Of Politics, History, And The Future

So a blogger (apparently protesting some of the misogynistic macros aimed at Gov. Palin) gets the idea to post:

and then decides to “pull it down” but not. Because I’m hotlinking to the picture (which is still hosted on his webspace) right now. And then he tries to act like he had no idea it could be construed as a death threat. Meanwhile McCain supporters are being coached to accuse Obama of being a terrorist while they canvas neighborhoods. And McCain has the temerity to get on television and try to play the victim over these tactics being compared to George Wallace’s tactics in the 60’s? Really? Keith Olbermann had his say earlier and it was great. It addressed a lot of the issues.

But now it’s my turn. There’s been a lot of Us vs. Them rhetoric surrounding this election. And mostly I could understand the ins and outs of that rhetoric on both sides on the fence. But now? Now I’m stuck. Because a presidential candidate is really trying to say that being called a racist is worse than death threats. And that’s not making any sense to me. I sat here tonight and tried to let this all sink in, and become something I could grasp. And I cannot. Perhaps it is the historian in me, but I can see so clearly the way this could all end if we stay on this road. And it’s not a scenario that plays out well for anyone. Not for Obama and his family. Not for his supporters. Not for his opponents. Because if the United States of America is still a country where being a black man with high aspirations is a justification for murder? Then America is sick unto its soul with a terminal disease. People have asked me why I get so angry when I discuss politics. The answer to that question is very simple. It might be a minor concern for some people, but for my people? It is still a matter of life and death. Think about that the next time you discuss whether or not someone’s middle name makes them a terrorist.

35 Responses

  1. Yeah. I saw that one over the weekend, and a couple just as bad (the shoeshine boy Photoshop got linked on Alas).

    I’m not surprised. When Clinton pulled this shit, she and her followers justified it with “well, McCain’ll do worse”, and I knew at that point that she was sadly right. I’ve been waiting for this crap to start. What’s surprising me — and pleasing me — is how quickly I’m seeing people in the media and elsewhere realize it for what it is and call him on it. And I’m kind of astonished, but it isn’t spreading beyond the nutwing base. By this point I thought we’d be seeing PUMAs marching in the streets with nooses themselves, but so far it’s only the usual idiots that we already expect this kind of behavior from. And the polls are still favoring Obama.

    Still… I can’t relax. I can’t start to feel secure in an Obama victory. Because I know right now every homegrown racist terrorist in this country is gunning for the man, and bad Photoshops are the least of what they can do. You can’t predict crazy. I think they’re going to try something big soon.

  2. […] @ The Angry Black Woman posts an extremely powerful entry about the ugly turn this presidential campaign has taken, and […]

  3. Very nasty on both sides as far I can see….

    The dark cynic in me understands why Political Byline posted it -to draw attention to the manure throwing festival this election has become. (I am using safe words because I try not to use profanity.)

    I have seen “Run Obama Run” t-shirts with a KKK members running after him. I understand that a Palin look-alike is now starring in a pornographic film. I have seen Obama Waffles ads (like Aunt Jemima) and I have read where those on the left are calling Palin a fetus worshipper.

    I am a liberal Republican in Illinois who has a lot of respect for Obama. I personally think he is a good person. But his loyalty will lie with his party…like everyone else – his unbridled support of the abuses in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with a skyrocketing number of forecloures in Chicago-Cook County is one of many reasons I cannot vote for him.

    Though I am fairly sure he will get elected, and this will indeed be a historical move in the U.S., I would encourage those of you who support him to guard your hearts and expectations and not expect him to turn any water into wine in the next four years.

    I have decided to check out of this election – I am filling in the name of a trusted coworker in the ballot.

    In the meantime, I do my best to heed the words of French Sociologist Jacques Ellul: “Think globally, act locally.”

    All The Best to each of you….

  4. Even on the California GOP website there was this:

    Sacramento County Republican leaders Tuesday took down offensive material on their official party Web site that sought to link Sen. Barack Obama to Osama bin Laden and encouraged people to “Waterboard Barack Obama” – material that offended even state GOP leaders.

    Their freakin OFFICIAL website.

    The point is to have their base so crazed that someones of them will do exactly what they want — election by other means, as they say war is of diplomacy. That’s exactly what They did to Lincoln, and thus the monstorous Andrew Johnson took the White House. They lost the war so they killed the POTUS.

    We learned our lessons from the assassination of Lincoln. We aren’t going to allow you to do this again.

    Love, C.

  5. Adam – if it’s your concern about Fannie/Freddie that’s keeping you from supporting Obama, would it interest you to know that it was private sector loans, not Fannie/Freddie loans, that triggered the crisis?

  6. I would like to point out how classy Obama is in all of this.

  7. Elusis,

    Thanks, I will read further on the link you provided.

    I agree that the mortgages were filtered primarily through the private sector – the culprits are many. The extent of the pressure placed upon the private sector by Fannie/Freddie is in dispute though. Further, the numbers showing how far they had their hands in this crisis are ambiguous. They are not (nor were they ever) as tightly regulated as we were led to believe. Also, as Yoda would say, “With campaign contributions to both parties, extremely generous they were”. Everyone was eating from the trough on this one.

    The fact that their stock went from $59.00 a share to $1.15 in less than a year is another crisis in an of itself.

    Elusis, it seems every elected official on both sides was in their pockets- so it is not my intention to over-emphasize Obama’s involvement. I would love to be able to say, “I’ll eat my words…I will print out the blogs I have written on and eat the paper…if Obama is better than the rest.” I had the “audacity to have a little hope” that the “O” man from my home state was a little different. I am 34 years old – I should have known better than to allow myself to expect that.

    Nonetheless, I will probably remain cynical on politics, but my hope in individuals (conservartive and liberal) who make a difference in their communities still inpsires me with awe.

    Mike Huckabee, like him or not, wisely noted: “The smartest and best people in our country do not run office”. I believe he is right.

    Blessings to you, Elusis.

  8. […] Karnythia: Of Politics, History, and the Future […]

  9. AMEN!

  10. Because if the United States of America is still a country where being a black man with high aspirations is a justification for murder?

    Well, it is. I’d like to make some encouraging comment about how things are changing and the guy that did this is just a lunatic, but the fact is that this is not just one lone nut. He’s arguably more extreme than the average Republican but he’s not qualitatively different from them–or from some of Clinton’s statements. Racism: it’s not just for Republicans anymore. Gah. I’d say it was time to take an antidepressant and move to Canada but it’s not clear to me that Canada is any better.

  11. Our own racist political flier from Southern California:

    Here’s the latest racist flyer against Obama in the Inland Empire. It was manufactured by an Inland Republican women group.

    This article was written about it.

    It’s a picture of a food stamp with “Obama bucks” on it. Obama has donkey ears and a donkey body and there’s pictures of watermelon, fried chicken, Barbeque and Kool-Aid on the food stamp.

  12. Excerpt from article:

    She said she doesn’t think in racist terms, pointing out she once supported Republican Alan Keyes, an African-American who previously ran for president.

    “I didn’t see it the way that it’s being taken. I never connected,” she said. “It was just food to me. It didn’t mean anything else.”

    She said she also wasn’t trying to make a statement linking Obama and food stamps, although her introductory text to the illustration connects the two: “Obama talks about all those presidents that got their names on bills. If elected, what bill would he be on????? Food Stamps, what else!”

    Club Member Cries

    Sheila Raines, an African-American member of the club, was the first person to complain to Fedele about the newsletter. Raines, of San Bernardino, said she has worked hard to try to convince other minorities to join the Republican Party and now she feels betrayed.

    “This is what keeps African-Americans from joining the Republican Party,” she said. “I’m really hurt. I cried for 45 minutes.”

  13. Is it really that hard to admit you’re a bigot? I mean really, what kind of mental leaps are required to think you can send this crap out and not be a racist?

  14. That is some SERIOUS white privilege and race-denying going on in that woman’s frantic back-pedaling.

  15. A woman I worked for is friends with Sheila so I know her.

    The Inland Empire is such that NOW members use racial slurs as they did in a case where a Black woman died from a botched abortion from a doctor who knew he “grabbed bowel” (meaning he ruptured the uterus) and then had her discharged. She died by the time she got from Moreno Valley to Barstow. So it’s hard to just point fingers at Republicans and McCain supporters which I’ve seen though they are deserving. There’s Democrats that have that same mentality too. I’m sure the IE is not unique in that way unfortunately especially after reading about other places including in blogs.

  16. That is some SERIOUS white privilege and race-denying going on in that woman’s frantic back-pedaling.

    Yeah. The backpeddling by Whites who had whined that naming a local high school after MLK, jr. would ruin their kids chances of getting into Ivy League schools b/c the admissions folks would think they went to a “Black school” and then when the national press got wind of it, insisted it was not anything to do with race.

  17. Thank you, karnythia, for saying everything I’ve been feeling. We’re in serious trouble, and I’m praying every day that we don’t continue down this path.

    But I think it’s too late, and POC better get ready.

    I am seriously getting into “tears in a bucket” mode with white people behind this. I do anti-racism work, and I think I may be taking a sabbatical! People are doing/saying incredibly racist things, then get to turn around and say it’s not–so it’s not? I call BS.

    NOW is problematic on so many levels, and is part of why I won’t label myself a feminist. Womanism conveys much more.

    @Adam: Thank you for the discourse. This is all I really want from people, honest-on-the-facts-and-issues discourse. Not fear and hatemongering, party lines, character-driven bull. We may not agree ideologically, but I share your cynicism, and pray that we in the grassroots will be the change we seek. This is how human connections are made.

    I won’t write anyone in this time, but in years past, I’ve voted for my mom for President…even with the Clinton years. I know she gets at least 3 votes every four years. This will be the second time I won’t vote for her.

  18. Re: Obama’s food stamps flyer: If the statistics are true and the number of white people on welfare outnumber blacks and other minorities, Diane Fedele will be wiping egg off of her face for a long time.

    Also, just because you’re white and voted for Alan Keyes doesn’t make you a non-racist. It makes you crazy.

    Part of me thinks that the more this offensive stuff keeps being publicated, the more people might wake up and realize how desperate and un-educated some of these detractors are.

  19. I thought of Fedele’s comment about Keyes as a variation of the “I have a Black friend” justification for racism.

    Part of me thinks that the more this offensive stuff keeps being publicated, the more people might wake up and realize how desperate and un-educated some of these detractors are.

    I wish for this too, but I’m not hopeful about my region. Racism’s not very subtle here in the way that many people have written it off as being subtle (though I’m not sure that it’s all that different from other places). There’s nothing subtle about going out of your house and your business and finding slurs and swastikas spray painted on your property and that happens not all that infrequently. Lots of White supremacist gangs too, mostly cells.

    The election is exciting and ground breaking and it’s positive for that and it’s negative as well b/c of all the behavior that’s coming out in the campaigning and elsewhere tapping into what’s here all along.

    NOW is problematic on so many levels, and is part of why I won’t label myself a feminist. Womanism conveys much more.

    I agree on NOW. Feminism comes with too many litmus tests for one thing. You’re too busy being asked to prove you’re a real one when you can be working with women on issues including those not on the feminist banner. This election could put some issues in the balance but others impacting women it will be business as usual.

  20. Brownstocking:

    You and I are probably very much alike.

    You stated: ” We may not agree ideologically, but I share your cynicism, and pray that we in the grassroots will be the change we seek. This is how human connections are made.”

    Yes…..you nailed it!

    Eight years ago, I worked in an agency that did prevention education and crisis care in the areas domestic violence, sexual assault, and neglect. I found that I differed ideologically from many of my peers who did this work….but….where the rubber hits the road, we were striving for the same result in our work together – the safety of people who are vulnerable to crimes.

    On the same note, I also did remodeling and maintainence work for a “Crisis Pregnancy Center” – a center that was started to encourage women in crisis to have their babies and provide options and resources for support.

    In both settings, I was treated with kindness and respect. I admire the work done in both settings.

    One may ask me, “But who’s side do you take?” My answer to that question is this: ” I would only share my deep personal view if I thought it would leave you better condition that when I found you. I am more concerned about what it is that I can DO for you that will give you encouragement, relief, and hope. ”

    Even if I disagree (passionately) with someone, I will do my best remain reserved unless I am asked….or pressed. I try very hard not to use the anonymous blog forums to vent either. Sometimes I have crossed the line and ruffled raised some tail feathers.

    One more note – seeing former presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton involved in so much charitable work together is one (though watered-down) example of how people of different political persuasions can work together successfully.

    All Yours…..

  21. PLEASE, ABW!! Do NOT let yourself be fooled by Adam!!! I am a white woman who grew up and studied and lived with people like him. He is a racist at heart; don’t let yourself be fooled for a second. I smell people like him from a mile away, because I come from them. He is NOT just being cynical; trust me.

  22. @Bree,

    You are right there are more white people on welfare than blacks but you would never know that by the way poverty is discussed.

    One of things that bothers me the most about these racist attacks is that they make them and then turn around with a phony apology…”Oh yeah we didn’t know this was racist and If we offended anyone we’re sorry.” This is B,S because the whole intent was to be racist to begin with. If you didn’t know that putting a black man in a picture dressed as donkey surrounded by chicken and watermelon was racist then you don’t belong in any position of power..

  23. Kat,

    My goodness, that is quite a judgment call to make. Moreover, you make quite a claim by telling others what the condition of my heart is. You can discern all this from a blog fourm?

    While I believe this is the first time I have ever received that label from anyone, I am interested to know what it is that I said that prompted your accusation.

    I am very curious to know what exactly you mean when you say you are one “who grew up and studied and lived with people”….like me. Or curiously, what you meant when you said that you come from “them”. What sort of people are you referring to, Kat?

    I look forward to your repsonse.

    Oh…and every blessing to you as well.

    Adam

  24. This is utterly repugnant. Both John McCain and Sarah Palin pampering to racist bigots. Are their numbers so great that McCain feels obliged to pamper to these types?

  25. Hi I found your blog through http://www.blackwomenblogs.com and I have to tell you that I live your frank community. Keep up the great work, I will be a regular.

  26. I’m a Black woman and I live in a blue state. I am really considering hiding out at home for a few days after Obama wins the election.

  27. Adam, you seem to think the ugliness is equal on both sides, as if calling Palin “a fetus worshipper” is even remotely similar to the horrific racism targeted at Obama. Your first statement alone sent off my racist-alert sirens, honestly. There is no comparison at all. The Obama family has suffered horrendous racism throughout this entire election and calling someone a fetus worshipper is not even in the same ball park of ugliness. If you think it is, you are clueless.

  28. I mean look at what you compare. A picture of Obama running from klansmen alongside of someone calling Palin ” a fetus worshipper.” LOOK at that goddamn comparison. You are talking an IMAGE seething with hate and traumatizing history, an IMAGE that is equal to a physical punch in the face to any person of color who gets assaulted by it in public and you are comparing that to a stupid playground insult that means pretty much nothing, no historical context of murder, trauma, genocide, etc. How dare you compare those two in one paragraph as if it proves to all of us how damn sad the whole election is and “cynical” we should be alongside you. Pah-lease.

  29. These people have pulled out every play from the South’s War of Aggression, just as they did post the Civil War with their various strategies of re-oppressing African Americans ranging from sheriffs getting bounty for arresting a man for being black and giving him to a local labor broker to Jim Crow laws and the KKK. Woodrow Wilson codified it.

    It took the Voter Registration and Civil Rights acts to lift that. And again this was accompanied by the same rhetoric, behaviors and thinking by the same people, that hate, visible on their faces, voices, and speech, witnessed around the world to our national shame.

    Then we got yet another wave of oppression and demonization with the funding of hate radio, the radical rightwing xtian groups and Reagan’s unleashing of Atwater and what is called ‘dirty tricks,’ including the demonization of perhaps the most powerless person in the world, the unwed teenage mother.

    Now we’re having a new movement countering that cynical manipulation by the neoCONS, which hopefully will bring an African American to the White House — which is only right to happen, because, if you really look at the cultural history of this nation, it is made from African roots. So again we’ve got this new wave of of the same hysterical racism, bigotry and division.

    This happens over and over again in this nation. It’s the history that isnt’ written, isn’t taught. And they always behave and talk and express themselves the same way.

    Love, C.

  30. Davka,

    I cited what I see to be the ugliness from the extremes of both sides (racist imagery, pornography, and name calling). – not necessarily the moderates on both sides. Because I know one or two things about our nation’s racial history, I can see how you received my comments. I suppose I could have arranged my facts differently above to make my point, but I am not professional writer.

    And it is not my intention to pit historical racism against sexism either. I do know that when Obama was asked to define evil he cited both as examples – and I agree with him there. (Though I think the intersectionality of the two are often ignored.)

    I do not liken the label “fetus worshipper” to a mere playground insult .This ignores the moral complexity behind another very charged issue – no matter where one stands on this issue.

    I will acknowledege this, I am realizing how much more important the political process is to many people than it has been for me. Alright, I can see where I have had the convenience (perhaps because I am a white male) of being a cynic and voting for a coworker instead. For me, it was never here there nor there no matter who was elected. But that is not the case for many people.

    Also, in the spirit of honesty, I would never suggest that my attitude toward politics is right. Always open to correction….or at least I try to be.

  31. Adam,
    I agree with you that “fetus worshipper” is an ugly term (although it doesn’t have the violent history and connotations of some of the insults lobbed at Obama). However, most of the “Palin as sex object” stuff I’ve seen (the porn, the MILF comments) has actually come from the right, not the left.

  32. One more item…

    Here is where I think we can agree (at least I hope we can):

    It is morally appalling when people promote racist garbage, pornographic and sexist filth, and empty the dignity out of very charged issues under the guise and pretext of free speech and art – and I suppose I could have just was easily opened my initial entry with that statement.

    Oh..and Kat. The other I asked my wife of 13 years(who is a woman of color) to read your comment about me. She wanted to me tell you, ‘Thank you for the good laugh.” ; )

  33. This dude is as passionate as O’Rielly ! The last 25 seconds were intense, had me a little scared.

  34. As long as everyone leaves the discourse no worse for the wear, that, in these times, feels like a victory. Adam, you and I have done similar things, and I, like you, am treated with respect and humanity in my dealings.

    I tend not to personally share my politics outside of work, because what I do is political, so it’s like bringing work home. I get energy from my blogs and web communities to help me not feel alone out here. Besides, people tend to not want to really engage with “other” opinions. So I find your addition to this conversation refreshing. If you can acknowledge your privilege, I can definitely acknowledge my pessimism.

    Cheers.

  35. I do not want to take more space than necessary, but I feel owe this to those of you who support the Democratic ticket. I want to bring a little piece of my home-life onto this forum.

    Last night I was telling my wife how I felt that it does not matter all that much who gets elected as I am not personally impacted. The room went silent. As my wife was hanging up one of my shirts she said, “Do you remember the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999 signed by President Clinton?”

    A very slow, “Yeeaah” rolled out of me.

    The she looked at me. And, if I am not white enough, I think I went completely pale. I said, “My Lord and God, that bill created the job I have now – the one I have been working for the last eight years.”

    In her post above, Karnythia said, “People have asked me why I get so angry when I discuss politics. The answer to that question is very simple. It might be a minor concern for some people, but for my people? It is still a matter of life and death.”

    Let me throw in that I think there a lot of people who also fail to understand how the political process affects their lives. And I realize a little more that I do no one any favors by venting unbridled cynicism.

    A respectful Japanese bow to all….

    Adam

  36. C:

    About Lincoln… Everyone does know that the Emancipation Proclamation only free the slaves in the states that “left” the Union. Right? I know this is NOT taught in schools… We should, however, continue to look for the truth. See the wikipedia entry for Emancipation Proclamation and read through the whole section. Many scholars disagree over the reason for and Lincoln’s beliefs. My thought? There is one race–the human race. Everything else is just a decoration :)

    Bree, you stated, “This is B,S because the whole intent was to be racist to begin with. ” I agree that there is plenty of prejudice (nobody is perfect, and your “color” has nothing to do with whether you are prejudiced or not…). However, I am often mistaken when I assume my wife had some intent with a comment she made when, in fact, she didn’t mean what I “got.”

    I get worried when we start telling people what others are intending. Let their words speak for themselves, and let us worry about not letting “them” (whoever “they” are) control our emotional state… Let us just put our words out there and let them speak for themselves as well.

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