Speaking to NBC News anchor Brian Williams, former President Jimmy Carter (taking a breather between having tea with dictators and lunatics) proffered that not only was South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson’s inappropriate outburst during President Obama’s speech before a joint session of Congress fueled by racism, but the wider opposition to Obama is also based on the fact that Obama is Black. Said Carter: “I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a Black man, that he’s African-American.”
During Obama’s 400th speech defending his plans to reform health care, the president responded to charges that the proposals before Congress would provide health care for illegal immigrants. The president called the charges false, whereupon Wilson forgot his home training (or lost his mind) and called the president a liar.
As it happens, similar words were falling from my own lips at that very same moment. I think most people recognize that a private citizen calling the president a liar in the privacy of their living rooms is rather a different animal from elected officials doing so during a presidential address. I would also like to believe that most thinking people recognize that boorish is not the same thing as racist.
Lest I get mail accusing me of believing that racism does not exist, let me say in no uncertain terms that racism still exists in America. I have no doubt that there are people in this country that can little articulate their dislike for this president beyond the fact that he is Black. Similarly, there are many that forgive his failings for the same reason.
Yes, race in America is alive and well. (And based on the recent behavior of Kanye West and my sweet darling Serena Williams—so is boorishness. But I digress.)
To hold, as many on the new left do, that the “overwhelming portion of” opposition to this president is based on race is to engage in an egregious act of Venetian hearing; it is to turn one’s back to the very legitimate concerns of voters and taxpayers. It is a contrivance that allows the current party in power to dismiss the honest and passionate voices of opposition.
Consider first that Wilson’s assertion was correct, the president was not being entirely truthful.
The administration points to section 246 of the current House bill, which excludes illegal immigrants from receiving “affordability credits” or vouchers with which to purchase health insurance. There is of course no enforcement mechanism in the bill to prevent those in this country illegally from receiving the credits. Democrats have voted down amendments adding such mechanisms.
There is also this quote from a recent report by the Associated Press on the current bill emerging from the Senate Finance Committee: “The White House says that Obama does not want illegal immigrants to be able to buy insurance through the new purchasing exchange as they would be allowed to do under Democratic legislation in the House.” (Emphasis mine.) Word that illegal immigrants would not be covered under the House plan has apparently not trickled down to the senate finance committee, the Associated Press or Barack H. Obama.
Consider next that eight months into this administration President Obama has quadrupled the national debt, attempted to institute unprecedented control of banking institutions, taken over a major auto manufacturer and is now attempting to force on an unwilling populace a government-run health care system.
It is just possible that opposition to the president’s policies are based on principled political disagreements and not race.
I am only surprised that it took the left the better part of a year before they began to play the race game in earnest. The new left suffers from schizophrenia as it pertains to race. They claim to want to move past race in this country, but are reluctant to do so. Race provides them with a sense of security; they believe that through race they are able to keep their emotional and moral equilibrium. And because the left is emotionally tied to race, it is a potent political weapon the use of which power seekers and power keepers will not soon relinquish.
(Joseph C. Phillips is author of “He Talk Like A White Boy” available wherever books are sold.)