In The boy who cried ‘racism!’, I broached the subject that I think that those who are complaining that the modern anti-Obama rallies and other conservative actions in the news are racist in nature are making bogus claims. But if not racism, what ARE the motives of these modern conservative protesters? Here’s my quick list of what I think are the genuine motives involved.
- Birthers – grasping for any opportunity to remove a LIBERAL president, they are merely trying to invalidate his eligibility for president. In addition, out of understandable anti-Islamic sentiment in the wake of 9/11, they allude to the fact that his value system may not be American, based on his Muslim schooling and country/culture of origin. I don’t agree with them, but at the most, they are appealing to xenophobia, but not quite racism. But their actual motives are about his liberalism, not his race.
- Hussein – The attack on Obama’s middle name has nothing to do with race, but with post 9/11 anti-Islamic sentiment, and a fear that Obama is going to appease tyrants, many of which are Islamic crazy people like Iran’s president. Now, some may think that anti-Islamic sentiment itself is racist, but of course, Islam is not a race but an ideology. Regardless of our feelings on the morality of being anti-Islamic, being so is not racist. Again, I think that the abuse of Obama’s middle name and comparing him to another dictator named Hussein is valid biting humor when used as humor in critiquing his soft policies with regard to Islam, but it is not a real argument.
- Obama as Hitler – Of course, this is merely a reference to the ‘totalitarian’ feel of Obama’s ‘socialist’ economic approach. Now, if Obama were Jewish, perhaps race would be an issue. Interestingly, most, perhaps ALL of these posters may have been wielded, not by conservatives, but by the leftist communists that support Lyndon Larouche, who’s PAC has published such articles as Obama Has Revived Hitler’s Genocide Program.
- Anti-immigration – The real motive behind the anti-illegal-aliens people is not racial, it’s based on their fear of gaps in national security (in the wake of 9/11) and the drain on our failing economy that uncontrolled immigration has. Most all of the neocons I know readily and proudly admit that our nation was built by immigrants, and backpedal from accustations that they are anti-immigrant. Additionally, they are concerned with the rule of law, which keeps
our society safe and orderly, and they see illegal immigration as a
breach in the rule of law, leading to social and economic chaos.
- English only – While it may in some senses be based on fears, it’s more based on frustration with what is perceived as a lack of respect for America by not valuing our culture enough to prioritize it over one’s own culture and loyalty to their home country. When they go into the local gas station or restaurant, and can’t understand or be understood by the help, that is frustrating, and perhaps even disconcerting. Previous immigrants had the courtesy and respect for America to learn English. So to some extent, they object out of fear, but moreso out of a love for and respect for the ideals of America – people who became and become citizens swear an oath to deny loyalties to other countries, and be loyal to Lady Liberty and the Country she stands for. Lastly, it is a thing of principle – we don’t want a balkanized US like we see in parts of Europe, and even in Canada, where Quebec is always fomenting secession.
- Confederate Flag – While it is understandable that people might see this flag as racist, most modern southerners associate the flag not with support for racism, but as representative of the South’s unique and rich culture, of the spirit that rebels against government intrusion into State and personal rights (hence the term “Rebel Flag”), and to some extent, freedom of speech.As stated nicely on wikipedia in the Confederate flag:
Supporters of the flag view it as a symbol of heritage and the freedom of the distinct cultural tradition of the South from the oppression of Northern government. Also, in light of some schools and universities banning it as a racist symbol in their “speech codes”, it could also be seen as a symbol of freedom of speech.
White southerners often see the flag as merely a symbol of southern culture, a “country music flag” without any political or racial connotation. An example of this would be the Bocephus Rebel Flag often sold at concerts performed by country music star Hank Williams, Jr or Kevin Fowler, heavy metal band Pantera, and southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd. For some, the flag represents only a past era of southern sovereignty. Some historical societies such as the Sons of Confederate Veterans and the United Daughters of the Confederacy also use the flag as part of their symbols. Also some rockabilly fans hold the Confederate flag as their emblem.
So to summarize, the actual motives of the anti-Obama, or anti-tax, or anti-Obamacare, or anti-government protesters are not racism, but actually:
- A dislike for Obama’s radical liberalism
- A dislike of big government
- Concerns for national security
- Concerns for the economy
- Concerns for the rule of law
- Respect for American ideals
- Concerns for free speech
- Anti-Islamic sentiment
Racism is alive on the fringes of the conservative movement, I suppose. But it thrives even more in the minds of liberals who see the demon of racism behind every bush, and in the minds of minorities who maintain an unforgiving, angry victim mentality due to societal prejudices that lie more in the past than the present. I am all for condemning overt racism where it does exist, but quite frankly, the more that liberals push the race card erroneously, the more they risk invigorating racism in America rather than helping transcend it.