Political dissent does not equate to racism

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 3:22pm
By: Letters to the ...

Civil rights attorney Keith Watters recently warned against playing the race card, saying “We should not yell ‘racism’ unless there is direct evidence ... Sane voices need to come on the media and say loud and clear that this is not about race.”

During the Bush administration, dissent equaled patriotism. According to some today, dissent under President Obama equals racism.

I know there are people out there who oppose President Obama simply because he is black. I, however, am not one of them, and I take offense when congressmen like Hank Johnson (D-GA) and James Clyburn (D-SC) use the race card in the debate over the president’s policies.

A Fox News Poll dated September 15-19 found that 65 percent of those polled described their opposition toward President Obama as “honest disagreement” while 20 percent said their disagreement was based on race.

Even the president isn’t asserting racism into the debate. He recently told the host of ABC’s “This Week” “there are some who are ... more passionate about the idea of whether government can do anything right. And I think that that’s probably the biggest driver of some of the vitriol.”

What gets lost in the debate is just how far we’ve come. Are we done? No, but when 43 percent of white voters vote a black man for president and the leaders of both national parties are black (Michael Steele for the GOP and President Obama for the Democrats), one has to admit, “We’ve come along way, baby.”

I was at the Sept. 12 “March on Washington” and what I saw were a million-plus Americans who love their country. I saw American flags, “Don’t tread on me” flags, and state flags from Alaska to Florida and everywhere in between waving in the wind.

Signs reflecting the mode of the country read, “I’m not your ATM,” “You work for us,” “It’s time to party like it’s 1773,” and “the U.S. Constitution is not negotiable.” Were some of the 20 percent who oppose the president because of the color of his skin there? Yes, but they were easily outnumbered.

Moms, dads, kids, grandparents, whites, blacks, and Hispanics, all concerned with the direction this country is headed, flocked to our nation’s capitol.

It’s not just the direction of the past eight months but of the past 70 years that has us worried. Big government started in the 1930s under FDR, slowed down under President Clinton and began a new rapid rate of growth under President George W. Bush.

In the past few decades, we’ve seen out of control spending, a Congress that has become too powerful and unaccountable to the citizens who elect them, and a government that has become too close to Wall Street and the labor unions.

Simply put, Americans are fed up and they aren’t going to take it anymore, and the color of the president’s skin has nothing to do with it.

Senior White House Advisor David Axelrod said the day after the march, “I don’t think it’s indicative of the nation’s mood ... You know, I don’t think we ought to be distracted by that. My message to them is, they’re wrong.”

With tea party protesters now numbering in the millions, the Obama administration is making a huge mistake. With remarks like this, the administration is showing us that they have their heads in the sand and this will hurt them in 2010.

Laura Lunsford

Fayetteville, Ga.

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Submitted by Davids mom on Tue, 09/29/2009 - 12:12pm.

Laura, your letter is excellent – and certainly represents the thinking of many regarding the ‘race card’ and Obama. This country has come a long way . . .however the fringe group of those who want the country of 1773 frightens many loyal and patriotic Americans. The country of 1773 was outstanding if you were white and male. The words of our Constitution did not apply to Native Americans, Blacks, Asians, Hispanics or women. To those who stand guard to make sure our country never returns to the days of 1773 or the days of 1963, we stand ready and vigilant to maintain the gains that have been made in recent years - to make the statement “we’ve come a long way baby” – a true statement. America must continue to be a country that includes all races and genders as citizens with their rights guaranteed under the Constitution.

It is a positive when citizens become passionate about their government ‘of the people, for the people, by the people’. We, in my opinion, have allowed the special interests, lobbyists, etc. to BUY our representatives in Congress. Our power at the voting booth trumps their dollars – and more than 33% of us should use that power in EVERY ELECTION.

Even though the majority of Americans feel as you do regarding the race question – and their right to disagree with a president regardless of his race – there is that group of Americans who feel that it is appropriate to put a poll on Facebook that calls for an inappropriate action regarding our present President. We cannot afford to ignore this fringe group. They are as dangerous as any terrorist.

Many older minorities consider those who say ‘let’s take our country back’ as those who were against integration of public facilities, etc. I believe that you and members of the younger generation do not incorporate racist notions when these words are spoken – but to elect those who represent you to do their job for YOU, (the people) – and not the special interests and/or large corporations.

In our country, there is more that unites us than separates us. My hope is that we continue to grow in the direction that the words in our Pledge of Allegiance indicate: One nation, under God. (Not separated by race or gender)

The Wedge's picture
Submitted by The Wedge on Tue, 09/29/2009 - 12:38pm.

Come on, let's inject some realism into your tangential racial references and arguments. Slavery was not the issue in 1773. It was not the source of friction between the Government in London and the Colonies. Slavery and the slave trade were both legal and enforceable by the British navy during that time. William Wilberforce didn't get slavery abolution passed until close to his death in 1833. The issue, then and now is not about a roll back of individual rights or enforcement of Jim Crow. It is a silly canard to throw.
What exactly, then is "partying like its 1773"? It was the thought that from the Colonists point of view, the government had become capricious, arbitrary, unaccountable, and hostile. The London government sought to wring money out of the colonists because it was their right and they meant to enforce it at the point of the bayonet. The issue was truly "Taxation without representation". It meant the world to the colonists that they had a voice at the table and a way to stop arbitrary government. They felt that the government was isolated and ruled by special interests--similar to many in the US's thoughts right now.
It is silly to go the way of the "white America" had it great in 1773 and that is code word racism today. The revolutionary war was never about slavery. It was about a subjugated people seeking freedom. At the time, that meant mostly land holding whites in 1773. Although they were not a racially enlightened as we are today, they were alot to be commended about those that rebelled against the crown. Quit beating a tangential racial drum, it is tiresome to always beat it and contort to that position for everything

Submitted by Davids mom on Tue, 09/29/2009 - 1:05pm.

My family history in this country has been validated since the early 1700's. It was no party!! I speak from documented experience of my forefathers - not some 'history' (his-story) book. During the discussions of our early founders - slavery was discussed, seen as a possible separating issue, and dispensed with, as the founder’s main goal was unity in separating from England. The first man to die in the Revolution was a man by the name of Crispus Attucks - a black man. If he had wandered into a southern state after the Revolution - he would not have had the same rights as those of a different color - the rights that he died for. I would suggest that you research some of the discussions of the founders regarding 'slavery' before you attack me for keeping the 'race-relations' discussion honest. If you dislike what I'm going to say - don't read David's Mom's comments. Are you trying to say that women, Blacks, Asians, Hispanics were all treated with respect and dignity in all of the original colonies in 1773? Please review your history. Thanks.

Crispus Attucks

The Wedge's picture
Submitted by The Wedge on Tue, 09/29/2009 - 1:16pm.

My family has been here since the 1640's. I am not saying that life for any poor, servile, or enslaved class was great. That was not my point. Why do you choose to throw a racist tag at people holding a 1773 sign today? My point is that someone who holds a sign to party like it is 1773 is not doing it from a racial standpoint. You choose to seek that standpoint out regardless of source. It is a diversionary attack and one that allows you to beat your breast and to state how wrong those people were. If you think that the revolutionaries in 1773 were so evil that their memories must be beaten today, then spend some time in the longest free nation in the western hemisphere after the US. Spend time in Haiti, freed in a massive slave revolt from the French in 1806. Did those founding fathers do it right because they were black? spend time there and try to avoid the vestigial Tonton Macout. And David's Mom- you don't know me. I can run world history circles around you. I know the references that you speak, but it was less than germane to the discussion. It was why you choose to ascribe racism to someone holding a 1773 sign today. Race was never part of the political discussion among the revolutionaries, nor was it a reason for the rebellion. The British didn't care about it at the time either.

Submitted by Davids mom on Tue, 09/29/2009 - 4:33pm.

I believe that you and members of the younger generation do not incorporate racist notions when these words are spoken – but to elect those who represent you to do their job for YOU, (the people) – and not the special interests and/or large corporations.

How is your reading comprehension? Did you read this? I do not believe, nor did I state that all those holding the 1773 signs did so from a racist standpoint. I'm sure you are rightly proud of your heritage that dates back to 1640. My family’s oral history would have some of my forefathers (Native Americans) consider your forefathers to be 'aliens'. I suggest you get American history under your belt before you try to tackle world history. Not all colonists (minority) who resided in the 'new' world were servile, poor, or enslaved. I announced that one of my main reasons for participating in these discussions was to bring a different point of view to the table. Why do you see that as disturbing? The truth about our history does not take away from the gains that we have made today. The world rejoices that Americans are truly representing the words of their Constitution. Even with our problems, the entire world admires what we have accomplished . . .but the world is well aware of the problems that we are in the process of overcoming. I also recommend before you take on 'World History' - get your facts straight about the British and their colonies in Africa and India. The US (new world) was just another group of colonies to the Brits.

Also, please enlighten me about the '30's and FDR's ruination of our country. FDR brought electricity to Georgia! Georgia, in the 30's was truly in the 'dark ages'. I know, I know - FDR just spent, spent, spent - and the country went to the dogs!

meanoldconservatives's picture
Submitted by meanoldconservatives on Tue, 09/29/2009 - 11:24pm.

"The world rejoices that Americans are truly representing the words of their Constitution. Even with our problems, the entire world admires what we have accomplished . . ."

Are you serious?

The Wedge's picture
Submitted by The Wedge on Tue, 09/29/2009 - 6:03pm.

I find it so usual for you to inject race into all discussions. You have embraced it with a zeal, writing an entire note about a sign for partying like 1773. My attempt was to defend the holders of a like sign from being labeled and beaten as a racist. I see nothing racist about that sign-a sign that allowed you to enlighten us about servile conditions in 1773. No kidding the times were tough. read my post again. I did not say that all were servile, I said that the conditions for the poor or enslaved were bad. All of the world has problems and the world is overcome with tribalism and demographic divisions. And FDR? he had good points and bad points-- he created an entitlement society that has expanded beyond our ability to pay. Social Security is already going negative for the next several years as the economy cause early withdraws from the fund. I will not see Soc Sec at its current levels when I am elible for it. Why should I rejoice about that, DM? I read much more than I post and I consistently see your posts as the most overtly racial.
And what did I miss about world history? I am not sure. The British Navy enforced the sea lanes during most of the 18th century and beyond. And the slave trade fluorished while the British allowed it-until 1833- tribal wars in Africa-tribes selling captives as slaves to Arab Traders, traders putting the slaves on ships manned by British, French, and American crews and brought to South, Central, and North America. There is a big line of culpability in that entire process there, DM

Also I see that times are going to be less enlightened. Europe is radically changing. The demographics are shifting to a much more intolerant society.

S. Lindsey's picture
Submitted by S. Lindsey on Tue, 09/29/2009 - 10:58am.

2010 is going to be the litmus test are we (USA) a hard left part Socialist part Marxist Country or are we a more Center Right Freedom for all Country.

I think we will see one way or the other.. Either way it will mean we still have a lot of work ahead of us.

We need a Government that really is "FOR THE PEOPLE.. BY THE PEOPLE".. One that is responsible to us. Not to Special interest groups and/or Lobbyist who represent a small minority of people.

It's time the Government FEARS us for a change..
"When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny." The strongest reason to keep and "Bear" arms.. Thomas Jefferson

Submitted by doright on Tue, 09/29/2009 - 6:02am.

Laura you sound like you are part of that mob Congress keeps talking about.

If it is any consolation I think Michael Steele is doing a horrible job too. I think we need to do like Nancy Pelosi said and drain the swamp in Washington of corruption, to bad she did not have the nerve to stand up for this great idea.

I am of the belief that you don't vote party lines but you vote for the person who is conservative and listens to the people and if you don't listen you get tossed out. It is sad that both parties have such corruption and total disregard for the people who voted them in. We truly have become an entitlement mentality society.

Let's hope America continues to wake up and fight for this beautiful country.

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