Lets face it, every President of the United States has had their detractors. With Obama however it has been down right vile and disgusting. Now, I am going to be perfectly honest in the interest of full disclosure. I am not a big fan of Obama. I just don’t feel he has been effective as he could have been. As a leader of the Executive Branch I just don’t think he has been up to the challenge. That is not the say I dislike the man. It just means that I disagree with his leadership over his terms of office. I don’t think he has done any worse than any other President and I don’t think think he will be better than any President. Specifically, I am more a “meh” on him. That is not what I wanted to bring up however.
What I wanted to bring forward is the issue that I see in today’s political arena. That is the constant angst and hatred towards a man that can best be described as adequate or at worse ineffectual. I am not talking about the normal detractors that I see in the electorate. I am talking about the down right hate that is perpetuated. Allegations of non citizenship along with claims of socialism and imperialism. Claims that only a fool would make at the best of times. So, I have spent a good deal of time and effort looking into what is at the root of the Obama haters.
It has been mentioned in the media in various forms that most of the hate directed at the President is racism. This is has met with swift condemnation from Republicans, and Libertarians and even Tea Party Folks. The funny thing is… they are both right. Technically, it is racism but the truth is the people who are pouring out this racism don’t know it is racism. To them, they see him as a threat but they aren’t exactly sure how he is supposedly a threat. They banter out things like the Federal Deficit and the Federal Dept and his Executive Orders and other such bogus examples but it ends right back at the name calling and accusations. To make matters worse the supporters of Obama, who know it is racism can’t defend against the denials because many of these folks don’t see themselves as being racist. How could you explain to someone that they are being racist when they honestly don’t believe it is racism at all.
We have been conditioned as a society to look for racism. Some times it is very easy to spot. Sporting a white hood and burning a cross is a good easy way to spot it. A person being denied work or entrance based on race is another. There are plenty of easy example of overt racism and there are even examples of covert racism but what about subversive racism? Another way of saying it would be to call it unconscious racism. Or better yet, to describe it as ingrained racism. Racism comes in many forms, like I previously mentioned but here is the kicker… In parts of this country, racism has deep seated roots that go beyond a dislike of another because of his or her race. This type of racism never rises to the surface where it can be spotted. It stays hidden deep in the recesses of the past but like a volcano you can only see the results of what happened below the surface this type is very very hard to spot and to even realize that it is happening.
Let me see if I can give you an example description. Here we have person X. A white, semi Christian male. (Semi Christian cause that is the religion he claims but doesn’t go to church regularly.) Person X, has black friends and hangs out with Hispanics and African Americans and has even had a relationship or two with females from one or both. He doesn’t see himself as a racist or a bigot. When discussions of civil rights comes up he is all for everyone being given the same rights as everyone else and is shocked when told stories of racism. Responds with, “I can’t believe that still happens in this day and age.”. Then the subject comes around to politics. This person X who normally is all for civil rights and equality turns into a flaming monster of anger at the mention of Obama. No amount of explanation will calm his fire and the more you protest the angrier he gets. Not at you, but you can see the passion of hate in his eyes towards the President. He starts making accusations and repeating the same old tired mantra of how Obama is destroying the country and leading us all to financial ruin. From there it just gets stupid as the conspiracy theories come out and eventually everyone just walks away. (At best.)
Let me be perfectly clear. I am not talking about the people who dislike Democrats cause they are Republicans or people who hate politicians in general or hate politics and think we outta drown the lot of them. No, I am talking about the folks that have that hate in their voice and the fire in their eyes. That if you say something like. “He is still your President.” it almost comes to blows.
So where does all this hate and racism come from? It comes from a past that is still divisive to this day. It comes directly from just prior to the aftermath of the American Civil War. In all respects the Civil War was a second American revolution. Southern revisionists like to make the claim that the war wasn’t over slavery, it was over States Rights. Only in a manner of speaking. You see, prior to the Civil War the power and prestige of the southern slaver owners was the daily bread and butter for them. The more slaves they owned the more powerful they appeared both financially and politically. Their self worth was as tied to slavery as the slave was bound to them. As that institution became threatened the southern elite reacted and reacted harshly. This all pretty much common knowledge but it goes deeper than just their self worth. In order to keep the institution of slavery going they had to create a culture and a sense of being that tied them to the right to own a slave. This was perpetuated not only by the slave owners but professors and preachers. All attesting to the validity of the Southern way of life surrounding slavery.
Still slavery from the time of the civil war isn’t exactly the cause of the unconscious racism I am talking about. No, it is about what was needed to protect their institution. In order to maintain slavery as a institution and a way of life it required one thing from the government, non interference. To be specific, a weak federal system. As the Federal Government began to exert its power through the Constitution it created fear throughout the South and the slave states. The expanding Federal system of government began to encroach on slavery and soon the slave states knew the time would be growing short and they had to protect the institution of slavery that they had fostered and built over the decades. You see it wasn’t slavery itself for the sake of enslaving that was the core. It was the connection to the power, prestige and economic reality that were all intertwined that set the condition for the unconscious racism we see today.
By this point, I am sure some folks are thinking that “Well not all southerners owned slaves.” They would be correct. In fact three fourths of the Southerners did not own slaves. If this subversive racism was solely based on slave ownership then the fact that it is endemic to the south but perpetuated by migration patterns and economic mobility it wouldn’t even be an issue. Remember however, that slavery itself is not the root of the racism that I am talking about. It was a society that used slave ownership as an economic engine and in turn used racism as a means to an ends to continue that social mobility that I am discussing. When the war began the build up in the South was not about protecting slavery itself but protecting the “Southern Way of Life.” and protecting the rights of the States to check the power of the Federal Government and brook no interference in the affairs of the States beyond a common defense and limited taxation policy. In a real sense the Black American became the poster child for the removal of the power and prestige of the South. That is the Southern Heritage that some like to claim. To put it in a nutshell, as someone once said to me. “A white man does not fear the black neighbor or the black shopkeeper. He fears the black man in power.”
It is this fear that keeps the racist pilot light going. It is shrouded in words like Liberty and Freedom and armed with words like tyranny and control. These people are taking out generations of angst on Obama not because he is President but because he is a Black President. They don’t hate him because he is black, they hate him because of what he represents to them. To them he could be Black or President but not both. Still don’t take my word for it. Look it up. Research what is being said and how it is being said and look at the motivations behind it. Trace it back. Trace the phrases back to that time period when the country was tearing itself apart physically. Read the period writings on both sides of the Civil War. Not the military actions or battles that many focus on today but the deep causes and roots that lay in the foundation of the war and how each side lived and how the ate and see how deep ingrained the racism through to the day was. Then realize that we are only four or five generations removed from the end of that terrible war and that the causes didn’t disappear overnight.
Finally, I want to add that not every person who dislikes Obama is a racist or is affected by this subversive racism. There are those that are and that is what we need to be careful of. Least it pass itself on to the next generation or the one after.