Fear of Health Care Reform or Fear of Reparations?
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.