Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Playing the Race Card to Stifle Debate

Let me say two things at the start of this little tirade.

1) I am not a fan of Barack Obama. Not even a little. I have yet to find a policy area in which he and I agree. I do not believe that my opposition to the president has anything to do with his race.

2) I think Joe Wilson was way out of line to shout "You lie" during the president's recent address. That kind of thing usually causes a backlash and it has in this case. It was wrong and foolish to stray from civility.

But the backlash to Wilson's comments have become startling and open a can of worms I would like to address.

I think there is an attempt on the part of the American left to limit the ability of conservative Americans to dissent from the president's policies by playing the race card. The left wing has been making shrill accusations of their own, intimating that the motive for Wilson's statement and last week's "tea party" in DC was racial in nature.

Maureen Dowd began the foolishness on Sunday in the (surprise) New York Times when she wrote, "I've been loath to admit that the shrieking lunacy of the summer ... had much to do with race, but Wilson's shocking disrespect for the office of the president -- no Democrat ever shouted 'liar' at W. when he was hawking a fake case for war in Iraq -- convinced me: Some people just can't believe a black man is president and will never accept it." She also wrote that Wilson "clearly did not like being lectured and even rebuked by the brainy black president presiding over the majestic chamber."

So, opposition to Obama is rooted in people not wanting to be told what to do by a black man? Does she have any evidence that Wilson is a racist? Does she offer any? In the absence of any evidence to support her claims, I am left with the conclusion that this is an ingenious way to stop people from dissenting from the president's viewpoints - a blatant attempt to intimidate the opposition. Note how she describes the opposition to the president's policy, "shrieking lunacy."

During the runup to Wilson's rebuke on the House floor this week, a Democrat from Georgia, Rep. Hank Johnson, accused Wilson of lending aid and comfort to the KKK. He warned that if Wilson did not receive a rebuke, people would don "white hoods and white uniforms again" and start "riding through the countryside." Here is his full comment. "He did not help the cause of diversity and tolerance with his remarks -- if I were a betting man I would say it instigated more racist sentiment. And so I guess we'll probably have folks putting on white hoods and white uniforms again and riding through the countryside intimidating people. ... That's the logical conclusion if this kind of attitude is not rebuked, and Congressman Wilson represents it. He's the face of it."

Why is it that so often, calls to "civility" are only directed at one side. Interesting that Wilson was rebuked, but this kind of race-baiting charge is accepted without question.

The capper, of course, was the comment of that great Baptist statesman, held up as the model of virtue and civility, Jimmy Carter. He said, "I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man, that he's African American. I live in the South, and I've seen the South come a long way and I've seen the rest of the country that shared the South's attitude toward minority groups at that time ... and I think it's bubbled up to the surface, because of a belief among many white people, not just in the South but around the country, that African-Americans are not qualified to lead this great country."

Again, he offers no evidence to support this harsh accusation. Opposition to the president is racially motivated because Jimmy says so.

Here is my thesis: the American left wants to intimidate the opposition into silence. If you do not support Barack Obama, you are a racist, even if you do not see it. You are supporting the efforts of the KKK and advancing racism in the land.

I say, do not listen. Do not be intimidated. If you do not like the policies of Barack Obama, speak out. Give reasoned, articulate expression to your opposition. Don't get angry and yell and shout - that just feeds into those who would play the race card to intimidate you. Do not let Jimmy Carter stop you from speaking out.

I do not care if Barack Obama is black or white. I care that he is plunging our nation into a debt load from which it may never recover. George W was criticized for driving the nation into huge debts in the order of about 400 billion a year. The debt next year is estimated to be 1.85 TRILLION dollars.

I do not want our nation's healthcare system to be socialized or even some kind of system like that. The government has not run anything well except an army (and sometimes, it has trouble with that).

My opposition to the president has little to do with the color of his skin. I oppose abortion, so I have to oppose Obama. I cannot understand why the government is giving people "cash for clunkers" when we are already drowning in debt. I think "cap and tax" is a bad idea.

If you like Obama, that is your right. I oppose his policies and the direction he wants to take America. And I will not let Jimmy Carter, Hank Johnson and Maureen Dowd intimidate me into silence by accusing me of racism.

It is about bad policies, not skin color.

(All the quotes here were pulled from news reports on the story)