people wary.  I wrote about how this was going to transpire during the week of his election, there was going to be entrenched opposition that he was going to have to fight not only against his political opponents, but many of the people in his own party, for a variety of reasons.  None of them were because of the color of his skin. 

His supporters are worried.  They are seeing the opposition and they can’t understand it.  It is obvious (to them) that this is how things should be, but how on earth can someone be opposed to it?  When this happened before, it was not really possible to use the Race Card en masse, it could only be brought out in sparing use on specific issues.  The Drug War was racist, the judicial system was racist, welfare reform was racist, etc.  The support or opposition for individual programs could be seen as racist.  Some on the left even tried to label the entire Republican party as racist.  Other cards had to be played.  The ‘AntiAmerican’ card, the ‘Socialist’ Card, the ‘Communist’ Card, etc.  But it wasn’t until the election of President Obama that the very act of opposing ANYTHING that a president wanted to do could be seen by the small minded politician as racist.

But that is just where are now.  It seems to start innocently enough.  I was listening to Pete Dominick and was hearing people starting to call in saying ‘The Republican Base is racist’, ‘Anyone who opposes the president is a racist’, ‘The racist morons who protested on Sunday should be shut down’, etc.  To Pete’s credit (though I feel reluctantly) he pushed back on the more upset and over the top talk of entire groups of people being racist.  It’s simply idiotic and small minded to assert that an entire group of people are all racist just because they disagree with you.  But that seemed to be what these people were doing.

That was part of talk radio though.  I have heard similar things on other left-leaning talk radio programs.  Support for Van Jones and the truther movement in whole, labeling anyone who disagrees with you as racist, celebrating the deaths of political opponents, these are things that are heard on these talk shows on the left and, in their own ridiculous ways, on the right (birthers, communists, anti-american, etc).  So when I started hearing these things I did what I normally do and just shook my head and felt sorry for those individuals, so filled with bile and hatred where their brains should be that they genuinely seem to miss the crux of the ideas that are being talked about.

But then I started hearing it from the supposed ‘pundits’ and ‘leaders’ of the Democratic Party.  That is when it started really hitting home that there was not going to be a way to put the genie back in the bottle anymore and the left had just done the political equivalent of dropping an a-bomb on Cuba (not a real threat but making lots of noise…).  And to be honest, some on the list surprised me.

Ray Hanania on the Huffington Post was one of the more major accounts, but ok, he’s just a comedian spouting on a liberal-leaning website, and badly at that.  The leaps he has to take in this article to try to equate opposition to the president’s ideals to racism are astounding, IMO.  Bad, but not enough to get too upset about.

Then there’s Keith Olbermann.  Ok, so he’s one of the smallest minded of the small minded people, but he seems to hold some sway on progressives for some reason, probably the same reason why Rush Limbaugh is popular on the right.  They both take a ‘no holds barred’ approach ag
ainst their political rivals and attempt to inject humor into the mix from time to time.  His use of the card was annoying but somewhat expected, having such a tiny little mind and all.

But then we get into current representatives for congress.  This is the part that starts to frighten me.

“As far as African-Americans are concerned, we think most of it is,” said Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas), when asked in an interview in between sessions how much of the more extreme anger at Obama is based upon his race. “And we think it’s very unfortunate. We as African-American people of course are very sensitive to it.”

Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.), chairman of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, agreed with his colleague that elements of the opposition can’t accept the reality of a black president.

You would think that these people would have more intelligence than this, to make such judgments or give them any credence will just make it harder for the president, not easier.  But worse is that they actually believe them to be true.  If you disagree, you must be a racist.

But now we see it even more troubling.  Nancy Pelosi is calling out the opposition and suggesting that they are leading the country to violence.  Knowing of course that all of the violence of the tense town hall protests have come at the hand of the left, including the ransacking of their own buildings to try to pin it on Republicans.  The incident she refers to in regards to Harvey Milk was at the hand of a fellow Democrat.  And Rep. Pelosi would have us blaming the opposition for these violent acts. 

People who make political speeches “have to take responsibility for any incitement that they may cause,” the California Democrat told a news conference yesterday in Washington.

I’ll leave aside the obvious issue with this fitting into the views of the left concerning personal responsibility.  The fact is that she is trying to demonize the opposition and, while I haven’t heard of the Race Card being played by her or her office yet, it seems that she is heading in that direction.  I just hope she has a bigger mind than some of us are giving her credit for.  Make note, however, that she has now gone from calling people who are in opposition of the Democrat’s version of health care reform “un American” and is now going even further to link such opposition to political assassinations.  So my hope is on the thin side.

However, by far the most troubling are the comments by former president Jimmy Carter.  Now, most of my respect for Jimmy Carter was lost in 2004 when he stumped for John Kerry and all Democrats.  Not that he supported him or his party, but the way he attacked the opposition.  It made me sad for a fellow former Naval Nuclear Engineer who I liked and respected as a person, but seldom saw eye to eye with on political matters.

"I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man, that he’s African-American," Carter told "NBC Nightly News."

Yet, it wasn’t racist when those in his own party held intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Bush.  Everything was A-OK then.  And thus the small mind is exposed.

Thankfully, the current president is not being tempted to use the card so freely.  In fact, I honestly feel that he doesn’t believe that the opposition he gets is based in racism, but instead believes it is based in a difference of opinion that is more prone to be more intense because of his attempt to move the status quo off of its base.  To implement real change, as it were.

Today, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Obama didn’t think opposition political rhetoric posed a danger of violence. “Passions have always been high, particularly around important issue debates,” Gibbs said. During President George W. Bush’s time in office, “passions ran high.”

Still, Gibbs said “we all have to check our emotions despite the depth of our beliefs.” On Sept. 16, Gibbs said Obama, the nation’s first black president, doesn’t believe that criticism of his policies is grounded in racial prejudice.

So, are there racists in the United States?  Of course.  Of all different colors and political persuasions.  Should we care?  Not really.  They are in the minority and they are obviously so filled with their own self-loathing and internal bile to really make much of themselves anymore.  When the society accepted racist views, it was one thing to go with the flow and be a racist because that is what society said was ok.  But now that it has been decades since it has been accepted, a real racist has to really run hard against the mindset of the country.  And the most common reason for that is an intense dislike for yourself.  Take a look at any racist and they do not just hate one race or another.  They hate anything different than themselves.  Because their own self-worth is so fragile, so on the edge of caving in upon itself and the facade that has been created inside their own minds to keep from crumbling into a heap of self-pity, that they have to project that out onto anyone who is different than they are.  To reinforce the notion that they are not as worthless as they know themselves to be.

They are to be pitied, not feared.  Despised, not hated.

But the people who use the Race Card to get their political way?  The small minded man who doesn’t want to do the hard work of winning (or losing) on real ideals?  They are the ones to be feared, to be hated.

I oppose the president in many of his initiatives, not because I am a racist, but because I have a different viewpoint.  And when I am called a racist by inclusion by these small tiny minds I will not stand for it.  I will not allow it to permeate our consciousness and I definitely will not respect the ignorant and tiny minded who think so ill of me that they don’t even care to find out what my actual opinion is before labeling me as one of a group of racists…

I choose not to play that game of cards.

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