Friday, March 28, 2008

Are These Your Politics?

There are some who do not support Barack Obama who openly wonder why so many have chosen his candidacy. Of course, for some of those people the crux of their wonder is a simple differing in ideology or method. That's fair and legitimate. That's the political process. For others there is the misinformation and propaganda machine that has reared its ugly head since day one of his campaign. For the record, I think Obama has stood up to address the lies and deception aimed at him very effectively, and I think the mainstream press has done so as well, although not as aggressively as I would prefer.

The propagandists, for the most part, are of the Karl Rove school of politics. They primarily come from the scorched earth, Right wing fringe who have hijacked the Party of Lincoln and have turned the American political scene into a filthy gutter. Anyone who wonders why Barack Obama has drawn so many to him and how he survived the Reverend Wright "scandal" relatively unscathed need only understand that the promise of a higher minded leadership is the key. Wonder why George Bush has a 28% approval rating and why Congress is at 21%? Look no further than the negative tone that has been established. Make no mistake, I blame this on the Right wing fringe, but everyone has bought into it and everyone is guilty at this point.

This campaign has turned particularly ugly, however, as I think the tone is racist, xenophobic, and intolerant. It's subtle in many ways and overt in others. Republican supporters can easily stand with a straight face and shrug their shoulders asking, "What's wrong with saying his middle name?" or, "Why doesn't he wear a lapel pin?" but it's all code for "He's a Muslim. He's not American. He's not patriotic. If you vote for him, he'll sell us all out to the enemy. He's not one of us." If anyone tries to defend the Right wing propagandists on this, they're fools. I'm sorry to be so blunt and inflexible, but I've never been more sure that I'm on the right side of an issue than I am now. This is racism at its most insidious and divisive. Reverend Wright's comments were overt, over the top, out front, and non-apologetic. This campaign is covert, subtle, back region of the brain, and offensively defended as nothing serious.

Take a look at this clip, borrowed from a recent post at DailyKos:

The people who are behind this are invisible vampires, represented up front by largely anonymous Congressmen and GOP Party stooges. The reason I decided to write on this topic today is the most recent John McCain ad which breaches decency in a similarly covert and fear mongering way. Again, borrowed from a DailKos post:

Why the "American President" for the "American People" line at the end? The ONLY purpose for that strange wording is to subtly highlight that the opposition isn't American in some way. The theme of the whole ad is that McCain is a true patriot while others (specifically Obama) is an America-hater and somehow non-American candidate. It plays into all the dirty rhetoric that we saw above. It's under the radar racism.

Last word on this. I used to be a registered Independent. I always said that I'd keep an open mind about who I voted for and I believed deeply that no party held the moral high ground or the complete monopoly on solutions to America's pressing issues. I saw deep flaws in both major parties and vowed to use my vote to support the best person regardless of affiliation. I'm a progressive, but I'm also a political pragmatist in many ways. I think many people have registered as Independents along similar lines of thinking. That said, the Karl Rove brand of politics and the neocon brand of hijacking our government that has damaged our nation and the common people of America has, perhaps, permanently pushed me to the Democratic Party. I see the fight, at this point, as a battle to make one of the parties more representative and less divisive. The Democrats, for all their flaws, stand closer to the America that I love than the undead that have hijacked good conservatism in the GOP. This is that battle in its most glaring form.


Peter Chu 朱澤人 said...

I am really surprised at the subtilty of some Americans' racist tone. These racists don't blatantly say they don't want to vote for a black man; they say they don't want to vote for a "Muslim." It seems like in America, racists use religion to cover their bias and prejudice.

In Taiwan, people didn't regard me as part of them because my grandparents came from China and I couldn't speak Taiwanese (which is different from mandarin). In Indonesia, people didn't think I was an Indonesian because of my skin color. In China, people despised me because I was born in Taiwan and Taiwanese cheated money from China (which is partly true because Chiang Kai-shek carried all the gold bars in mainland China to Taiwan during the civil war in 1949).

Racists use the difference of languages, skin colors, and birth places to show their superiority to memebers of other racial groups. But using religion as a disguise of racism is something I seldom see in East Asia.

Fortunately, Obama is a Christian, not a Muslim. Is there any atheist as the President of the United States in the past?

Mike Plugh said...

Every American president has been a Christian of one kind or another. In fact, I believe every American president in the future will also be a Christian. The roots of the American tradition are too connected to the Christian ideology to compromise.

The problem with modern racism is that it is altogether subtle. Instead of saying, "I won't vote for a &^%&^%", which is not acceptable in modern America, racists use innuendo to get across the same message. Innuendo is worse than overt racism because it works subconsciously on our connection to prior cognitive codes related to fear and hatred. It weasels its way into our minds and plants itself without active participation or critical thinking.

That's the brilliance of the modern racist and the tragedy of our society.