editor’s note-the following is a transcript of the LK PodKast posted earlier today:
No bumper music today. No time for gussied up production. Some things are too important to wait on and this is one of them.
I’d be shirking my duties if I didn’t get into the ugly and nationally embarrassing unintended consequences of the Obama presidency. Unintended consequences, by the way, is just a fancy name for outcomes that weren’t expected or desired as a result of a particular action. In this case, that particular action, which is producing some putrid side effects that reflect poorly on more Americans than I’m comfortable thinking about, was the election of the first black president of the United States.
This past Sunday, Maureen Dowd, who I don’t particularly enjoy reading (I find her kind of snarky), opened the mainstream media floodgates with her piece on the racism fueling the anti-Obama movement, including the anti-health care reform protests, and the anti-government intervention tea parties, among others. A lot of anti’s.
Jimmy Carter, another character I have my differences with, but who also happens to be an 85 year old white southerner with no fear of speaking his mind, confirmed that from his vantage point, only a fool couldn’t see the racism that runs through the roots of the anti-Obama groundswell.
And then CNN picked up the ball, and they’re running with it big time, featuring a Klansman type who forgot his hood named Mark Williams. Monday they had him on a panel with Gergen and Carville; last night he went one on one with Roland Martin. The unmitigated hatred for Obama flows out of this guy’s pores, and he’s a wily, clever bastard. On TV at least, he stays millimeters and milliseconds away from dropping his euphemisms and going straight to raw hate speech. On his web site he doesn’t bother holding back. Ugly stuff.
And he’s got plenty of followers. Under the guise of representing the working stiff, and that’s his description, “the working stiff who pays the bills”, he’s tapped into a whole bunch of folks who, especially now that their personal economic outlooks aren’t all that bright, are ripe for the picking.
Which raises some difficult but necessary questions.
Who among the Obama supporters, over half of the Americans who came out to vote last November, foresaw what, in retrospect, was the very easy to predict emergence of the racism that still lies just beneath the surface of tens of millions in this country?
Did any of his supporters, of which I was one, whether they were in Obama’s inner circle, people who worked on the campaign, college students, union workers, black or white, take into account the highly combustible combination of a black president and a severe economic crisis?
And, in 20/20 hindsight, would this awareness of the almost inevitable re-surfacing of racial tensions have changed anyone’s vote, either out of fear (because Mark Williams and his crew are pretty damn scary) or out of the sad but quite possibly true understanding that the country wasn’t ready for a black president?
Clearly, racism and sexism are still running neck and neck, judging from a recent quote about Hillary attributed to President Bush by one of his former speechwriters, in which Bush was heard to say something to the effect of “Wait till her fat ass is sitting at this desk”. But there’s a precedent for Hillary; her name was Margaret Thatcher. There’s no such precedent for Barack Obama.
It’s time for all good men and women, black or white, rich or poor, Republican or Democrat, to forcefully declare that the issues before us will be debated and decided based on the merits. It’s time for all good men and women to reject catering to or cowering in the face of Mark Williams and his ilk, who are nothing but white supremacists masquerading as populists.
It’s time for all Americans to dig deep and wrench out the best in themselves, however difficult that may be while dealing with economic hardships that can easily cause them to blame others, instead of displaying the fabled American quality of picking one’s self up by one’s bootstraps and taking responsibility for getting back on the horse.
We either get civil real quickly, or get suited up for some very uncivil times ahead.
Better to face things now, or lie face down in them later.