Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Lieutenant Carter, providing much needed cover fire
Providing cover fire. Setting a pick. Taking a pitch for the team. Whatever analogy you want to use, that is exactly what I thought Jimmy Carter was doing last week when he called out some of the garden variety racism being directed at President Obama. Despite the outstanding humanitarian work he's done since leaving the White House, President Carter knows that people look at his presidency as a less than stellar one. He also knew that the consequence of him speaking out on the racial toxicity our Commander in Chief was on the business end of would instantly turn him into a low hanging pinata to his detractors on the right. But the man who served as our 39th President knew something had to be done and he didn't care if it meant sacrificing himself in the process.
For the longest time the mainstream media overcompensates as a result of right wing criticisms, the same way a black police officer might mistreat a civilian of the same skin tone to prove that he isn't giving anyone preferential treatment, and I'd be damned if the last 8 months hasn't been exactly that. Definitely a case study in overcompensation as sentiments from the highly questionable to flat out racism were clumsily being treated as legitimate opposition: A dirty broad from Russia(A reader corrected me, she's from Moldova. I already know too much about that shitheel) of all places questioning the President's citizenship and the legions of tin-hatted glass lickers who gleefully follow her lead, unfortunately treated as a "Conspiracy theory" and not the blatant racism that it actually was. Uneducated townhallers saying "I was my country back", a racial dogwhistle usually prefacing some regurgitated smear in the form of a question - pundits of every political stripe treated the miscellaneous authors of said belligerence as if they were simply a "concern citizen" voicing a standard inquiry. Of course the "socialism" charges being leveled at Obama are ridiculous on their face considering that said detractors usually have no problems with roads, firefighters, and medicare - but it has a racial component to it when the person saying it doesn't know what it means and says it like an epithet. The signs of Obama as Hitler. The signs of Obama as a member of al qaeda. The assholes coming to health care townhalls strapped. Because of Jimmy Carter, last week was the first time in Barack Obama's young presidency that I heard anyone outside of Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow even openly wonder if racism was indeed a factor.
In a move that will disappoint all the armchair revolutionaries out there, the same black folks who incessantly try to divide and conquer African American supporters of the president simply because Barack Obama isn't channeling the spirit of Huey Newton - the President was correct in disagreeing with Carter about the rampant racism. Sure, he sees the racism, but the Commander in Chief has to be above the fray. Besides, its politically smart, the moment he characterizes anyone as "racist" he will be painted as insensitively smearing hard working Americans with legitimate concerns. Carter's concerns forced the media to seriously look into something that had been angering the rest of us for months, allowing the President to act above it all. Like I said, cover fire.