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  1. Michael
    Michael July 24, 2010 at 2:28 am |

    I’m a wealthy white guy, but I’d like to join the black side in the coming race war, because the only one of my 8 million cousins (Irish Catholic; it’s not just that our religion prohibits condoms. We have to outbreed the Brits.) that I like is the adopted black one and honestly, lots of white people suck. Is there, like, a form I can sign?

  2. RD
    RD July 24, 2010 at 2:57 am |

    blaming him for everything from AIDS

    There are some legitimate criticisms of him around this. He has been worse than Bush in HIV funding and he has not repealed the horrible “Anti-prostitution Pledge” that is tied to PEPFAR.

  3. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. July 24, 2010 at 3:40 am |

    It is pretty weird. Part of me wants to believe that GB et al are engaged in intentional hate mongering in order to distract the administration or force the administration into a defensive posture. So they greatly exaggerate the hate movement. But because the Tea Party dominates the news cycle it also dominates the narrative even though its not much more than a several thousand people across the county.

    Not that several thousand crazy people isn’t scary…

    But in addition, the pressure of the loss of economic power and the loss of some privilege can make latent racism/sexism…less latent. IME recently people who I DID NOT expect to say or accept racist/sexist ideas have shocked me with their excuses for why they are having such a hard time finding work or more hours. Its been painful to speak to a lot of my family members and to realize that under the least amount of economic pressure they fall back onto the hate patterns of their youth. When called out, they retreat, but to hear someone I love, someone who taught me to treat people equally use hate speech is just…unbelievable.

    Whether these two things will lead to someone harming Obama, I don’t know. I agree that a lot of people are angry, but since the tea party and other extremists dominate the news its hard to know how much additional violence these phenomena have created.

  4. William
    William July 24, 2010 at 3:56 am |

    Heres the thing about Breitbart, Beck, and the Tea Party: their little echo chamber is actually bad for conservatism (not to mention the broader political discourse beyond this ridiculous right/left narrative). Obama hasn’t been a great president; he’s been disappointing in a lot of ways and indistinguishable from Bush on some very important issues. We still detain people without trial, we still torture, we’re still neck deep in two expensive wars with fuzzy mission parameters and increasing irrelevance, the economy is still weak, his handling of the BP situation was laughable, he’s broken every major campaign promise he made with regards to transparency and accountability, he promised health care reform and instead delivered watered down regulation and a huge corporate welfare system. Theres a lot to dislike, a lot to challenge, and I think a reasoned response to the Obama administration could be politically disastrous for him, given the tenuous position he’s in now. Unfortunately, people like Beck, Brietbart, the Tea Party, and Palin manage to make even as poor a president as Obama look…well…really desirable. On the left you have a subpar president on the right you have a conversation that sounds like its moderated by David Duke and Charles Manson.

  5. matlun
    matlun July 24, 2010 at 5:04 am |

    I pretty much agree with everything you write, but I have a question about Webb’s article that you use as a bad example of the current debate (“Diversity and the Myth of White Privilege”). Why do you see this article as racist? I found it a reasoned article, very far from Glen Beck/Fox level rhetoric.

    As an aside I think that the racism of Fox News and the Tea Party are symptoms of larger problems. Their whole world view seems delusional – from my European viewpoint it just strange (and scary) that anyone can take them seriously.

  6. Lisa Harney
    Lisa Harney July 24, 2010 at 5:59 am |

    matlun,

    Webb’s analysis of race in the United States is extremely simplistic and filled with cherry picked data. Why doesn’t he mention Native Americans at all? Why does he suggest that only black people experience racism, and that racism only happens because of slavery (but not, apparently, genocide)? Why does he ignore how Latin American undocumented workers are put to work for low pay in risky or dangerous conditions? Why doesn’t he talk about how undocumented workers are used to present an image of all Latin@s that encourages racial profiling?

    Why does he refer to a study conducted in 1974 and point to one group of white people that tends to have the same education as black people in the same year, but ignore the more recent story about how white people are 5 times richer than black people?

    Webb’s article shows a very thin, very selective, slice of race in the US.

  7. The Voracious Vegan
    The Voracious Vegan July 24, 2010 at 6:03 am |

    BRILLIANT. And yes, I agree completely. I seems that racism is coming out of the woodwork now, you know, since we have a Black president and live in a post-racial society and all that. *eye roll* And seeing racism in places where you least expect it, otherwise progressive organizations, etc, is so much worse than seeing it displayed in Beck’s lunatic legions. Although that bumper sticker just made me nauseous.

  8. Comrade Kevin
    Comrade Kevin July 24, 2010 at 7:40 am |

    I think most of this is being driven by a sense of impending loss, based on privilege. These people feel as though their power will be taken away and that the roles will reverse. Examine Birth of a Nation for an perfect encapsulation. I remember one of the intertitles in the film mentions something like, “The helpless white minority”.

    Another belief is that African-Americans, in particular, won’t run things as well or as efficiently, which is why Caucasians must never let “them” be in charge. This is also shown in the film, where black legislators are are disrespectful, drinking during session, and putting their feet up on desks.

  9. StellaT
    StellaT July 24, 2010 at 9:24 am |

    TRUTH. We’re in the middle of some ridiculously scary backlash right now and the Democrats are willing to roll over on Shirley Sherrod in a hot second instead of standing up to all this bullshit. Our “leadership” is a giant FAIL and they’re letting the TP assholes set the tone.

  10. Samantha b.
    Samantha b. July 24, 2010 at 9:37 am |

    Kristen J., speaking of latent -isms, it’s pretty ableist to refer to racists as 1000 “crazy” people who are “scary” because of said craziness. You know what’s scary? Having your life ripped apart by mental illness, and then having salt thrown in the wound by people who equate mental illness with the worst of human bahavior.

  11. Samantha b.
    Samantha b. July 24, 2010 at 9:57 am |

    To get back to the original point, I have to figure that racism is exacerbated by poor economic circumstances, see: the American South, Weimar Germany, 2010 Arizona (Arizona is one of the worst hit states by this recession,) etc. So the union of a black prseident with a crap economy strikes me as a particularly toxic combination. I think it may well end with a few Tea Party candidates being voted in. I tend to have faith in the Secret service’s awareness of these threats that Obama is likely to remain safe (I was at his rally in Raleigh during the campaign. There were sharpshooters on every rooftop, and this was pre-presidency.) But I can’t say I’d be shocked, honestly, if something happened to someone somehow associated with Obama. The rhetoric has just been too explosive.

  12. Cara
    Cara July 24, 2010 at 10:09 am |

    Really, matlun? Talking about how people of color who aren’t African American haven’t suffered discrimination at the hands of the U.S. government, and declaring that (poor, insufficient) attempts to level out the playing field of systematic oppression is “discrimination against whites” isn’t racist? Saying that white privilege is a “myth” isn’t racist?

    No, it’s not at Glenn Beck levels, but if you have to literally be calling for a race war before what you say classifies as racist, we’re in fucking trouble.

  13. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. July 24, 2010 at 10:12 am |

    Samantha b,

    I apologize. That was inexcusable of me. It’s something I need to work harder at and thank you for pointing it out.

  14. jaded16
    jaded16 July 24, 2010 at 10:36 am |

    Good post. I would’ve laughed at everything the BleckPoopMachine cooks up in another situation if he wasn’t serious about it. Not to mention I don’t know just HOW MANY people who watch and actually agree with him.

    *headdesk*

  15. Pug
    Pug July 24, 2010 at 10:43 am |

    The last guy who made big news, many years ago, with his theory of a coming race war was . . . Charles Manson.

    Charles didn’t have a nightly cable news show, though.

  16. scary joann
    scary joann July 24, 2010 at 11:36 am |

    Good post.
    Remember when all the magazines said that Obama meant the end of racism?

  17. Miss S
    Miss S July 24, 2010 at 11:47 am |

    It’s not legitimate, logical, or rational to blame him for AIDS simply because he didn’t provide as much funding as you would have liked.
    I’m glad to see this post. Sometimes I call the Tea Party a joke. And then I get reminded that shit like this is really and truly dangerous. Some of them are really angry and some of them appear unstable and dangerous. Harassing a disabled man? Spitting on a Congressman? It only takes one evil/prejudiced person to cause destruction for many. And the tea party has more than one.
    Arguing that white privilege is a myth is stupid and something that only a white person could argue.

  18. William
    William July 24, 2010 at 11:57 am |

    Pug: not quite true. David Duke got a fair amount of airtime not too many election cycles ago and, even though he wasn’t a Grand Wizard anymore, the rhetoric he used clearly pointed to fears of a race war. Some of the more aggressive/virulent groups in the militia movement are driven by a similar narrative. You’ve got the monstrous Quiverfull movement in the US which basically advocates out-breeding the scary brown folk. A fair amount of the discussion around immigration in the US has disturbing echoes of the race war theory, especially when you hear all of the breathless stories we’ve gotten recently about whites not being a majority anymore, how many kids “undesirables” have, and the fearmongering that we saw in the immigration protests about the “reconquista movement.”

    Just because most of the more repugnant voices in American politics aren’t so blunt as to use the phrase “race war” in public doesn’t mean Beck is somehow saying something unusual. That particular delusional fear is pretty widespread.

  19. William
    William July 24, 2010 at 12:03 pm |

    Sometimes I call the Tea Party a joke. And then I get reminded that shit like this is really and truly dangerous. Some of them are really angry and some of them appear unstable and dangerous. Harassing a disabled man? Spitting on a Congressman? It only takes one evil/prejudiced person to cause destruction for many. And the tea party has more than one.

    At the same time, though, we have to remember that they’re a small group. Sure, they have disproportionate influence and people like Beck and Limbaugh seem terrifying because of their platform (even with their shrinking audiences), but they represent the death rattle of conservative populism. It isn’t going quietly, and we certainly need to remain vigilant and contain them, but the severity of their rhetoric is a good sign. It shows their desperation, it shows that they’re down to throwing anything against the wall to see what sticks, it shows that they’re on the defensive and incapable of advanced strategy. Neoconservatism is now as failed an idea as communism, all we really have to do is make sure it doesn’t do any more damage on it’s way out and it can fade into irrelevance.

  20. scary joann
    scary joann July 24, 2010 at 12:48 pm |

    Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. -Ghandi
    And yes, I feel filthy applying that quote to teabaggers. But they do think, just not logically, and they are extremely committed.

    As someone who lives in an area rather heavily populated by Tea Baggers and people who back them I strongly doubt that neoconservatism is going anywhere any time soon. Otherwise it would have been gone already. I have spent my life in a town full of racists, sexist, bigots who are threatened by anything that might remotely threaten their lifestyle and ideals. These are people that wanted to march on the capitol while armed, they are willing to threaten politicians. I am related to these people, we share blood, and they won’t just vanish or see the stupidity of their ways, and neither will half the kids they now have holding signs for them at rallies. Those kids will grow up hearing bitterness and hate, and most will carry it with them. Proudly.
    I can’t just brush them off, “Oh, they’re not logical and there aren’t that many so they aren’t a problem.”
    To me they really are. Just because something is clearly a bad plan to the rest of us, doesn’t mean it will be to everyone. When my half black protege has to sit through racist comments every day in school and look at the many swastikas and southern flags drawn on walls and worn on shirts, I still get dirty looks from my cousins for dating someone who isn’t white, and a well known, basic cable television personality is calling for a race war as a response to being called racist, I find it hard to dismiss.
    But hey, I bet you haven’t had a teabagger fire any shots at you or destroy half a forest with a bulldozer near your home to get back at hippies, Mexicans, and feminists.

    If there is a race war, as my partner pointed out, the Teabaggers would be half to go up against the majority of the country and would probably be crushed pretty quickly. Also, I doubt Glen Beck would survive it.

  21. scary joann
    scary joann July 24, 2010 at 12:49 pm |

    Ohp, my bad, that quote is from Margart Mead, not Ghandi.

  22. William
    William July 24, 2010 at 1:56 pm |

    I can’t just brush them off, “Oh, they’re not logical and there aren’t that many so they aren’t a problem.”

    Just to clarify, I wasn’t saying that they aren’t a problem or that they should be ignored. Obviously people like this have to be challenged, contained, and tried when they breach the peace. My point was more that they fundamentally represent an ideology that is dying. Much of their momentum is built around issues that don’t have much in the way of staying power: anger about immigration (how many people are still seriously concerned about Irish and Italian immigration compared to say, my grandparent’s generation?), anger about the economy (which changes constantly), and fear of a black president (which has, at most, a six year expiration date at this point). Even in the long-game, the tea partiers will grow old and die, some of their children will see that their parents were foolish, most of those who do not will have grown up in a different society with different concerns and their hate will be less than their parents.

    None of this means we shouldn’t challenge the tea baggers, and it certainly doesn’t make them any less scary, repugnant, or potentially dangerous. I’m just looking at the silver lining of a dark (but thankfully small) cloud.

  23. RD
    RD July 24, 2010 at 2:08 pm |

    Miss S, when lack of funding means the loss of lives, when the “Anti-prostitution Pledge” is KILLING SEX WORKERS across the world, it is pretty dismissive to say “oh he just didn’t provide as much funding as you would like.”

  24. RD
    RD July 24, 2010 at 2:39 pm |

    Taking the Pledge

    On another notes, Maddow on the “try to make white people scared of black people”/incite a race war.

  25. Nancy
    Nancy July 24, 2010 at 4:40 pm |

    Great article Tasha. I appreciated the “comical” side of rational(?) thought by the right to what’s been going on for the last 18 months. I honestly believe that all of this can be tied to the GOP. Note the links between the tea party, fox news, breitbart, beck et al. All that have direct ties with the ultra conservative. I pray for President Obama and his family every day and if anything terrible happens the “soundbites” of these hatemongers will be replayed for generations to come and hopefully, SHAME them. But I’m not holding my breath.

  26. matlun
    matlun July 24, 2010 at 5:29 pm |

    To defend Webb’s article a bit more, it should be noted that the annoying “myth of white privilege” phrase is not from the article but only from the title (which is typically set by the editors and not the article author). You can certainly argue that he is wrong, but that is very different from calling him racist.

    The arguments over affirmative action policies are neither new or simple, and reasonable people can disagree.

    I do agree that Lisa does have a very good point about Native Americans. This is a glaring omission in the article which I am sad to say that I overlooked.

  27. Mizz Alice
    Mizz Alice July 24, 2010 at 5:53 pm |

    I still don’t really know what the tea party’s cause is. It seems that trying to find out through websites and supporters is futile. I checked some sites, and they just want my money, or more money or they want me to join and donate, all without offering any information beforehand.

    Geesh. I’m confused. This video with Mark Williams responding about that letter was interesting. Unfortunately this is the best information I’ve gotten about what the tea party’s cause is, so far, and coming from that guy, it sure isn’t very persuasive. And, I Googled “crash the tea party”, which was also interesting, but a really lame way of going about trying to solve any issues.

    I’m trying to figure out what’s really going on here. There is a lot of mud flinging around. I think being racist is an easier way to get their frustrations out rather than actually taking the time to do their homework about real issues going on in our world. Like that creepy list of supposed immigrants, all of Hispanic origin. All I can see is hate and ignorance.

    I don’t believe racism has ever gone away, no matter how much tv has skirted the issue. Its just on the current wave of whats popular in the media right now. I don’t have cable tv, I guess that’s a good thing?

  28. Lisa Harney
    Lisa Harney July 24, 2010 at 6:02 pm |

    Matlun,

    Cara is correct about the article. That he narrows it down so much so he can exclude inconvenient facts about racism in the US is what makes the article racist.

  29. Bitter Scribe
    Bitter Scribe July 24, 2010 at 6:31 pm |

    I don’t usually like hearing these assholes in real time, but I listened to that Glenn Beck radio broadcast about the coming race war. I highly recommend it. Priceless. I just about peed myself laughing.

    At one point, he reads a list of organizations that conspired to riot in Oakland (or was it San Francisco? He’s not sure). On the list:

    –Center for Tactical Magic
    –Chalice Farm
    –Gray Panthers Guerrilla Word Fair

    So help me God, I thought I was listening to the old National Lampoon Radio Hour.

  30. William
    William July 24, 2010 at 7:04 pm |

    I still don’t really know what the tea party’s cause is.

    As I understand it, and I think theres a lot of unconscious motivation and disingenuous arguments making the whole thing a lot more messy, the idea behind the tea parties is to focus on fiscal conservatism (lower taxes, fewer social programs, smaller government, less regulation) and not mention the more divisive social issues in order to create as big a tent as possible. The theory is that there are a lot of angry working/middle class people who feel they pay too much in taxes and don’t see much in the way of benefit from social programs and by harnessing that discontent the tea parties can create a new Contract with America. The reality is that the people who have actually shown up to the rallies have tended less to be traditional fiscal conservatives and more angry white people who are under the impression that their taxes go to subsidize gay porn and Little John records.

  31. Miss S
    Miss S July 24, 2010 at 8:31 pm |

    RD: I meant the accusations that he is responsible for the AIDS epidemic as a whole are pretty ridiculous. Not providing funding is not the same as being responsible for AIDS. I think what you’re saying isn’t the same thing as what the tea-partiers are saying.
    You: not providing funding for this kills people
    Them: Obama created AIDS with the black panthers in his basement to wipe out people for fun because he is a communist(or something equally ridiculous)

    Not to derail: I was unaware of the anti-prostitution pledge but I just did some research. So any organization that works with sex workers is denied funding for HIV treatment? HTF does that work? Does it mean that a clinic can give HIV tests to everyone BUT the sex workers? How do they know who is and who isn’t? Does it mean that a place can give out condoms to everyone but sex workers?

    /Derail

  32. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable July 24, 2010 at 8:52 pm |

    Mizz Alice, I believe the core tea party belief is that the government is spending far too much – and this especially came to head with the government bailouts and public disapproval of “Too big to fail.”

    Funny, right? Because who isn’t pissed off that tax dollars are going into investments that we know are negative return?

    But you’ve seen what it’s become.

  33. Asenath Waite
    Asenath Waite July 25, 2010 at 12:08 am |

    It seems like violent rhetoric and blatant racism have been moving further and further into the mainstream for a while now, and the Tea Party “movement” has given that trend a face.

  34. Mizz Alice
    Mizz Alice July 25, 2010 at 12:31 am |

    William, PrettyAmiable,

    Thank you. I do know how the whole thing started, I guess my sarcasm has come around to bite me in the ass again, I apologize. I know it stems from a libertarian point of view about fractional reserve banking and opposing the federal reserve system, which directly relates to government bailouts. I could start rambling on about how ironically stupid that bumper sticker is, considering that JFK was the last president to actually put an effort into trying to back the US dollar with silver, ending fiat money and the possibility of bailouts.

    My main point is that if you tried to figure out what their point is, in the here and now, without knowing any of the back story, you would have a pretty hard time finding out their real purpose other than unwarranted hate and ignorance. And when I seriously tried to figure out what their real purpose is, I truly couldn’t figure it out. I was trying to look at it all from a more objective standing.

    Like you’ve both said, It has turned into some sort of mudflinging hate fest. Now racism is being flung into it as well. I apologize and should have been more clear in my point, and I agree with both of you.

  35. RD
    RD July 25, 2010 at 1:29 am |

    So there are people who are claiming that Obama invented AIDS? huh. Hadn’t heard that one before.

    Video of the recent protest of the Pledge at the Vienna conference.

    Basically agencies who provide services to sex workers at all (who would not sign the pledge given what it said and its conditions) got ALL their US funding to fight HIV cut when this passed. It passed under Bush but Obama has not repealed it.

  36. convexed
    convexed July 25, 2010 at 1:57 am |

    I’d also like to be convinced of the marginality of the Tea Party movement. Even if the die-hards and ranting activists are a very small group, though, media polls and informal observation (I live in a guns-and-religion area) suggest that sympathy for the Tea Party ’cause’ is wide-spread. My neighbors and coworkers may not employ such extreme rhetoric, but they are absorbing a lot of the paranoid sentiment and rabid, unconditional (unrealistic) Heartlandism–softening it a little in delivery, or indicating certain sentiments with facial expressions or euphemisms. It’s frightening, because a fringe backed by a silent, but supportive, mass can be enabled to violence.
    Also, even if neo-conservativism is in its final throes, we shouldn’t pre-emptively dismiss any amount of damage that can still be done in the space of a week, a month, or the few years Obama will serve before they might calm down or be made obsolete.
    I think when the stakes are so high (violence, discrimination, even lives), I’d rather err on the side of engaging the threat as substantive until reliable research, data, etc, proves otherwise.
    By ‘engaging as substantive’ I don’t mean roll in with tanks. I mean, think critically and be willing to recognize the time to act or speak as needed in light of the demonstrated urgency.

  37. BlackBloc
    BlackBloc July 25, 2010 at 8:34 am |

    @PUG: Timothy McVeigh was also into all the race war stuff (the Turner Diaries).

  38. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable July 25, 2010 at 9:39 am |

    @Mizz Alice,

    hahahaha. Sorry. I get it now.

  39. Miss S
    Miss S July 25, 2010 at 12:36 pm |

    Convexed, that is what worries me the most- the paranoia and fear. The movement isn’t about facts. Which is why I agree that it hurts the true conservative or libertarian agenda- I have heard genuine facts coming from both of those. The tea-party operates on people’s fear and since we have such a capitalistic environment, it’s easy to get people scared by telling them that they are going to lose whatever they have because of lazy black people. Especially because people have lost alot in the recent economic downturn. Many people have lost or are losing their homes, investments, retirement. They were already scared and unfortunately I don’t believe the current administration has done much to relieve that fear.

    When social safety nets exclude those who make too much, but those who make too much don’t even have enough for food, housing, healthcare, etc- there is going to be backlash. This issue will need to be addressed or you will keep having the same backlash against taxes. It’s not the uber-wealthy who pays more- their money comes from capital gains and they have the uber wealthy lawyers who know how to work the system.

    And it is true that the tax laws hurt small business owners. But minorities are small business owners too, or are trying to be. And it makes me mad when I see them on TV blaming minorities, and saying that we need laws to help small businesses because it hides the reality that minorities are small business owners too. And many more would like to be. And that helping small businesses helps minorities too. But some media makes the racial divide between welfare recipients (blacks and other minorities) and business owners and middle class (whites). And that’s pretty fucking racist in and of itself.

    And facts get lost. It would have been much better for small business owners if we had national health care and eliminated insurance companies. But instead of fighting them, the tea party screams about the government. I’m one of those people who believes that government shouldn’t be involved in everything, and even I can see that.

    RD thanks for the link.

  40. g_whiz
    g_whiz July 26, 2010 at 9:56 am |

    @Scary joann

    Yes, I remember trying not to be cynical about the “Post-racial” society everyone kept suggesting we were being ushered towards by voting the issues and not as much the race card…but it wasn’t fully possible to get away from my cynicism, as my personal experiences are often constrained by the actual racial society we do inhabit. It’d be a nice place to visit, but a lot more people would have to be made aware of their oblivious or casual racist tendencies (and I’m not just looking at old white liberals) to get there. Sadly, I don’t see that happening any time soon.

  41. ScaryJoann
    ScaryJoann July 26, 2010 at 10:35 am |

    What a random comment to choose to respond to. I know racism isn’t over, I was joking about how eagerly the media seized on that concept a few months ago. As my comment later on (I thought) showed.

  42. john
    john July 26, 2010 at 12:11 pm |

    I believe that the sooner we stop caring about race the sooner it becomes a non issue. If both liberals and conservatives stopped giving legitimacy to the race baiters, it would move discussions to real issues and the self fulfilling prophecies of racial injustice would fade away.

  43. Monday Open Post – 20th Anniversary of the ADA at Questioning Transphobia

    […] Guest Poster Tasha Fierce writes on The Coming Race War – also some problematic comments […]

  44. Russ
    Russ July 26, 2010 at 5:29 pm |

    It only easy to not care about race if you are of a privileged class, just something to think about.

  45. William
    William July 27, 2010 at 12:03 am |

    I believe that the sooner we stop caring about race the sooner it becomes a non issue. If both liberals and conservatives stopped giving legitimacy to the race baiters, it would move discussions to real issues and the self fulfilling prophecies of racial injustice would fade away.

    What you’re saying there is that you’d like these discussions of race to stop. You want that so we can “move discussions to real issues,” thus implying that discussions of race (and, by extension, other uncomfortable discussions of relative privilege and it’s effects) aren’t “real issues” and aren’t important.

    More than that, there is a tinge of contempt in your description of racial injustice as a “self fulfilling prophecy.” The only possibilities behind that description are either that somehow oppressed people create their own oppression or that oppressed people are irrelevant in the narrative and what we should really be thinking about is how more relatively powerful people can take control of the situation, stop being distracted by all this messy injustice, and get on with the business of running things.

    Regardless, you seem to be of the belief that somehow the issues of race will just “fade away” if we can manage to “stop caring about race.” Thats some pretty hefty privilege you’re carrying there and the logic reeks of plain denial.

  46. GallingGalla
    GallingGalla July 27, 2010 at 12:13 am |

    William: Obama hasn’t been a great president; he’s been disappointing in a lot of ways and indistinguishable from Bush on some very important issues. We still detain people without trial, we still torture, ..”

    Obama is not entirely, to blame here. Yes, I wish he would be more forthright about these issues and use his office as a bully pulpit. But, the Repubs have been absolutely utterly obstructionist, and that obstructionism is fueled heavily by racism. In the meantime, the Democratic Party has become absolutely spineless, caving in to the least bit of criticism and not standing up for anything except their own pockets, and I hardly think that racism is much less a factor here also.

    He’s swimming against a strong and very unfriendly current.

  47. William
    William July 27, 2010 at 10:13 am |

    Obama is not entirely, to blame here. Yes, I wish he would be more forthright about these issues and use his office as a bully pulpit. But, the Repubs have been absolutely utterly obstructionist, and that obstructionism is fueled heavily by racism.

    Its also utterly irrelevant when it comes to torture, detention without trial, rendition, and our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Republicans can jump and shout all they want, the President is Commander in Chief and has absolute executive authority. Tomorrow morning he could, with an executive order, end torture, rendition, and the detention problems. He could begin investigations of people involved and open criminal proceedings and courts marshal. He could bring detainees to trial or release them on a case by case basis. These are all things which he has the explicit authority to do without the consent of congress or the courts. That he has not makes him both a liar and morally culpable for any human rights abuses from his first day in office onwards. Maybe he has chosen not to end grave human rights abuses because he fears retribution from Republicans or would like a second term, but as far as I’m concerned that kind of reasoning is repugnant. He is now as morally culpable as Bush and Cheney for the human rights abuses we continue to commit every day.

    He’s swimming against a strong and very unfriendly current.

    The man is president. The President of the United States is invested with a positively amazing amount of personal power. More than that, he is a sitting president with a majority in both houses of Congress (one of which is filibuster proof). Is he up against a strong, unfriendly, and racist current? Sure. Has he done half of what he promised despite having the power to do so? No.

  48. GallingGalla
    GallingGalla July 28, 2010 at 9:30 am |

    Willian, I’m not excusing Obama (or any president) from culpability. I’m just saying he’s not the only one who’s culpable for these problems. After all, the Democratic senators and reps could hold him accountable for failing to issue the executive orders that he said he would do.

    Your point of Obama failing to exercise the moral authority of his office is well taken and very true.

    And I think this has to be the last of my words, since this sub-conversation is derailing from Tasha’s main point.

  49. Vanessa Goldman
    Vanessa Goldman July 30, 2010 at 12:47 pm |

    GallingGalla: Obama is not entirely, to blame here. Yes, I wish he would be more forthright about these issues and use his office as a bully pulpit. But, the Repubs have been absolutely utterly obstructionist, and that obstructionism is fueled heavily by racism. In the meantime, the Democratic Party has become absolutely spineless, caving in to the least bit of criticism and not standing up for anything except their own pockets, and I hardly think that racism is much less a factor here also.He’s swimming against a strong and very unfriendly current.  (Quote this comment?)

    IMO it is not that the Democrats have just recently become spineless, but that they already WERE that way and pretty much always have been. Not even sure if i would even call it spineless, or more just that they are part of the mainstream capitalist establishment and therefore have to conform to its expectations.

    in any case, from my experience and understanding (yours may be different of course!) it seems like at least since Ronald Reagan knocked Jimmy Carter out of office, the Democrats have had this tendency to try and “out Republican the Republicans.” it seems as though Carter somehow got stereotyped as this “goody two shoes, bleeding heart lib-rul” which led many to see Reagan’s aggressive and macho “Let’s make Amurrika GREAT again!” stance attractive. which then put the Dems on the defensive, always having to prove that they were/are not the far left, “soft on communism,” or “soft on drugs,” or “soft on terrorism,” “girly boys” that the Repubs claim them to be. And so both parties move further to the right, or maybe its more like the Repubs stay roughly where they always were while the Dems move closer to the Repubs?????

    just my two cent’s worth…

  50. RD
    RD July 30, 2010 at 1:36 pm |

    Unfortunately I think anyone who would do what is right/humane/just without regard for how it will affect him or her politically will never be elected President.

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