Sunday, March 26, 2017
Needed Now... A Remedy For Hate
Then Senator Barack Hussein Obama in his now celebrated address to the Democratic National Convention in 2004 declared:
“… even as we speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us, the spin masters and negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of anything goes. Well, I say to them tonight, there’s not a liberal America and a conservative America — there’s the United States of America. There’s not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there’s the United States of America. The pundits like to slice-and-dice our country into Red States and Blue States; Red States for Republicans, Blue States for Democrats…”
Senator Obama went on to become President Obama. His time in office was marked by his receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize, and the passage of seminal legislation such as the Affordable Care Act - now known as Obamacare. His Presidency was also, without doubt, marked by a significant challenge to the notion of a united country - which was the main thesis of his 2004 speech. Those who hoped that we could put issues of race behind us were in for a rude awakening.
With the coming of a Black family to the White House we learned to our chagrin that there is in fact a Black America, and a White America. In the face of the hope-full-ness of the first African American President - white supremacists came with a vengeance … to take their country back. This sentiment now finds fulfillment in the presence of Donald Trump in the White House - his stated commitment… to make America great again - is one which reenergized the likes of white supremacist David Duke, and the KKK. Every right wing racist extremist now salivates at the prospect of making America white again. They have all collectively embraced Trump as their new savior.
The essence of white supremacist sentiment in the United States of America is captured in a now infamous statement that Abraham Lincoln made in the context of a political debate in Charleston, Illinois on September 18, 1858. While there has been considerable discussion as to whether or not Lincoln harbored racism as a fact of his own cultural and ideological disposition, this statement in and of itself captures the gist of white supremacist thinking on issues critical to the lives of black folk. Lincoln's words, in this circumstance, demonstrate the awkward position that politicians put themselves in when they speak out of both sides of their mouths on a critical issue such as this. On this occasion he bites his own tongue when he responds to the prodding of a political opponent about his involvement in the abolitionist movement by stating:
"I will say that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races, ...that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And in as much as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race."
Lets talk about "inferior" and "superior" positions for a moment. There is a remarkably pathetic quality that marks the logic of the white supremacist. In his effort to justify his culture of exploitation he must employ the tactic of subjugation, and he must codify this in his laws and his philosophy of life. Thus he assigns an arbitrary "inferiority" to those he exploits based on their most obvious difference - color. One can see why they hate Marx... he has a better explanation - power. Marx points out that in a culture of exploitation all relationships are necessarily power relationships. Thus when reactionary half literates talk about black racists, ask them what black institution in our society has the power to exploit and victimize white people. In a culture based on exploitation - as in Slavery - the underlying power dynamic breeds fear for the simple reason that you must always watch your back when your prosperity is based on the brutal exploitation of others. Fear is an inescapable consequence of the dysfunctions inherent in a culture of oppression; and hate is a fruit of this fear. The one proceeds from the other.
Hate is the torment that fear breeds; and White Supremacy is nothing more than the agency of this dynamic. The oppressor lives in fear, and therefore his hatefulness.
The cancer of hate that thrives in the gut of this nation needs to be diagnosed as such. It needs to be subjected to the necessary radical treatment that we reserve for any malady that threaten our lives. Make no mistake about it - people are dying from this sickness in our midst. It is not good enough that we engage in occasional outpouring of emotions when those infected with the disease of white racism spew their nasty venom at will. We have witnessed the snuffing out of vulnerable lives like those in that church in South Carolina, and most recently the killing of an African American man in New York City by a white supremacist who traveled hundreds of miles with the expressed purpose of murdering black men.
It is past time that this nation becomes proactive about its collective well-being. As a nation we are a house divided. That division is realized in the negation of every ideal that a hope-filled Senator Obama espoused in 2004. Wisdom and History have taught us that a nation that nourishes discord is destined for destruction. The cantankerous political argument regarding Healthcare that has dominated the news in recent years is itself a product of the issue of racial dysfunction in this society. Naming the Affordable Care Act "Obamacare" was a way of denigrating it by appealing to the racist underbelly of a nation steeped in a history of bigotry. It is almost humorous to note that many who opposed "Obamacare" did not realize that it was in fact the ACA ... yes... the same insurance they were about to lose under "Trumpcare".
The significance of Obama's legacy powerfully impacting one fifth of this nation's economy is not lost on those who would make his complexion - rather than his convictions - the issue. It is time to focus on preventive actions that will address the cancer of hate, a function of the racism in our country's body politic. Beyond Obamacare and Trumpcare, diagnosing and rooting out this malady must become our top national priority.