Obama’s Racial Politics
There’s been a heap of criticism placed upon President Barack Obama’s domestic policies that have promoted government intrusion and prolonged our fiscal crisis and his foreign policies that have emboldened our enemies. Any criticism of Obama pales in comparison with what might be said about the American people who voted him in to the nation’s highest office.
Obama’s presidency represents the first time in our history that a person could have been elected to that office who had long-standing close associations with people who hate our nation. I’m speaking of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Obama’s pastor for 20 years, who preached that blacks should sing not “God Bless America,” but “God damn America.” Then there’s William Ayers, now professor of education at the University of Illinois at Chicago but formerly a member of the Weather Underground, an anti-U.S. group that bombed the Pentagon, U.S. Capitol and other government buildings. Although Ayers was never convicted of any crime, he told a New York Times reporter, in the wake of the September 2001 terrorist attack, “I don’t regret setting bombs. … I feel we didn’t do enough.” Obama has served on a foundation board, appeared on panels, and even held campaign events in Ayers’ home, joined by Ayers’ former-fugitive wife, Bernardine Dohrn. Bill Ayers’ close association with Obama is reflected by his admission that he helped write Obama’s memoirs, “Dreams from My Father.”
Many Americans thought that with Obama’s presidency, we were moving to a “post-racial society.” Little can be further from the truth. Victor Davis Hanson, senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, in a National Review (1/18/2012) article titled “Obama’s Racial Politics,” says that Obama’s message about race and his charges of racial bigotry are “usually coded and subtle.” Criticizing Republicans, before a Mexican-American audience, Obama said that he ran for office because “America should be a place where you can always make it if you try — a place where every child, no matter what they look like (or) where they come from, should have a chance to succeed.” If you don’t get it, “no matter what they look like” is code for nonwhite. Hanson says that Obama’s attorney general, Eric Holder, has “found race a convenient refuge from criticism — most recently accusing his congressional auditors of racism, for their grilling him over government sales of firearms to Mexican cartel hitmen.”
Obama’s racial politics are aided and abetted by a dishonest news media. When Republican candidate Texas Gov. Rick Perry referred to “a big black cloud that hangs over America, that debt that is so monstrous,” he was dishonestly accused of racism by MSNBC’s Ed Schultz, who said, “That black cloud Perry is talking about is President Barack Obama.” Schultz omitted the second half of Perry’s quote. Chris Matthews referred to Perry’s vision of federalism as “Bull Connor with a smile.”
The media have help from black congressmen in stirring up racial dissent. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., said white presidents must be “pushed a great deal more” to address black unemployment than would a black president. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, said that argument over the debt ceiling is proof of racial animosity toward Obama. Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., said that Republicans are trying to deny blacks the vote. Rep. Andre Carson, D-Ind., said the tea party wishes to lynch blacks and hang them from trees. Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., said Perry’s job creation in Texas is “one stage away from slavery.”
All of this places a heavy burden on people who care about our nation. We must ensure that the 2012 elections are the most open and honest elections in U.S. history. Should Obama lose, I wouldn’t put it past leftists, progressives, the news media and their race-hustling allies, as well as the president, to fan the fires of hate and dissension by charging that racists somehow stole the election, thereby giving support and excuses for the kind of violence and lawlessness that we’ve witnessed in flash mobs and Occupy Wall Street riots.
Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University.