Saturday, November 10, 2012

Hell yes, it was racist

Since the landslide election of President Obama last Tuesday (in which fifty five percent of white women voted for him) I have been inundated with comments from all my white old guy private country club republican contacts.  Perhaps the most succinct way to describe these comments is the statement repeated time and time again that the outcome is racist because 95% of African-Americans voted for Obama. One of the recipients of my blogs e-mailed me with the following question; “I'd like your comments as an "independent" on how this guy got elected.  Do you think race had anything to do with it?”  It is noteworthy that the e-mail contained a reference to a website that described a story about a “newly elected state assembly in Michigan [which] includes at least one ex-con: Brian Banks, who's been convicted eight times for felonies involving bad checks and credit card fraud, won a seat representing the east side of Detroit, Harper Woods, and the tony Grosse Pointes.”  I will leave it to the readers of this blog to determine what the reason for including that reference was and just point out that the article contained a photograph of Mr. Banks who, incidentally, is black.  I would also point out that Michigan has no ‘state assembly’, but facts do not appear to be important to the throngs that are now screaming about the racist result.
Getting back to the question, my answer is “Hell yes, I think racism had something to do with the outcome of the election.”  I think there was a tremendous backlash against voter suppression laws bringing more minorities to the polls, not fewer. Republican efforts to block the votes of minorities were attempted in a wide variety of ways; Photo IDs, deliberate misinformation as to places of polling and misprinted ballots to name, but a few. In Ohio, for example, blacks jumped from being 11 percent of the voters in 2008 to 15 percent this year after Republican government officials attempted to eliminate pre-election day voting only in cities with large black populations. The same thing occurred in Florida requiring minority voters in big cities to stand in line up to nine hours on election day in order to exercise their right to vote.  Quite frankly, any black person would be crazy to vote for the party that was attempting this crap.  Particularly when Romney, the leader of the pack, stood silently by, waiting to capitalize on the success of voter suppression.  Perhaps, the best way to understand the racist element to this election is to consider what happened after it became clear that President Obama won.  A protest by students at the University of Mississippi against the election results grew into crowd of about 400 people shouting racial slurs. Two people were arrested on minor charges. The university said in a statement Wednesday that the gathering at the student union began late Tuesday night with about 30 to 40 students, but grew within 20 minutes as word spread. Some students chanted political slogans while others used derogatory racial statements and profanity, the statement said.  Ted Nugent, the poster child for racist idiocy, tweeted his hundreds of thousands of followers “Pimps whores & welfare brats & their soulless supporters hav[sic] a president to destroy America,” and “What subhuman varmint believes others must pay for their obesity booze cellphones birthcontrol abortions & lives.”

For the last four years we have listened to this type of claptrap in a variety of forms and the results of this election brightens my heart and my mind as the citizens of the United States have overwhelmingly rejected this bigotry and hatred.
Perhaps the best advice I can give to my republican friends is the same advice offered to Americans by Justice Scalia after the Supreme Court handed the presidency to George W. Bush in 2000;   You lost so “Just get over it.”

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Human People Win

Amid all the opinionizing and speculating about why Obama won, there is little being said about who the real winners of the election are; human people, all of us, Democrats and Republicans alike.  By this I mean that the declaration by the U.S. Supreme Court that corporations are persons and, as such, are entitled to the same constitutional protections and rights enjoyed by human beings placed the character and essence of our society at extreme risk. In the Citizens Union case which held that corporations are people for the purpose of exercising freedom of speech through limitless campaign spending, our country was placed at risk of becoming a third-world banana republic controlled and manipulated behind the scenes by the likes of the Koch brothers, Sheldon Adelson, big Pharma, international gas and oil megacorps, not to mention Karl Rove and all the secret corporate donors.  I submit that the net result of this election has more to do with what real people stood to lose if Romney prevailed.  The Court as it stands now has, in reality, been the most politically activist court in the history of our nation.  In case after case, the court has swept aside precedent to effectuate a far right wing philosophy that serves no interests other than big business.  In the next four years, it appears likely that two, maybe three, seats on the Supreme Court will be vacated either through illness or ageing.  President Obama will have the opportunity to reshape the Court into a more moderate presence in our society.  The litmus test for any new Justice must be the return of sanity to the Court by reversing the ‘corporations are people’ bent that the present Court has cultivated and refined through its pseudo-intellectual reasoning process.  

Just Saying . . . 

Monday, November 5, 2012

When All is Said and Done

What is left when the show is over, when it’s time to pack up and leave the arena, after the fat lady has sung?  Will half of our population go off and sulk for the next four years if it is their candidate that loses the presidential election tomorrow?  In a very few minutes last evening, I had the snippets of a great conversation with a good friend whose thinking about presidential politics is different from  mine.  He is going to vote for Romney and I have voted for Obama.  In just a moment, I will tell you about this conversation, but first, a little background is in order.  For more than four years I have written frequent blogs about what I think and believe with regard to the two candidates.  In doing so, I have shared my efforts with a wide variety of people; those who share my beliefs and those who don’t.  It has never been my intention in doing so to simply “sing to the choir,” but to engage in meaningful discourse with those who disagree with me, not to sway their choices or opinions, but to push myself to examine my own beliefs and conclusions.  It is my fervent belief that America is truly unique, among all nations, in the zealous provision for, and protection of, freedom of speech and expression via the guarantees of the First Amendment of our Constitution.  The use of the word “zealous” is appropriate here because since 1776 brave men and women have died to create and protect this right, first among others.  My blogs have received a wide array of responses ranging from vitriolic to nonsensical to well-reasoned viewpoints very different from my own.  The good friend mentioned above is in the latter category.  On several occasions he has replied in writing with detailed, common-sensical, expressions of his views. 

My friend’s adult daughter visited with him and his wife this past week. Their conversation turned to the difference in the views and opinions he and I have on issues such as who should be the president of the United States.  His daughter expressed a degree of amazement for and wondered, in effect, how in the world the two of us could get along and enjoy our friendship, frequent golf, etc., when our views are so far apart.   In telling me about his daughter’s reaction, he started to say how it was possible because we confined the expression of our opinions to the written word.  The conversation ended abruptly at that point because my garage door opener failed and I had to tend to it.   I think the point he was making is true.  Putting ideas in writing generally causes one to be careful about what and how ideas are expressed.  In saying this I do not include the ‘monkey, n- word, Muslim/socialist e-mails that circulate continuously on the e-mail circuit.  But there is genuine value in, and respect for, sharing different viewpoints among those who can agree to disagree without bitterness or rancor.  Why is it necessary to hate the opposition?  Last night’s snippet of conversation summarizes where we all need to be; win or lose, we are all Americans and should stand as one in support of whatever candidate wins in returning this country from the brink of disaster.  We can agree to disagree and live in perfect harmony . . .  as long as the other guy gives me three strokes.

Just saying . . .