Since Joe Wilson’s idiotic outburst during President Obama’s heath care speech, there has been renewed interest in the issue of Obama’s critics being racist. The charge was leveled by Maurine Dowd and Jimmy Carter. Like many race issues, it’s set off a firestorm.
There’s no excuse for some liberals leveling the charge of racism against Obama critics. It bothers me when anyone cries “RACIST!” without any evidence. It bothers me when this comes from Al Sharpton and it bothers me when it comes from Glenn Beck. They are exactly the same in my book. Everyone needs to relax a bit and not throw around the racist work lightly.
However, the level of hatred we’re seeing towards Obama is unparalleled. Clinton did not receive this level of scorn, not even close. My most objective accounts, Obama’s policies are quite in line with Clinton’s moderate policies. Progressives are actually quite peeved at Obama for taking the middle road on too many issues. Obama is backing off from the public option in health care reform, kept Bush’s Sec of Defense, we still have troops overseas in two wars, there are still detainees in Gitmo, and we still don’t have any financial reform. Any fool arguing the Obama is an off-the-deep-end radical liberal simply ignores all facts and reality. If people were sick of “socialism” and government spending, where were all the protests when Bush pasted TARP? Where were the Hillary is a Nazi signs when she was pushing for health care reform?
The majority of Americans opposing Obama are not racist. They have some legitimate concerns. But I look at the extreme hatred coming from some on the right and I clearly see some element of irrationality. When you ask some of these nuts why they hate Obama so much, spittle flies from their mouths and they rant about how he’s a Muslim racist Marxist. This simply does not jive with any factual information at all, there’s obviously some strong bias there that affects the way they perceive Obama. I see this often, idiot lemmings carrying around Obama is Nazi signs. You can’t tell me there isn’t something in these people’s heads that prevents them from thinking rationally. I think in many cases that bias is racism.
I very much realize there was a lot of hate towards Bush. There were also strong feelings against Clinton after the Monica scandal. However, this is not irrational hatred to me because it was linked to a specific event. This is an important distinction. Much of the hate I see for Obama is linked to no specific issue, action or policy. I could also argue that much of the hatred towards Bush was based in his policies, namely his foreign policies. But when some (not all) Obama haters are asked why they dislike Obama, they can’t put their finger on anything specific. “He’s a socialist” they might say, or any other number of popular sound bites. What makes him a socialist? What has he done that’s so radically left? No Wall Street reform yet. He’s shown quite a bit of good old politician loyalty to corporate interests. If folks could better explain their issues to me, it wouldn’t be irrational hatred. But unfortunately many cannot and in too many instances we're not having a constructive discussion. In fact, we even saw this strong hatred during the campaign before Obama had done anything as a president and admittedly little as a Senator. To me, this is the difference between hate towards Clinton and Bush and hate towards Obama. Not tying this hate to any specific event makes me think there’s something else at work in their heads, some bias they can’t get past.
Some of my liberal friends need to largely keep the word “racist” out of their vocabulary and use it only when truly warranted. Otherwise it hurts liberals and Obama more than it helps. Everyone can agree that SOME people who dislike Obama are racist and I hope everyone agrees that throwing around the word “racist” with reckless abandon doesn’t help a bit. We should celebrate our common ground on this issue and move on from a pretty much petty argument about how many people are racists.