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Fear of Health Care Reform or Fear of Reparations?

August 27, 2009


By Thought Merchant

In the wake of the election of America’s first Black President, right wing media figures are using the most disgusting race baiting tactics to arouse strong distrust and dislike for an Obama agenda that is neither radical in its nature, especially considering the fiscal action needed to save this economy, nor extensively intrusive in scope. This is particularly true when one considers the invasions of privacy and disregard of constitutional liberty perpetrated by the preceding Bush administration. Moreover, the elements of the current agenda that raise some of the greatest ire, such as the TARP funding, the AIG bail out, and subsidizing of auto manufacturers started under that same Bush administration. Yet when this corporate welfare was started by Bush you never heard the current level of vitriol being spewed by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck or Sean Hannity. Are we then really to assume that this right wing outrage is simply about preserving the integrity of the Constitution against encroaching government programs like perhaps, Health Care Reform? Surely not.

The tone of the outcry at the current health care town halls, and the complaints about Obama’s legislative agenda may illustrate sincere concern by some segments of our society. Americans fear expansive government, and the deficit the country is facing is reason to give pause to anyone who cares about their children’s futures. But for conservative media types the goal is to paint this Obama agenda in a way that appeals to the greatest fears and suspicions about having a Black man in the White House. The fear is that this Black President would try to do something to disturb what some perceive as the “natural order of things” when it comes to the color of those “they think” should receive the greatest economic benefit from our nation. Basically, Beck, Limbaugh and their ilk want White America to believe this Black President has it out for them and he’s coming after their property and their rights to “pay back the Black man” for the wrongs he “thinks” were done to him.  Beck has already stated that he believes Obama “has a deep seated hatred for White people or the White Culture.” But the direction his vile rhetoric is going in is best stated in the quote from this piece where Beck states:

“Obama’s congressional priorities were driven by his support of reparations and the desire to “settle old racial scores.”

Furthermore, Limbaugh echoes the sentiment by having said on his radio show that:

Obama “is the greatest living example of a reverse racist.” And that, “Obama’s entire economic program is reparations.”

Such words play into the worst paranoia of certain members of our society, while simultaneously painting an image that even a man as accomplished as President Obama can’t escape the racist stereotype some paint of African Americans as always wanting a government handout, or just waiting around for a welfare check.

The difference in opinion between many African Americans and some Whites in this country regarding the role of the Federal Government stems less from a desire for a government handout, but more from the fact that for Blacks the Federal Government has often been the last resort in defense against the domestic terror inflicted against them by state and private actors through Jim Crow Segregation and the racial violence that existed throughout the 100 years after emancipation. Even after the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments were passed, which freed Blacks, made them citizens, and gave them the right to vote–in theory–100 years later the Civil Rights Movement had to occur to provide the impetus for the legislation that gave Blacks the basic rights to be treated like human beings in this country.

So when we watch the health care debate unfold before us, let us be sure not to be swayed by those who say its wrong to assume this uproar is motivated by more than just concern for the nation’s future. If that was the case, where were all these citizens with AR-15’s and hand guns at town hall meetings when Bush was taking this country to the brink of destruction?  Maybe they were to busy waiving their flags with their arms while Bush acted like he was stomping on the Constitution with his feet.


9 Comments leave one →
  1. August 27, 2009 3:00 pm

    For the most part, members of the GOP have always been good at changing the conversation by presenting opinions as facts and by using catch phrases to counterpoint opposing policy (expect for poor brother Steele). They did it during the health care reform debate in the ’90’s (i.e. “Hillary Care”), they did it during the Estate Tax debacle (i.e. “Death Tax”), and their doing it again with the HCR debate now (“Obama Care,” “Death Panels,” “Nanny State,” “Socialism”)…

    All of these are simply code words. Expose the misogynistic, rascist, and classist code words for what they are, then maybe, just maybe, people will start thinking for themselves and learn to dismiss the GOP’s fascination with the hyperbole.

    Twitter: @taralconley

  2. August 27, 2009 3:07 pm

    “The difference in opinion between many African Americans and some Whites in this country regarding the role of the Federal Government stems less from a desire for a government handout, but more from the fact that for Blacks the Federal Government has often been the last resort in defense against the domestic terror inflicted against them by state and private actors through Jim Crow Segregation and the racial violence that existed throughout the 100 years after emancipation.”

    A new perspective that I lacked before this article. Thank you.

  3. August 27, 2009 3:27 pm

    The disgraceful race-baiting,angry,paranoid,hateful filth that Fox News and the rightwing radio-freaks like Limbaugh,Levin & Savage spew, is the most hurtful and dangerous element of our modern society. These talking monsters are inciting violence and endangering the safety and freedom of the rational voice of dissent in this country- The far left,of which I consider myself to be a part of, can only assume that all members of the GOP are racist xenephobes if our only experience with those from the other side of the spectrum is through the news outlets,TV,radio and internet,are the voices of Glenn Beck,Sean Hannity,Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh. Where is the reasonable voice of dissent that made this country great? The Sarah Palins,Dick Cheneys and Joe The Plumbers paired with the insanity from Fox News will ultimately destroy the two party system . Censorship is wrong and I’m not proposing that as an answer but the single voice of insanity that the right speaks with is really a danger to the thing they claim to love so much-our country.I love your beautifully written blog.

  4. brae permalink
    August 27, 2009 3:45 pm

    Nice image of Bush stomping on the Constitution. Sad that it’s so accurate! Thanks for reminding us things aren’t always what they seem and encouraging us to look at the real source of the right-wing’s ire.

  5. Streetz permalink
    August 27, 2009 5:32 pm

    This is a different perspective of the issue and you stated your opinion well. I could never for the life of me, understadn how people could slay Obama for everything but the GOP and everyone else was hush hush when Bush was doing him with no backlash other than from the left?

  6. August 28, 2009 7:38 am

    I am worried that the progressives are taking the country in the opposite direction that the founding fathers had intended.
    I cant comment on race baiting and code words because I dont know enough about either topic that would make sense for me to speak about.
    Am I wrong in assuming that people supporting the progressives on Both sides of the aisle are wanting a form of government that is more like an Oligarchy rather than a Republic.
    If so then all I can say is I hope we can agree to disagree.
    I believe the less the government is involved in our lives the better.

  7. Don Smith permalink
    August 28, 2009 7:49 pm

    A serious lack of critical thinking has led to your Beck’s, Limbaugh’s, Hannity’s, etc having successful careers. American’s continue to give up their two most precious resources: free will choice and the ability to think!!!

  8. N. Parrish permalink
    August 30, 2009 9:02 am

    I really question if reparations is “the” issue that this guerilla group of right wing pundits is really concerned about or if they are simply using the issue of reparations as a centrifuge to attack the Presidency simply because reparations is a galvanizing point.

    Let’s face it, some people would rather be a part of the ruling class even if they disagree with how that class is ruling.

    I believe that the rhetoric being spewed by this small contingency on the right is motivated by an underlying desire to not be outdone, out classed or out presided by a smug, cool, charming and engaging fellow of questionable persuasion. For if President Obama and the Democratic party with their liberal agenda where to succeed, what would this say about the ideology of the Republican Party and the conservative movement? Would it not bring into question everything the GOP stands for?

    For Beck, Limbaugh Hannity and there small contingency of fellow hecklers, it is best to disrupt and be disruptive to the current process than to have the foundation of their social, economic and political beliefs on which their lives and their children’s lives where built, destroyed.

    To that small extremist group, it is a zero sum game – us or them.

  9. Rick Reno permalink
    January 27, 2010 11:09 pm

    As a Tea Party memberand middle aged white guy, I listen to and admire visionaries like Herman Cain, J. C. Watts, and Peter Boulware. One other thing, when I wake up, I don’t notice I’m white – I don’t care; free your minds from thoughts of race, and focus on content of character.

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