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 tremendousbacklash 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.”